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3 Reasons Why a Degree in Hospitality Management is Better than an MBA

Operating, leading and building a successful hotel is serious, serious business. Think about all of the amazing hotels here in New York City alone— the Ritz Carlton, the Carlyle, the St. Regis — ever wonder what it must take to run a hotel at that level? Well, it takes a lot of strategic, managerial and financial management talent to ensure that an upscale hotel stays that way. If you are thinking about a career in hospitality management, you can pursue an undergraduate degree to specialize in this field. Looking at the types of experiences you could have if you choose this academic path, here are three reasons why a degree in hospitality management is better than an MBA.

Hospitality Management (Photo: iStockphoto)

You graduate with the ability to run a specific business

I get that the value of an MBA is the flexibility it offers throughout one’s career, but why spend precious time early in your career “exploring” what you really want to do through investment banking or consulting post-MBA when you can jump right in and help manage an actual business? Graduates from the best hospitality management schools get plugged into the top hotel and restaurant brands in the world, and get fast-tracked to highly attractive strategy and business management roles at a young age.

The best hospitality management schools are located in some of the world’s most beautiful places
I did a little research on where the best hospitality management programs are located, and nearly every single one is based in a picturesque location with a breathtaking view of either the Swiss Alps or some gorgeous body of water named something Riviera. Take a look around one of the top schools in Europe for future hoteliers — the Glion Institute of Higher Education. Just look at the views from campus!

You will take essentially the same classes and learn the same core business skills
Learning to run a fantastic hotel demands in-depth of knowledge of strategy, planning, forecasting, quality and operations control, finance and accounting, construction, real estate, and leadership. The curriculum at the best hospitality management schools can rival the typical top MBA program in terms of content taught.

If a career in hospitality management is what you seek, you just might be better off pursuing that path with an undergraduate degree instead of aiming for that MBA from an Ivy League school. It also might be significantly cheaper and easier on your credit profile.

Debra Wheatman is a certified writer and career coach who has guided the professional development of thousands of clients globally. She is reachable at

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