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Sunday, May 12, 2013

Student Expectations of Hotel Management Education and Careers



Students moving into the hotel and hospitality management fields choose this occupation for a variety of reasons ranging from travel to compensation. In a number of cases, students were not aware of why they choose this particular field and did so on a hunch. At the time, they made the decision it seemed like a choice that fits their personal lifestyle and goals. Research by Peshave and Gujarathi helps to understand why students have chosen the hotel industry and what their expectations are.

Upon graduation, students have personal and professional expectations they hope to fulfill within their workplace. For example, many students hope to be a general manager within 10 years of graduation (Jenkins, 2001). They may also have expectations about what department they are going to work in, what type of work they will be doing, and even the type of hotel industry they will find employment.

Sometimes these expectations are accurate and other times they are based upon misconstrued information. A realistic picture of the hotel and hospitality industry will help students become more aware of the opportunities and expectations that can lead to higher levels of employee retention. Realistic student expectations are a partnership between education and industry.

Managers also have their own expectations of new graduates they hire. Managers wanted interpersonal, problem solving, and self-management above other skills (Raybould & Wilkins, 2005). To them the ability of employees to deal effectively with others and customers was beneficial, solving problems were practical, and self-management allowed for some level of independence.

Skill in international relationships also were lacking in many organizations. These skills are important for the overall development of an international hospitality industry. This international nature of the industry is a result of hotel chain expansion and mobility of educated individuals. It is also helpful in dealing and handling global based customers.

Peshave and Gujarathi (2012) conducted a study on college students that entered into hotel management programs in India. They used personal interviews and a questionnaire of 100 students in two different courses. They believed that students have limited knowledge of programs before they enter them and did not want to be immediately employed in the field.

Results:

-At the intermediary level 75% of students had some idea of what they wanted to study.

-A total of 52% wanted to study hotel management versus other related fields.

-A total of 59% made the choices personally without outside influence in their career path.

-Out of all the possible reasons why students chose the field the opportunity to work abroad came out that largest at 37%.

-Those who had some limited knowledge of the industry before entering were 56% while 44% had no clue of the industry.

-College reputation was the most important reason for deciding on a school at 75%.

-Colleges achieved a 82% satisfaction rating.

-Curriculum ratings were 80%.

-At the time of graduation 90% of students felt they made the right decision.

-At the time of graduation 62% felt that they had the same perceptions as when they entered school.

-Out of those who felt their perceptions were different 66% wanted to further their education while the rest felt they were in the wrong industry.

-Of those who graduated only 46% felt they were going to join the career right away.

-Out of those students who want to prolong their careers 63% wanted to pursue higher education.

Business Analysis: Helping students to understand the program and the potential career opportunities at the result of the program will help them be surer about entering a program. Even though the study was conducted in India there are likely to be similarities in American colleges as these same students compete for the same international employment opportunities. Having curriculum tied to practical industry experience can help students to gain a better sense of their fields of studies and its practical applications. Where there are holes in management expectations of graduates skills schools can continue to adjust their program for relevancy.


Jenkins, A. (2001). Making a career of it? Hospitality students’ future perspective: an Anglo-Dutch study. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 13 (1). 

Peshave, M. & Gujarathi, R. (2012). Study of students perception towards selection of hotel management studies and their willingness to pursue their career in the hospitality industry after completion of their course. International Journal of Research in Commerce, Economics & Management, 2 (12). 

Raybould, M. & Wilkins, H. (2005). Over qualified and under experienced: turning graduates into hospitality managers. International Journal of contemporary hospitality management, 17 (3).

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