The Hospitality Industry and Why MBA Graduates Should Take Interest

Hospitality is back on the labor market and seeking MBA graduates after the ‘dark’ age of pandemic

There has been a notable expansion of growth in the MBA School for its recognition in the hospitality sector. While the trend has been ongoing previously, the sector has recently gained immense consideration with the global movement of easing the restrictions and lockdowns from the Covid-19 Pandemic. While the restrictions have limited the global economy, the hospitality industry was affected significantly by the pandemic. Therefore, the recovery of the global economy is strongly influenced by the reviving of hospitality around the world.

The rebound of hospitality is creating a positive influence on both business schools and the industry. MBA Schools are introducing a new form of MBA programs in hospitality by cohering between Europe and China, where it interlinks both leading pioneers of formal training and a growing economy with developed leisure and vacation travels. Convincingly, the hospitality industry’s revenue returning to pre-covid rates is demanding more candidates with talents after a shortage. Rather than a mere staff in the restaurant, they seek skilled graduates to enter the roles of HR, marketing, and finance.

China’s economy is essential to the hospitality industry and exerting a strong economy in the market. Many countries and companies are investing their resources and time into this appealing land of opportunity. This is also shared among the business schools. Cornell University’s Johnson College of Business has introduced a dual-degree hospitality MBA program in cooperation with Peking University in China. The curriculum offers students an opportunity to reside and study in both US and China, where they will spend 70 percent of their time studying in Beijing and the rest in New York. The program aims to incorporate the topics of human resource management, real estate, and hospitality management into one curriculum.

Completion of the program will grant graduates an MBA and Master of Management Degree in Hospitability. Dean of the School of Management at Peking University, Liu Qiao, highlights the program and its significance to the growing economy in China. “Chinese economy is undergoing a reform of desiring an equilibrium of digital economy and carbon neutral. This results in the society demanding higher standards of the service industry.” Qiao continues, “Growth of service industry in China or worldwide requires more competent individuals. We aim to train those individuals to be equipped with internationalized senior management traits.”

Although MBA and hospitality seem like an unfamiliar duo, the attempt can be dated back as long as 1893 before the attempt by China. Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne, EHL has situated in Swiss introduced the first-ever MBA program in hospitality. While it is currently not an accredited program by the recognizable management education bodies, it’s maintaining its membership in AACSB and EFMD.

The same school established an MBA program targeting younger professionals. It was delivered dominantly online with partial participation on the campus. Achim Schmitt, associate dean for graduate programs at EHL, explains that the course exhibits substantial interactions with students and industry professionals to challenge the current issues and concerns in the hospitality industry. Engaging in this collaboration, allows students to develop an understanding of challenging issues like managerial. Achim added, “Hospitality is a volatile industry. It is constantly being disrupted by new technology, change in business models, and recently Covid-19. Such fluctuation requires complex management skills.”

MBA graduates with interpersonal communication and leadership in the industry

Communication skills are taught in majority of MBA programs due to the emphasis on leadership training

Many traits are favored by the business by their future employees. Communication skills are one of those traits that companies look for in their employees. Several surveys that were conducted among the employers portray that many companies prioritize interpersonal communication as one of the most important traits that the candidates must possess. Schmitt claims that the degree from Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne (EHL), will guarantee their students acquire these skills. “One of the most important skills that graduates must have when they graduate are leadership skills from a person to person.” The intangible nature of the service industry underlines the importance of communication to become successful.

According to Schmitt, graduates of EHL are equipped with skills and tools that not only will let them thrive in the hospitality industry, but also across other service industries. This is achieved through establishing strong foundations for working as a team in virtual environments. “Out of our 30,000 EHL alumni, half of them work in hospitality but the other half is showing their competency in areas like financial management, retail, and real estate,” Schmitt added.

Georgia, one of the states in the US, is known for its hospitality and tourism industry. However, Robinson College of Business is the only MBA program in the state that offers courses in hospitality. Director of the Cecil B. Day School of Hospitality at the Robinson College, Debby Cannon, states that graduates of the MBA program at Robinson are broader than the sheer hospitality industry and are scattered among numerous industries.

Furthermore, she emphasized the importance of communication skills in the hospitality curriculum to develop student leadership. “Graduates from our school are not limited to hospitability but find their career path in other various industries. This is because they are equipped with competence in skills to become a leader in business sectors, which can be applied in other areas like health, finance, logistics, and real estate.”

As we all know, the hospitality industry has been hit hard during the pandemic. A large number of companies were either bankrupt or had to minimize their number of employees. With a huge dent left in the market and many companies seeking to hire people for the recovering industry, the post-pandemic era is creating a very attractive job market for graduates. Cannon elaborated that now is the optimal moment to find a career opportunity in hospitality with many positions that have recovered from the pandemic.

Lastly, Cannon explains the current benefit of entering MBA programs in hospitality. “Over the coming years, being a graduate of an MBA program with a strong hospitality focus will be advantageous in career employment. Being equipped with the serviced-orientated mindset and leadership skills the demand for these competent individuals will grow higher than supply and you will be prepared to take on those opportunities.”

Read More: Is an MBA Degree Becoming More for the Rich in the Time of the Pandemic?

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