Hospitality Management isn’t just hotels and restaurants anymore

The program's new name “expands the scope” to prepare students for post-graduation jobs, Hospitality Management Chairman Jim Groves said.

The College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources' Hotel and Restaurant Management program has changed its name to "Hospitality Management," but the faculty has remained the same.

The program was originally called Food Services and Lodging upon its creation in the early ‘80s. Its name was changed to Hotel and Restaurant Management in the 1990s.

Hotel and Restaurant Management became too narrow a title with the additions of event and sports venue management, Hospitality Management Chairman Jim Groves said.

“Hospitality expands the scope,” Groves said. “We (can expand to) private club, resort and cruise line management (someday).”

The Sports Venue Management emphasis area was added to Hospitality Management this year. It is the third largest major in CAFNR.

Some of its popularity might have to do with its job placement rate. Groves said the placement rate is 85 percent.

“Those that want to get jobs have a 100 percent placement,” he said.

The economic downturn led to a decrease in job placement for the 2008-09 school year. Corporations that recruited students from the Hospitality Management program have started to hire more, Groves said.

“There’s a high demand for trained managers,” he said. “Students have never been out of work for a long time.”

Another part of the success of the Hospitality Management program comes from its faculty. Both Groves and CAFNR's Academic and Career Adviser Kara Ebe raved about the quality and the connections of the professors.

“The faculty over in the Hospitality Management department have really, really strong ties to the industry, which really helps the students,” Ebe said. “A big part of it is the nature of the work that these students are going into is a necessity.”

Faculty members tend to be very involved with students, Groves said.

“We do a good job of getting our students exposed to the industry, helping them find jobs and internships,” he said. “We have better contacts in the industry than other schools.”

Hospitality Management students get hands-on experiences before even leaving MU. An individualized internship is required of each student with the help of their adviser, regardless of which emphasis area he or she is in.

“Everybody from the lodging side to the venue side is going into the field,” Ebe said. “Sports Venue Management students are working Kansas City Chiefs games so they can learn everything that goes into preparing the facility, getting ready for game days, for concerts, that type of thing.”

Many students go into the Hospitality Management program with dreams of opening their own business someday.

“(It’s an industry) focused around entertainment and pleasure,” Groves said.

Formerly a journalism major, freshman Holly Sanders made the switch into the Hospitality Management program at the beginning of this school year.

“I realized that my passion was more culinary arts and wanted to study the business side of that,” Sanders said.

Sanders said she thinks the Hospitality Management program is preparing her very well for her post-graduate career. She said she hopes to study abroad in Italy because the program combines culinary arts and restaurant management.

“Depending on how easy it is to find a job, I would really want to go to culinary school and try to open my own restaurant,” she said.

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