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Business or Hospitality Degree - Make the Right Choice

Weighing up options in the world of degrees and diplomas can leave you standing at a crossroads. The dilemma can be acute as each path appears rewarding in its unique way. One choice that can be hard to make is between studying hospitality vs a business degree. Both have a great deal of influence and potential in their respective industries, but which one aligns best with your professional ambitions? Let’s go on a comprehensive exploration to unearth what these fields entail and what you could expect from your career trajectory.

What is hospitality and business management?

Before narrowing down the choices, let’s take a step back to understand what hospitality management and business management truly mean.

Hospitality management revolves around offering impeccable services to guests in various areas of the hospitality industry, including a wide range of businesses like hotels, restaurants, cruise ships, and events management companies. When we talk about hospitality experience or hotel management as a good career path, we are essentially referring to the ability to promote client satisfaction through exceptional service delivery. A hospitality major’s coursework typically involves culinary arts, lodging operations, marketing, plus administration courses focused on tourism and specific aspects of restaurant management. There are also online courses in these disciplines.

On the other hand, business management is an umbrella term covering the many activities involved in running an organization, which includes everything from planning strategies for growth (business administration) to controlling resources and inventory, finance handling or human resources. Contrary to popular misconception, business management is not synonymous with business administration. The latter typically relates more specifically to overseeing operational efficiencies within an enterprise.

Now that you’ve learned a little about these essentials, let’s look deeper into the differences between them, so you can make a more informed decision about your future.

Differences between hospitality and business management

Hospitality and business management, despite being part of the larger field of management studies, have distinct differences that set them apart. We’ve already explained that hospitality management focuses primarily on providing services such as accommodation, food and drinks, or recreation within sectors like hotels, restaurants and resorts, while business management encompasses all operations involved in running businesses across various industries.

Majoring in hospitality equips you with specialized abilities integral for executing high-level customer service roles effectively.

Here are some crucial competencies you’ll acquire from quality restaurant or hotel management courses.

  1. Sector-specific knowledge: Through acquiring a hospitality management degree, you gain an intimate understanding of topics such as how to plan lavish events or how hotels are classified by location.
  2. Customer service skills: You’re trained to uphold next-level hospitality human resources standards — ensuring guests always have positive experiences during their stay.
  3. Multicultural awareness: Given the globalized nature of tourism and travel industries, fluency in interacting with diverse cultures is part of your curriculum.

If you’re looking to start a career in hospitality management, one of the most popular routes is through getting a specialized hospitality degree, though you can also pursue these careers with a business degree.

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Career opportunities with a degree in hospitality management

Embarking on a career journey armed with a degree in hospitality management opens many avenues for career progression in hospitality. From bustling city hotels to serene resort getaways, trendy boutique hotels or ultra luxury cruises, there are abundant opportunities to explore. A host of international and local chains within the hospitality industry are always on the lookout for professionals who bring creativity, problem-solving skills, and end-to-end management capabilities.

The range of options becomes even larger as your expertise grows. With experience, hospitality graduates can move into more strategic roles like property operation or general management of an establishment. If you’re wondering about what specific careers this varied field offers, let’s delve deeper.

Job titles for hospitality managers

As mentioned earlier, job roles within the field of hospitality vary depending on your expertise and experience. Some options include the following:

  • Hotel manager: Oversees operations at hotels from bookings to staff administration.
  • Event planner: They shoulder responsibilities such as managing large-scale events like conventions or conferences.
  • Food service manager: Coordinating activities across food chain operations is a crucial part of this position.
  • Travel manager: Offers tourism advice and creates attractive travel packages among other duties.

Remember that these salaries tend to increase significantly based on tenure and high performance in respective roles.

Career opportunities with a degree in business management

Career opportunities with a degree in business management

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Having a degree in business management can open the door to an array of rewarding and high-paying careers. The soft skills and leadership skills you develop — from strategic planning to employee supervision — can be applied across various industries, giving you a competitive edge in today’s rapidly globalizing business environment.

In business management, there are countless opportunities to explore and areas where your valuable skill set will thrive.

  • Operations manager: An operations manager ensures that all aspects of a company are running smoothly. This role requires excellent problem-solving abilities, financial acumen, and strong leadership qualities.
  • Management analyst: These professionals work closely with organizations to enhance efficiency by addressing existing organizational problems. They must possess strong analytical skills and an eye for detail.
  • Human resources management: As an HR manager, you’ll take care of one of any organization’s most essential assets – its people. From recruitment to training and welfare, this role commands an exceptionally broad knowledge base about exceptional  hospitality human resources.
  • Marketing director: Through analyzing market trends, a marketing director helps guide product development strategies, pricing, promotions and branding efforts.

While salaries for these positions generally depend on experience levels and geographical location, graduates beginning their careers can expect competitive starting pay rates, which make investing time into earning your degree worthwhile.

Which degree is right for me?

When it comes to deciding hospitality vs business degree, it is important to consider your personal interests, aptitudes, and long-term career goals. Do you see yourself managing luxury hotels or leading corporate teams? Are you keen on exploring the diverse spheres of the service industry, or are you more interested in strategizing in the corporate world? These considerations can greatly influence your decision.

While both degrees have unique values and offer promising careers, they align differently with individual aspirations. Let’s explore factors that could assist in making this decision.

Aligning your passion

One of the fundamental steps would be to identify where your interest lies. You may lean toward obtaining a hospitality management degree if:

  • Your passion revolves around providing services and creating memorable experiences or planning special events for guests.
  • The idea of working in travel, tourism, or hotels fascinates you.
  • You fancy an ever-changing work environment often filled with exciting challenges.

On the other hand, if the following points stir a connection within you, then business management might be your calling.

  • You’re attracted to commerce and enjoy analyzing and understanding market trends.
  • Areas such as human resource management, project management or entrepreneurship hold appeal.
  • Problem-solving in complex organizational situations excites you.

Future career aspirations

With a business degree under your belt, potential career fields could range from sales managers to financial analysts. A role as an HR manager or even making entrepreneurial moves can also be possibilities.

In contrast, hospitality major graduates usually find themselves thriving in dynamic environments, from grand resorts and upscale restaurants to cruise lines and event companies.

To help you reach your target, you could look at getting a graduate degree to further specialize. For example, an advanced degree in hospitality business management might help you develop the skills you need to start your own restaurant, while a postgraduate degree in business administration could prepare you for taking the helm at a multinational business.

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Choosing the right school for your degree program

The pursuit of either a hospitality or business degree is an investment in your future. Therefore, careful consideration should be given when selecting the appropriate institution for your studies. There are several factors to consider while seeking the right academic home for your hospitality or business management program.

  • Accreditations: It can’t be stressed enough how important this is. The first step towards certifying an institution’s quality and credibility is verifying its accreditation status. This reflects core educational standards and helps assure potential employers about the value of your degree.
  • Curriculum: When comparing schools, don’t gloss over curriculum details contained within each program prospectus. Look closely at what areas of emphasis they offer. Do they cover all aspects when you think about what is hospitality management? Do they go  deeply into the differences between business management and business administration? Pay attention to how current their content is. Today’s industries evolve quickly and academic material must reflect these changes.
  • Faculty expertise: Faculty credentials can affect the quality of education you receive. Evaluate whether professors bring real industry experience to classrooms. Their background can play a significant role in connecting theoretical knowledge with practical application.
  • Internship opportunities: Particularly for those pursuing hospitality management bachelor degrees, hands-on experience is essential. Schools offering strong connections with hotels or the wider restaurant/hospitality sectors might include internship opportunities enabling students to apply learned concepts practically.
  • Cost and financial aid options: Clearly assess whether costs align with personal budget constraints prior to committing to any school . Look out for scholarships or financial aid too.

Picking out the right school will make a massive contribution to your academic success and future prospects. Keep these factors in mind when you come to determine the ideal place to study for your business or hospitality degree.


As we reach the final stage of this in-depth exploration of hospitality vs business degrees, several insights merit emphasis. Both hospitality management and business management arm students with impeccable competencies, opening doors that lead to a variety of career paths by providing the soft skills, networking opportunities and experience you need.

The choice between these two fields of study ultimately boils down to personal preference, professional goals, and where your interests lie. If you find fulfillment in providing memorable experiences for others, savor the thrill of working in a dynamic environment like hotels, restaurants or event coordinating firms, then hospitality management might just be your ideal choice. To get started today, enroll on a course of study with Glion. From our hospitality degrees to our luxury business degree, we can help you find the best application for your talents. Or, maybe you’d like to read more about jobs you can do with a business degree.

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