Four reasons to study hospitality management instead of a business degree | Top Universities
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Four reasons to study hospitality management instead of a business degree

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Craig OCallaghan

Updated Jul 31, 2023
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EHL Hospitality Business School

Sponsored by EHL Hospitality Business School 

Entering the graduate workplace with sufficient core competencies and ‘soft skills’ is increasingly crucial, particularly in a crowded job market.  

So, it’s no surprise that undergraduate degrees which embed those skills throughout their curriculum through experiential learning and industry connections are in high demand among university applicants. 

Over the years, hospitality management degrees have evolved to provide a thorough grounding in the skills and abilities required to work in a wide range of careers. As a result, today’s hospitality management programmes are similar to business degrees with the added nurturing of soft skills and competencies. 

Here are four key transferable skills you can expect to learn when studying a hospitality management degree. 

Presentation skills 

Anyone who has sat through a dull and uninspiring lecture or PowerPoint presentation can tell you how much a difference it makes when a presenter is confident and able to utilise the full range of tools at their disposal to keep their audience engaged. 

Students of the Bachelor in International Hospitality Management at EHL Hospitality Business School benefit greatly from exposure to real-world scenarios. As part of the course, students will be engaged on a real consulting project, providing them with the chance to work on a real-life issue and allowing them to build confidence and practice presentation-based tasks. 

By the time they leave EHL, students will graduate with experience in public speaking, pitching and networking. 

Adaptability 

Resilience is a crucial trait for today’s graduates and at the core of that is the ability to adapt to new situations and ensure a high standard of work throughout. Whereas a traditional business school education can be limited in scope, the fast and varied pace of EHL’s hospitality management degree ensures students are constantly exposed to different people and projects, promoting the virtue of flexibility within a professional setting. 

Given the majority of EHL’s graduates proceed to work in industries outside of hospitality – 52 percent – having the ability to adapt to new situations and thrive is crucial. 

Relationship building 

EHL students

In today’s global workplace, networking means a lot more than just following people on LinkedIn. Early exposure to a diverse, international cohort of fellow students can help create professional relationships that last a lifetime, while familiarising you with the concept of working alongside people from a variety of backgrounds and giving you a head-start on developing your own professional persona. 

When comparing business schools, learning more about the cohort you’ll likely be studying alongside can help ensure you choose a programme with the level of international exposure you seek.  

At EHL, 125 nationalities are represented within its student body, with 84 percent of students speaking at least three languages. This environment ensures students develop a high level of cultural intelligence and cross-cultural communication skills, which are essential for working in a modern business environment. 

Students also benefit from exposure to the school’s illustrious and close-knitted alumni community, comprised of senior executives from multi-national companies located across the globe. 

It’s not just about the personal connections you can build on your degree though. EHL also offers its students exposure and access within industry to leading multi-national companies, with industry visits and industry panel discussions occurring frequently on both of the school’s campuses (one in Switzerland, one in Singapore). By the time you graduate, you’ll already have an edge over other business school graduates thanks to this network of industry contacts.  

Additionally, the two campuses provide another opportunity to build your own global network, with some students choosing to spend part of their education in Singapore, the gateway to Asia. 

Emotional intelligence 

In today’s business environment, it’s not always about the bottom line. Issues like diversity and inclusion, sustainability and human rights all need to be considered, particularly as consumers are more intentional about their choices. 

The best business leaders will therefore have the emotional intelligence required to consider different perspectives and different points of view. At EHL, students get to experience a working environment from two perspectives across two different internships. The first of these is operational, providing students with insight into what it’s like at the frontline of customer service, an experience which is often lacking in traditional business degrees. 

By the time of the second internship, which is more managerial/administrative, students are able to utilise their knowledge of what it’s like in those more customer-facing roles to ensure they are making emotionally intelligent decisions about how to manage people and get the best out of their team, while also getting to put skills they learned in the classroom into immediate use. 

A degree in International Hospitality Management ensures you graduate with the soft skills required to succeed in a modern business environment. By learning skills which are central to any career where customers play a central role, you’ll be prepared for a wide range of post-graduation opportunities ranging from luxury retail to finance and consulting.