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The Breakdown

From casinos to cruise ships, hospitality is a burgeoning field. Those who work in the industry frequently set the tone for their patrons, making sure everything runs smoothly so guests can just kick back and relax. And hey – if you can’t get paid to be on vacation then at least you can make sure others are enjoying theirs, right?

As a hospitality major, you’ll acquire a thorough understanding of marketing, management and operations as it pertains to the industry. Through classes like accounting and human resources, you will build a strong foundation in business and ultimately apply this knowledge to specific venues such as convention centers and hotels. You’ll also study strategic planning, team building and quality management. Finally, many programs require internships, allowing you the opportunity to put classroom theory to practical use.

If you decide to join the hospitality ranks, you’ll face near constant interaction with customers and co-workers alike. Therefore strong interpersonal and communication skills are of primary importance. Indeed you should be outgoing, extremely organized and a creative and decisive problem solver. Additionally, the best in the business possess the patience of a saint and appreciation (or understanding) of human foibles.

Nuts and Bolts

As hospitality major, your schedule will likely include courses such as: Gaming and Social Policy, Contract Food Service, Catering and Banquet Management, Menu and Food Production Management, Hotel Operations, Corporation Finance, Casino Products, Protection and Liability, Convention Sales Management, Risk and Sanitation Management, Hospitality Managerial Accounting and Hospitality and Tourism Ethics.

Decisions, Decisions

It’s quite likely that hospitality majors will also consider majoring or taking classes in marketing, tourism management, recreation management, human resources management, communications, business administration, accounting, sports and leisure studies, entrepreneurship and operations management.

What's Next

A degree in hospitality management typically leads to careers in the travel, entertainment and leisure industries. Recent graduates can find positions within a myriad of settings, from cruise ships and spas to casinos, convention centers and luxury hotels. Grads who seek employment with hotels usually land entry-level positions with guest services, human resources or sales management. Hospitality majors with a desire to work in a spa often find jobs within either operations or general management. Of course, food service is a big portion of the hospitality industry and students frequently find employment as bar managers, restaurant managers, catering supervisors or food and beverage directors. Those graduates who want to segue into the travel industry might secure positions as a tour manager, recreation manager and ultimately cruise director. Finally, events and event planning are other popular avenues for hospitality majors to pursue. Opportunities can range from venue manager and house manager to technical supervisor and production manager.


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Don Munce