What is an MBA in Hospitality Management?

An online MBA in hospitality management combines a broad business education with specific coursework in the hospitality and tourism fields. Graduates will be prepared for careers in hotels, casinos, resorts, theme parks, cruise lines, and more. With an 8% projected job growth rate over the next ten years, now is a good time to earn an MBA in hospitality management online.

Graduates who earn their hospitality management MBA online are expected to have mastered the core skills of the industry.

Why Should You Get an Online MBA in Hospitality Management?

The online MBA in hospitality management will make you a more competent professional, providing you with a broad skill set. Students seeking upper-level management careers may be required to have an MBA to even interview for a job.

Comparison of Hospitality Management Master's Degrees

There are a variety of options to earn a hospitality management degree. Some will prepare you for a particular career in the field, while others provide you with a more general hospitality skill set. We highlight three of the most popular options below.

Degree Description Average Salary (1-4 years experience) Length
Master of Science (MS) in Hospitality & Tourism The master of science in hospitality and tourism degree provides a broad understanding of the global tourism market, taking a more academic and theoretical approach to the discipline as opposed to the more management-centric MBA. N/A 1 Year
Master of Science (MS) in Parks & Recreation Management The MS in parks and recreation management is a very specific degree. Programs will focus on problem solving and management. $35,513 1-2 Years
Master's of Business Administration (MBA) in Hospitality Management An online MBA in hospitality management is a broad degree for those seeking upper-level management or corporate positions in hospitality organizations. The degree combines a wide business foundation with hospitality specifics. $37,500 2 Years

Online MBA in Hospitality Management Curriculum

Graduates who earn their hospitality management MBA online are expected to have mastered the core skills of the industry: customer service, problem solving, and management. However, MBA programs differ in how they teach those skills. Below, we break down a fairly typical sample curriculum in the field.

Course Competencies Developed Occupational Skill Level
Account Management Sales, customer relations, managing accounts and partnerships TITLE: Director of Sales
SALARY: growth of 4%
Budget Management Learn to manage, create, and oversee a budget TITLE: Hotel Manager
SALARY: growth of 36%
Business Strategy Create long-term strategic plans and make business decisions that increase profitability TITLE: Vice President, Business Development
SALARY: growth of 16%

What Can You Do With an Online MBA in Hospitality Management?

There are many careers available to hospitality graduates. We highlight a few of the more popular options below.

Hotel Manager Median Salary: $47,021
  • Hotels
The primary responsibility of a hotel manager is to oversee and manage all on-site operations, including bookkeeping and training new employees.
Director of Sales, Hotels/Hospitality Median Salary: $56,026
  • Hotels
  • Corporate Offices
Sales directors at hotels are tasked with finding new clients and ensuring that all revenue streams meet their targets.
Tourism Coordinator Median Salary: $43,945
  • Chambers of Commerce
  • City Offices
Tourism coordinators have many tasks, most of which fall under the umbrella of managing a city or area's touristic image. This includes reception, branding, outreach, marketing, and budgeting.

Schools Offering an Online MBA in Hospitality Management

Rank School Location Cost Toggle Logo Tuition % Receiving Financial Aid Student Population School Type Description
East Carolina University
Location Greenville , NC Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 57 Student Population 28,289 Tuition $12,342 School Type Public

ECU offers a master's degree in sustainable tourism and hospitality designed for working professionals and full-time students. The 30-credit, 10-class program typically takes two years to complete, although some students graduate in less time.

Students take courses on various subjects, including environmental sustainability, facility management, tourism, and econometrics. They also take part in an internship and capstone course, where students apply concepts they've learned throughout the program to a final project.

Eligible applicants to this MBA in hospitality management online program must score 450 or higher on the GMAT and reach at least 950 points using this formula: GMAT + (200 x GPA).

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Endicott College
Location Beverly , MA Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 63 Student Population 4,695 Tuition $31,454 School Type Private

Endicott's 42-credit MBA in hospitality and hotel management allows students to graduate in as few as 18 months when enrolled full time. The online program uses the same curriculum as its on-campus option, with students interacting with one another and working on projects as they would in a traditional classroom setting.

Required courses include events project management, hotel revenue management, marketing quality service, and hospitality leadership. At the end of the program, students know how to conduct market research, situational analyses, and company evaluations. They also understand key accounting practices, principles of finance, and leadership theory related to the hospitality sector.

Endicott's hospitality management MBA online does not require applicants to submit GMAT scores.

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Fort Hays State University
Location Hays , KS Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 41 Student Population 15,100 Tuition $12,527 School Type Public

Located in central Kansas, FHSU offers an online MBA with a concentration in tourism and hospitality management. In addition to core business courses, students take hospitality-focused classes on service operations, event management, hotel and resort management, tourism marketing, and international hospitality.

Most students must complete 34 credits to graduate, while those without an undergraduate business degree may need to take 12 additional credits.

To apply to this MBA in hospitality management online program, prospective students must submit a current resume, official college transcripts, GRE or GMAT scores, two letters of recommendation, and a personal essay. The graduate school may request additional information from applicants on a case-by-case basis.

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Husson University
Location Bangor , ME Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 74 Student Population 3,500 Tuition $16,704 School Type Private

Hussan University, located in Bangor, Maine, offers a hospitality management online MBA with a customer service focus. Designed for mid-level professionals, the program prepares students to serve in upper-management roles with hotels, resorts, and tourism organizations.

During the 36-credit MBA in hospitality management online program, students take courses in global strategic management, communications, finance, and leadership. They engage in concentration-specific coursework, covering subjects like hospitality industry legal issues, advanced sales and marketing, and front office operations.

To apply, prospective students must provide their college transcripts, at least one letter of recommendation, and a statement of purpose. The admissions process does not require GRE or GMAT scores.

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Johnson & Wales University
Location Providence , RI Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 86 Student Population 500 Tuition $25,974 School Type Private

JWU's online MBA degree features a hospitality concentration. The 36-credit program allows students to complete a master's degree in two years or less through eight-week course schedules.

Students take a variety of classes, including financial management, corporate social responsibility, global economics, and business decision making. At the end of the hospitality management MBA online program, students take business policy and strategy, a capstone course that allows them to tackle a real-world challenge within an organization.

Applicants must submit their official college transcripts, at least two recommendation letters, and a statement of purpose. Those with an undergraduate GPA of 2.85 or higher do not need to provide GRE or GMAT scores.

JWU's campus sits adjacent to downtown in Providence, Rhode Island.

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Louisiana State University - Shreveport
Location Shreveport , LA Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 34 Student Population 4,428 Tuition $12,473 School Type Public

LSU Shreveport students have access to a 10-course MBA with a concentration or specialization in hospitality and casino management. The program focuses on the marketing, operations, and business challenges of combined hospitality and gaming facilities, preparing students for careers in revenue management, hotel services management, hotel operations, hospitality finance, and player development.

The 30-credit MBA in hospitality management online program features courses on quantitative methods in business, marketing strategy, organizational behavior, and financial management. Students can graduate in as little as 10 months when attending full time.

Applicants must have a bachelor's degree from an accredited postsecondary institution with a 2.75 GPA at minimum during their last 60 credits. Those who do not meet this standard must submit GMAT scores.

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Lynn University
Location Boca Raton , FL Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 28 Student Population 2,693 Tuition $27,380 School Type Private

Located in Boca Raton, Florida, Lynn University offers an online MBA in hospitality that is designed to prepare future leaders in the event planning, lodging, resort management, foodservice, and hospitality fields.

The 37-credit online MBA in hospitality management features courses in marketing management, operations management, food service administration, resort development, and service management. Students also take part in an internship, where they learn directly from real-world industry professionals.

While the program's admissions process does not require GRE or GMAT scores, applicants must have a bachelor's degree from an accredited college and an undergraduate 2.5 GPA at minimum. Applicants must submit official transcripts, a resume, a personal statement, and one letter of recommendation.

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Midway University
Location Midway , KY Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 71 Student Population 1,055 Tuition $16,800 School Type Private

Kentucky's Midway University offers a fully online MBA degree with a concentration in tourism and event management. Students can complete the 30-credit program in 12 to 18 months.

A focus on Kentucky's $3 billion bourbon industry makes this a unique MBA in hospitality management online program. Students take courses on destination branding, events management, strategic marketing, and hospitality, which are all tailored to the bourbon tourism industry. Students also take part in a capstone course where they work on a real-world project tied to the industry.

To qualify for admission, prospective students must have a bachelor's degree from an accredited postsecondary institution and submit a current resume and two recommendation letters.

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University of New Hampshire
Location Durham , NH Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 68 Student Population 15,351 Tuition $38,400 School Type Public

UNH's Paul College of Business and Economics offers an online MBA with an option to specialize in hospitality management. The program's degree requires students to first take courses in leadership, management, and the economics of competition before elective classes. Most students graduate within two years.

Although the hospitality management MBA online program requires applicants to submit GMAT scores, the program may waive this requirement for those with five years of military or professional experience. All prospective students must provide three letters of recommendation, a resume, a personal essay, and official college transcripts.

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Washington State University
Location Pullman , WA Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 49 Student Population 29,686 Tuition $27,891 School Type Public

The 100% online Washington State MBA program includes a specialization in hospitality business management. Students can graduate in as little as 22 months, and an optional international field study attracts those who wish to explore business on a global scale.

Core courses within the hospitality management MBA online program include data analysis, operations management, business law, and managerial economics. Students also engage in a two-part capstone experience where they test a product or service idea, identify the correct business model, and create a business plan.

Applicants must provide a current resume, three letters of recommendation, and a statement of purpose. The online program does not require applicants to submit GMAT or GRE scores.

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University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Location Lafayette , LA Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 31 Student Population 17,519 Tuition $12,771 School Type Public

ULL's MBA in hospitality management online program focuses on international business expansion, analyzing business trends, organizational theory, financial management, and marketing. At 33 credit hours, the program allows many students to graduate in 15 to 18 months.

One unique course, global contemporary issues in hospitality and tourism, involves students examining challenges and opportunities affecting the industry on a domestic and international level. Specialized courses also focus on feasibility studies and organizational leadership.

Prospective students with a minimum undergraduate 3.0 GPA only need to provide official transcripts. Applicants with a lower GPA may need to submit a resume and GMAT scores.

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Alcorn State University
Location Lorman , MS Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 84 Student Population 3,420 Tuition $13,752 School Type Public

Located in Lorman, Mississippi, Alcorn State offers a 36-credit MBA in hospitality management online. The program focuses on finance, management, marketing, and accounting, with most full-time students graduating in two years or less. Courses are delivered asynchronously, allowing students to complete their coursework on their own schedules.

To apply, prospective students must have a bachelor's degree from an accredited school and a cumulative 2.75 GPA at minimum. Applicants must score at least 1350 on the GMAT or 275 on the verbal and quantitative reasoning portions of the GRE. The admissions process also requires significant management experience and a letter of recommendation from a supervisor.

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How to Choose an Online MBA in Hospitality Management Program

Finding the right MBA in hospitality management online requires significant research. In addition to ensuring prospective schools offer the right concentrations, potential distance learners need to make sure programs match up in other ways. While each wish list is different, the following set of guidelines can help you consider important degree components.

  • Search for Schools in Your Area

    MBA in hospitality management online programs exist throughout the country, but distance learners often do not consider location since they won't be physically attending a campus. However, some benefits do exist in terms of attending a local online college. For example, while still enjoying the flexibility of online classes, students can visit the campus to attend networking events, meet with company recruiters, research in the library, and connect with the local alumni association after graduation.

  • Ensure the School's Admission Requirements Match Your Expectations

    Given the large number of institutions offering distance learning MBA programs, GMAT requirements can vary considerably. When creating a list of potential schools, review GMAT requirements, including average or minimum scores. Also check the schools' expectations for career experience and undergraduate achievements. While it's important to find a rigorous program, degree-seekers must also remain realistic when researching and selecting hospitality management MBA online degrees.

  • Compare Student Outcomes Data

    Even if a school's marketing materials promote it as the best MBA in hospitality management online, proof lies in the student outcomes. When reviewing school literature, look for data about graduation and employment rates, average starting salaries after graduation, and real-world degree applications. If you cannot find this information online, reach out to a program administrator and ask for the most recent data available.

  • Estimate the Expected Costs of Your Program

    The average cost of an MBA totaled $140,000 in 2018. In addition to factoring in tuition and course fees, learners need to consider textbooks and class materials, housing and utilities, food, transportation, insurance, and/or healthcare. If moving from full- to part-time work or leaving employment altogether, students should also factor in lost wages.

  • Check That Classes Will Fit in with Your Schedule

    For learners who plan to work while earning an MBA in hospitality management online, flexibility is key. Even if not working, students may need to juggle both academics and personal responsibilities. If this sounds like you, remember to ask potential schools how they structure coursework. Asynchronous programs allow learners to review lectures and respond to discussions in their own time, while synchronous programs require students to log in at specific times to interact with peers and professors.

  • Look for Partnerships with Local Businesses

    Many schools ask MBA students to complete assignments with a local business as a way to gain hands-on experience. What some students neglect to consider, however, is that these short-term relationships, with a little attention and nurturing, could turn into viable career options. When looking for a potential school, consider networking opportunities and partnerships with the business community. After the assignment is complete, you should maintain a relationship with the local business. At the very least, you make a new business contact. At most, you might receive a job offer after graduating.

  • Make Sure the Program Is Accredited

    Accreditation plays a significant role in determining whether a student can transfer credits, successfully compete against other job candidates, and receive licensure or certification. Ensure that your potential institutions have received regional accreditation. When reviewing MBA in hospitality management online degrees, look for programmatic accreditation from specialized organizations such as the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business or the Accreditation Commission for Programs in Hospitality Administration .

  • Talk to Current Students and/or Recent Alumni

    In the same way that an individual wouldn't purchase a new car, computer, or other expensive item without reading first-hand reviews, students interested in hospitality management MBA online programs shouldn't commit to a school without first talking to current students or recent alumni. You can often find recent graduates on LinkedIn, but you might also check with friends, colleagues, and family to see if they know anyone. If not, ask the school for a list of students whom you can contact.

What Certifications and Licenses are Needed for a Career in Hospitality Management?

Professional certificates can help strengthen a candidate's qualifications. Earning an MBA in hospitality management online is a great step towards establishing general business acumen, but these certificates can prepare you for specific fields. We highlight two industry standard certificates below.

Liscense Description
Certified Hotel Administrator (CHA®) The CHA certificate, specifically for hotel professionals, exhibits competency in managing and administering all on-site aspects.
Food and Beverage license A food and beverage license allows a hospitality organization to serve food and drink on site.

Resources for MBA in Hospitality Management Students

Scholarships for Hospitality Management MBA Programs

Earning your hospitality management MBA online can be expensive, however, there are a number of ways to ease the financial burden of your studies. One of the most popular ways is through scholarships. There's a wide variety of hospitality management scholarships, both merit and need-based, that can make your continuing education more affordable.

Other Online MBA Programs That May Interest You

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