The hospitality industry encompasses a range of businesses that provide travel, lodging, entertainment, and other recreational products and services to tourists, families, and business people. This includes hotels and restaurants, resorts and convention centers, sports facilities and theme parks, and other enterprises that pose unique management challenges. A general MBA program curriculum covers many areas of business administration that are relevant in the hospitality industry, from sales and marketing, to personnel and project management, to operations management and organizational leadership. Some MBA programs offer electives that cover specific aspects of managing businesses and properties in the hospitality industry. A smaller number of MBA programs provide students with a designated hospitality management specialization consisting of two or more courses in subjects relevant to this industry.
An MBA in hospitality management is a Master of Business Administration program that offers a specialized track or cluster of courses in skills and knowledge specific to the hospitality industry and hospitality business management. Students in these programs complete a core MBA curriculum of courses in accounting, business law and ethics, financial management, marketing, personnel and operations management, and organizational communication and leadership. In addition, and in lieu of general elective coursework, students take several courses that focus on the challenges associated with managing hotels, restaurants, resorts, convention centers, golf courses, entertainment centers, and other businesses that function within the hospitality industry.
Online MBA programs that offer a hospitality management specialization are similar in their curricular focus to traditional campus-based MBA programs. However, online programs offer all or most of their coursework through distance learning platforms that allow students to access lectures and other instructional materials from any place with an Internet connection. Students in an online MBA program log on to a learning management system (LMS) in order to view online lectures, participate in online discussion groups, contact instructors, and complete assignments. For students who cannot or who would prefer not to relocate or commute to a college campus for classes, online MBA programs provide a convenient and often more flexible alternative to on-campus programs.
Through independent research, OnlineEducation.com examines MBA program curricula and formats and classifies programs based on several criteria. Online programs must be offered by a non-profit college or university that is regionally accredited, and through a school or department that has additional programmatic accreditation from one of the following accreditation bodies: the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International), the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP), or the International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE). To be classified as an online MBA in hospitality management program, the program must offer a clearly designated track, specialization, or concentration consisting of two or more courses in subjects relevant to business management in the hospitality industry. Finally, all or most of the coursework must be offered online; MBA programs that require more than two campus visits per year are not currently included on the site.
Students in an online MBA in hospitality management program take many of the same courses as students in a standard MBA program as part of a core business administration curriculum. This includes courses devoted to key business functions, such as financial reporting, managerial accounting, strategic marketing, logistics, and personnel management. They also learn skills in the areas of organizational leadership and communication. In addition, students who opt for a hospitality management specialization learn about specific aspects of the hospitality industry and how to apply general business knowledge and skills to managing hotels, food-service businesses, and other hospitality industry enterprises. Finally, MBA programs commonly include a capstone project, and students in a hospitality management program generally address an issue in that field as part of their capstone project.
The hospitality management concentration coursework in an MBA program generally consists of between two and six courses in that area of specialization. The table below provides an overview of courses that may be offered as part of an online MBA in hospitality management:
|Hospitality Operations & Financial Metrics||The application of financial and managerial accounting tools and methods to overseeing businesses operations in the hospitality industry.|
|Revenue Management & Pricing Strategies||Pricing theory and financial reporting matrices in the context of hotel and hospitality business management, including trends in technology, brand management, and marketing.|
|Resort Development & Management||An overview of the social, economic, and environmental concerns in managing and developing resort properties.|
|Service Management||Strategies for coordinating the operational and human resource sides of service businesses in the hospitality industry.|
|Hospitality Information Technology||The design and utilization of information and business intelligence systems in food service, lodging, event, tourism, and spa management.|
|Hospitality Business Research||Strategies for making data-driven decisions and utilizing market research in the hospitality industry.|
Admissions policies and procedures vary by MBA program, but not generally by specialization. Applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university in order to be eligible for admissions. Some program have a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) requirement, and a candidate’s undergraduate GPA may be considered by programs as part of the admissions process. There may also be undergraduate prerequisites that students must complete before enrolling in an MBA program, such as college-level courses in economics, business, and/or mathematics. Finally, applicants may be asked to provide several letters of recommendation, a written personal goals statement, and/or test scores from the GMAT or GRE.
There are several key ways in which online MBA program may differ from one another. These differences may be important considerations for potential applicants. They include online instructional methods (i.e., whether the program utilizes synchronous or asynchronous instruction), part-time and full-time enrollment options, and whether or not the program requires students to attend on-campus sessions. The factors may impact the relative convenience and/or flexibility of an online program. For a more detailed look at these format variations, refer to our general page on Online MBA Programs.