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If you’re looking for a career in one of the fastest-growing industries in the United States, then you should look into some of the best hospitality management degrees. The leisure and hospitality industry is seeking employees to fill more job opportunities than any other industry, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). If you haven’t considered a career in hospitality and hotel management before, you might wonder what kind of classes you would take and what you can do with a hospitality degree. Typically, these programs include both general business studies and specialized studies in tourism and hospitality, and they require students to learn both inside and outside the classroom.
A Typical Hospitality and Hotel Management Curriculum
Many colleges treat hospitality degree programs as an extension of their business education offerings. After all, to run a restaurant, hotel or tourist attraction successfully, you need to understand the basics of business. As a result, you’re likely to take general business classes as part of your hospitality and hotel management studies, including courses in operations management, finance, accounting, human resources, organizational behavior, leadership and management, strategic management, financial management and business law and ethics.
Of course, basic business know-how isn’t all you need to do well in the tourism industry. Your curriculum will also include specialized core and elective courses, such as introduction to hospitality, tourism marketing and management, food and beverage management, food service operations, food sanitation, hospitality law, theme park attractions and beer, wine and spirits management.
Earning your hospitality degree from a program that blends general business courses and specialized tourism and hotel management classes offers you the best of both worlds. You can develop both a breadth of business skills and a depth of knowledge in the subject of hospitality and hotel management, which means your degree is both generalized enough to be versatile and specialized enough to be in demand among top employers in the tourism industry.
Hands-On Experience in Hospitality Management Degree Programs
You can’t learn everything there is to know about a career in the tourism and leisure industry from a textbook or a lecture. A lot of the skills you will need to succeed in the field of hospitality and hotel management require hands-on training. Many of the top hospitality and hotel management schools integrate real-world hospitality and tourism work experience into their educational offerings in several ways.
For example, the highly-ranked Cornell University Hotel School, part of the SC Johnson School of Business, operates the Statler Hotel and three student-run restaurants in which students work to gain practical experience. Students can also develop their skills by participating in events such as the Cornell Hospitality Business Plan Competition, the hotel leadership development program, the Hotel Ezra Cornell conference and the school’s Guest Chefs Series.
Some of the most respected hospitality and hotel management degree programs require students to spend hundreds of hours in hands-on training in these and similar settings. Working in a real tourism and hospitality environment is the only way for you to truly get a feel for what it’s like to manage a restaurant, hotel, resort or other attraction. These internships and work experience opportunities allow you to develop a thorough understanding of all aspects of running a hospitality business, from big-picture strategies to day-to-day logistics and policies.
What you study in a hospitality and hotel management program will prepare you for various roles within the tourism industry, from entry-level jobs in restaurants and hotels to the management roles that you ultimately want to attain.