More people are travelling now than ever before, whether for work or pleasure. According to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), there were a record 1.4 billion international tourist arrivals in 2018, up by eight percent from 2017.
Buoyed by factors such as technological advances that make travel more affordable to the masses, a growing middle-class population and the meteoric rise in affordable flights and home-rental businesses, today’s travellers now have a wealth of options, which spells opportunity for those keen on studying hospitality.
For instance, the rise in luxury tourism, eco-travel trends, new innovations in food and beverage and even the rise of smart buildings within the hospitality industry means the field not only presents prospective hospitality students with exciting, dramatic change to navigate, but also provides global career prospects across a range of segments, be it in hotels, resorts, airlines, cruises, restaurants and beyond.
Those interested in carving themselves an exciting career in hospitality will want to look for an institution that prepares students for successful careers via industry experience and broad business knowledge to catapult them forward. This is what Michigan State University’s School of Hospitality Business prides itself on.
Since its inception in 1927, this industry-focused school within the Eli Broad College of Business has launched the careers of thousands of leaders in hospitality and service professions, transforming the landscape of hospitality education and carving itself a reputation as a leading hospitality school.
The school is consistently ranked among the top hospitality programmes in the world. In 2019, it was named the top hospitality programme at a US public university by The Best Schools, on top of being ranked the 6th best hospitality programme globally by CEO World Magazine.
Students here learn from some of the best hospitality educators and researchers. The school itself is flanked by a respected faculty who are among the global leaders of industry research and education. This includes Jeff Beck, president of the International Council of Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Education (ICHRIE), and Michael McCall, the National Automatic Merchandising Association (NAMA) Endowed Professor of Hospitality Business.
Meanwhile, students complement their academic learning by drawing on the experiences of the school’s esteemed faculty, in addition to their stellar academic credentials, which helps them provide pragmatic lessons from hands-on experience, alongside the expertise rising from their academic research endeavors into everything from sanitation to customer delight.
The school’s industry-focused BA in Hospitality Business is inherently business-focused, driven by the hospitality industry. The rigorous curriculum includes a minor that provides an optional deep dive in real estate investment management. Students also hone their skills in real settings through two required 400-hour internships, the production of three major annual events for the school and extracurricular professional activities through nine focused student organisations available under the student Hospitality Association (HA) umbrella.
Graduates are equipped to face the challenges of industry, including operations, management, finance, accounting, marketing, human resources, information systems, law, production, facilities and emerging industry trends. They are also primed to enter management positions in lodging, food and beverage service, consulting, event planning, human resources, sales, information systems, marketing and real estate investment management.
Graduates can find opportunities in hotels, restaurants, resorts, casinos, cruise lines and clubs, as well as in sports and entertainment. Unsurprisingly, undergraduates enjoy a whopping job placement rate of 94 percent – with 98 percent placement for domestic students.
A holistic experience
Alumni involvement is crucial to the learning environment, as it allows students to tap into the knowledge of their seniors. The school often organises activities, such as classroom visits in which former students share their experiences and challenges in the working world with current students, while a mentoring programme provides undergraduates with the rare opportunity to learn and be advised from someone closer to their age who has been in their shoes and who are currently working in the industry itself.
This complements their learning from seasoned professionals, including the school’s industry-experienced faculty, to ensure students are prepared from more than just an academic perspective. Meanwhile, the school’s HA acts as another growth platform for students. Its nine clubs give students the chance to learn more about the industry, examine their career choices and develop their leadership skills, as well as make good friends and important contacts.
Many current students have continued to make the school proud by adding to its accolades. For instance, a team from the university was recently named the winner of the STR Student Market Study Competition at Hong Kong Polytechnic University, outshining 12 other teams representing colleges and universities around the world.
It’s clear that by becoming a Spartan, students are well prepared to leap into the world of hospitality and make strides in their field. Whatever your aspirations, kick-start your journey with MSU today.