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.

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

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%

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.
Rank School Location Cost Toggle Logo Tuition % Receiving Financial Aid Student Population School Type Description

East Carolina University

Location Greenville, NC Tuition Tuition $12,342 % Receiving Financial Aid 57% Student Population 28,289 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).


Concentrations
View School Profile

Endicott College

Location Beverly, MA Tuition Tuition $31,454 % Receiving Financial Aid 63% Student Population 4,695 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.


Concentrations
View School Profile

Fort Hays State University

Location Hays, KS Tuition Tuition $12,527 % Receiving Financial Aid 41% Student Population 15,100 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.


Concentrations
View School Profile

Husson University

Location Bangor, ME Tuition Tuition $16,704 % Receiving Financial Aid 74% Student Population 3,500 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.


Concentrations
View School Profile

Johnson & Wales University

Location Providence, RI Tuition Tuition $25,974 % Receiving Financial Aid 86% Student Population 500 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.


Concentrations
View School Profile

Louisiana State University - Shreveport

Location Shreveport, LA Tuition Tuition $12,473 % Receiving Financial Aid 34% Student Population 4,428 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.


Concentrations
View School Profile

Lynn University

Location Boca Raton, FL Tuition Tuition $27,380 % Receiving Financial Aid 28% Student Population 2,693 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.


Concentrations
View School Profile

Midway University

Location Midway, KY Tuition Tuition $16,800 % Receiving Financial Aid 71% Student Population 1,055 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.


Concentrations
View School Profile

University of New Hampshire

Location Durham, NH Tuition Tuition $38,400 % Receiving Financial Aid 68% Student Population 15,351 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.


Concentrations
View School Profile

Washington State University

Location Pullman, WA Tuition Tuition $27,891 % Receiving Financial Aid 49% Student Population 29,686 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.


Concentrations
View School Profile

University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Location Lafayette, LA Tuition Tuition $12,771 % Receiving Financial Aid 31% Student Population 17,519 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.


Concentrations
View School Profile

Alcorn State University

Location Lorman, MS Tuition Tuition $13,752 % Receiving Financial Aid 84% Student Population 3,420 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.


Concentrations
View School Profile

If you’ve decided that an MBA in hospitality management is right for you, then it is time to start narrowing down the list of schools you are interested in. Here are a few tips and tricks to help you through this process.

  • Search for schools in your area

    Even though you are looking for online programs, it can be helpful to choose a school that is within a 100 mile radius of your home. Online students often report that they enjoy having the ability to visit campus if they want to. In addition, schools often partner with local businesses, meaning a school in your area will have a better chance of helping you find a job close to home.

  • Compare student outcomes data

    Many schools will readily provide this information on their website; however, if you can’t find it, be sure to contact the school and ask for it. This data should include graduation rates, employment rates, and the compensation levels of recent graduates. When looked at side-by-side, this information can give you an easy glimpse of program quality.

  • Estimate the expected costs of your programs

    Prospective students often underestimate the total cost of their program. Make sure you calculate the total number of credit hours you will need to graduate, and multiply that by cost per credit hour. Do not forget to include the cost of supplies, internet, and time you will spend not earning an income. Additionally, compare financial aid options, different schools may offer better financial aid packages and/or scholarships that can offset the cost of education.

  • Check that classes will fit in with your schedule

    One of the central benefits of online education is flexibility. However, some programs will require set meeting times, synchronous workshops, and mandatory campus visits. Be sure that you are aware of all time commitments and that they will fit into your current schedule.

  • Make sure the program is accredited

    Accreditation is the formal review process that ensures a school is offering a reputable program that adheres to minimum academic standards. The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business is the national agency that accredits for undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral programs in business and accounting. By checking a program’s status with the AACSB, you can be confident you are receiving a recognized, quality degree. Employers generally will not hire candidates who possess a degree from a school that is not accredited, and schools will not accept academic credentials from an unaccredited program.

  • Talk to current students and/or recent alumni

    One of the best resources when it comes to making a final decision on an online MBA in Hospitality Management program is actual students and graduates. They can give you an unbiased, real-world take on how the program has served them, what they have liked, and what they have disliked. Ask an admissions counselor to put you in touch with a current student or recent alumni. Alternatively, use LinkedIn or Facebook to find and reach out to people.

Search Programs by Concentration

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.

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.