Hospitality programs attract tens of thousands of students each and every year -- and the reasons for this are obvious. Not only do hotel management positions pay very well, they also offer many benefits that people crave in their professional lives: opportunities for travel, a path toward advancement, and the chance to meet and interact with interesting people from all walks of life, for example.
Although it is possible to enter the hospitality industry without formal studies, you will, as a general rule, have more job opportunities and more room for advancement if you complete a hospitality program first. The good news is that there are great hospitality schools all around the world: if you dream of studying hospitality, there are many options at your disposal to make that dream into a reality.
For those who plan on studying hospitality, here are a few tips that can help you be successful in university and beyond.
- Choose Your School Wisely. Although geography and finances may play some role in deciding which program you attend, it is also important to do a bit of research and be sure you are attending the right school for you. This recent WeHoteliers article contains a list of several of the world's top hospitality programs; and Hospemag.com is an invaluable resource for information regarding hospitality careers, including school references.
- Network Consistently. University is a valuable networking opportunity that far too many students take for granted. You are literally surrounded by current and future leaders in your desired industry, so be sure to reach out and make as many connections as you can. You never know who may have the ability to recommend, promote, or hire you in the future -- and at the very least, you will be forging friendships with people who share your interests and your passion.
- Find Work and Gain Experience Now. Most hospitality programs offer or even require students to perform a work study in some capacity or another -- but it is still worth pointing out that the more practical experience you can gain while you are still studying, the better. Of course, top-ranked programs, such as the Cornell School of Hotel Administration (#1 in the US), will tend to have more options in this regard, but any initiative you show will inevitably pay off, regardless of where exactly you may be working.
- Think Outside the Box. If you can get university credit outside the traditional classroom setting, this can be a huge advantage. Study abroad experiences and for-credit internship programs look fantastic on resumes, and they can be personally enriching as well.
- Think Ahead. As you progress in your studies, always keep an eye on the career that lies ahead of you. Take note now of which aspects of the hospitality industry you enjoy most -- this can help inspire your job search and your future education plans. Be on the lookout for job opportunities: many astute students are able to land a job straight out of school by beginning their search during their last semester. In brief, look forward, and the future will reward you!