Best college majors for a career in hospitality
With a sea of college majors to choose from, which ones will lead to the strongest career paths in the hospitality field? To help you decide, we’ve asked for expert advice from Suzanne Markham-Bagnera, PhD, clinical assistant professor at Boston University’s School of Hospitality Administration.
Read on for her winning picks for academic choice of study.
1. Hospitality Administration. This degree is more often found at universities or institutions with a larger hospitality program of focus. Typically, graduates in this degree will have a faster trajectory in management (pending internship & work experience) with ambitions for higher-level management opportunities.
2. Hospitality Management. These programs are typically geared more toward the operations of hotels, restaurants, and other travel related operations.
3. Hotel Management. This would be program specific to being able to operate a hotel. Minimal food and beverage is provided.
4. Restaurant and Food Service / Culinary Arts. This program would be specific to the food service aspect of the business. Johnson & Wales University offers a two-year program in Culinary Arts and then the remaining two-years are in Food Service Management. This provides incredible hands-on experience to be well prepared in the industry. Many aspiring chefs will look to this path, so that they fine tune their technical skills in the kitchen, but complete the business end of hospitality courses to make them well rounded for successful restaurant operations/ownership. Alternatively, there are many community colleges that offer a two-year program in this area. It allows an individual the opportunity to ensure they enjoy what they are doing and/or work while earning their degree. In addition, many schools are offering degree completion options, whereby, if you have an AS degree, the credits (some or all) earned in that degree would count toward completing the BS degree.
5. Hospitality Management and Communication. Boston University will be piloting this new major this academic year for full inclusion starting Fall 2018. It’s actually a joint major, rather than a dual major. It will include approximately 32-36 credits both in hospitality and communication related courses. (More information is found here: http://www.bu.edu/hospitality/academics/courses/hospitality-and-communication/)
Another advantageous tip is to concentrate in a specialty to complement your major, says Bagnera.
“One of the more attractive ways that colleges are trying to offer additional programs to meet the specialized aspects that students are seeking is to offer concentrations including, leadership, finance, real estate, entrepreneurship, marketing, and digital marketing,” says the professor. If concentrations are included, then look to see if a minor in those areas are available, advises Bagnera.
“Alternatively, you could seek an opportunity to dual major,” she says. “The one caution I would have, is what impact does it have on your timeline to graduate? Will this dual major require you to stay an extra year? Might it be more advantageous to seek a Master’s program in an institution where there is a 4+1 option, whereby, in your senior year you start taking classes toward your Masters degree, so that you complete 2 different level of degrees in five years instead of 2 similar level degrees in the same amount of time. Boston University has started their first unique program this summer offering a Masters of Management in Hospitality (MMH) that can be completed in a one-year timetable" More information on the program can be found here http://www.bu.edu/hospitality/academics/mmh/