Hospitality Administration/Management, General
Think back to your last vacation. Did the accommodations and services contribute to an enjoyable and relaxing experience? Maybe it was perfect; you felt welcomed, comfortable, well-served, and very well-fed (a little overindulging doesn't hurt -- it is a vacation after all). Perhaps you marveled at your hotel's design, were impressed by the concierge's suggestions, or enjoyed a meal so much that you needed the chef's name. Or maybe it could have used a few improvements. What you may not realize is that a large team behind the scenes was responsible for your experience and concerned with making you feel at home away from home.
Hospitality management programs prepare students for management and leadership positions at restaurants, hotels, resorts, cruise ships, convention sites, sports venues, and other destinations. Graduates enter a variety of different areas of the hospitality industry, including sales and marketing, tourism and event planning, customer service, and administration. Graduates are also equipped with knowledge that will help them with entrepreneurial pursuits.
Hospitality majors complete coursework that is practical and professionally oriented to help them meet the demands of the fast-paced environments of restaurants and hotels. Courses common across hospitality programs include financial accounting, economics, information systems, hospitality law and regulations, hospitality development, food service operations, and retail and consumer behavior. An important aspect of hospitality management is hiring the right people to give guests a positive experience, so expect to take courses in human resources management.
Hospitality degree programs usually require students to gain hands-on industry training though internships or part-time employment. Internships and management training programs are available at restaurants and large hospitality companies, such as Hyatt, Hilton, Starwood, or Marriott. Hospitality programs tend to incorporate local industries into their curriculum, so you may want to give thought to whether you see yourself working in a city, in a small town, or internationally. Many students choose to take internships in high-volume destination cities, such as New York City, Las Vegas, and Orlando.
Not only will an internship or two boost your employment opportunities after graduation, but they will help you determine the area of hospitality in which you would like to specialize. Many choose to focus on food services, developing and managing restaurants, planning menus, and supervising chefs. Other graduates choose to enter hotel operations where they provide guest services, supervise staff members, oversee business development and finance, work in public relations, or plan and market services.