Should you go back to school? hospitality jobs that prefer advanced degrees
Many hospitality jobs don’t strictly require a degree higher than a bachelor’s degree, and the hospitality industry prides itself on allowing professionals to learn on the job and advance based on their performance. However, a few jobs do require an advanced degree. And to succeed at some roles in the hospitality business, you need specialized knowledge that can be difficult or impractical to pick up on your own. Getting an advanced degree can give you an advantage over your competition when you apply for these jobs, especially if you are aiming for an upper-level management position or a position at a company with a selective hiring process.
An attorney ensures that a business complies with all relevant laws, including labor laws, contract laws, and privacy laws, and tracks changes in regulation to enable the business to keep up with new legal standards. Smaller businesses generally employ attorneys at legal firms, but larger companies such as hotel chains directly employ their own attorneys. For this position, a J.D. degree is an absolute requirement, and you must also be licensed to practice law in the state where the company is located.
Director of finance
This position is sometimes called director of financial analysis or director of financial operations. A director of finance analyzes a company’s revenue and expenditures, finds opportunities to increase profits and reduce cash outflows, and makes recommendations to managers and owners. Directors of finance work in hotels, restaurant chains, resorts, and casinos. Your application will stand out if you have a master’s degree, which can be a master’s of finance or accounting or an M.B.A. with a finance or accounting concentration. This degree is very portable and is an asset when you apply for any finance job, in or out of the hospitality industry.
Senior business manager
A senior business manager sets goals, tracks business trends, creates strategies for revenue growth, and leads other business managers on a team. This position can be found in a variety of hospitality venues, including casinos, hotels, and large restaurants or restaurant chains. An M.B.A. or a master’s degree in hospitality management can be an advantage when you apply for this position. While an M.B.A. can help you stand out when applying for any management job, a hospitality master’s degree is mainly valued within the industry, so make sure you are serious about staying in hospitality long-term before you pursue that degree. The flip side is that the hospitality-specific degree signals to employers that you are dedicated to the business and not about to use a management job as a stepping stone to a career elsewhere.
Senior marketing manager
A senior marketing manager or marketing director leads a team of communications professionals to craft public relations campaigns and develop advertising strategies. This position may not be available at smaller hospitality businesses, but it is usually available in larger companies. Although degrees higher than a bachelor’s are generally not strictly required, a master’s degree in marketing, public relations, or communications is an advantage.
Tip: Whenever possible, make sure that the projects you complete in graduate school are on topics that relate to the hospitality industry, then highlight them on your resume.
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