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Why You Do Not Need a Degree to Work in Hospitality

A degree, be it a Bachelor or Masters, is hard work. It requires a commitment of time, a huge contribution of money, and an even bigger bucket of bottomless motivation.

A degree will give you the theoretical foundation of the hospitality industry, you will learn a bit about hotels, a bit about restaurants, maybe a bit about tourism and if you’re lucky you get to choose something to “specialise in” so you can learn a bit more about that.

Photo by Adrien Olichon on Unsplash

With all of those bits of knowledge, you are going to go to work in a hotel, restaurant, or a travel agency and do well. You will go from being a Front Desk clerk to a Supervisor and etc. In due time you will climb the career ladder. But you will do so another with your team-mates who during the time you were learning all about hotels, were working in hotels.

These team-mates of yours do not have a degree, they have more work experience, and in a hotel environment, they are just as valuable as you. They are likely to be better than you are at many things and this will be frustrating for you. They are going to get the job done without even knowing what a STEEPLE analysis is.

Because you have a degree, because you were told that it will be a stepping stone for you in your career, you may think you are better than them. You spent 3-5 years studying hard - you want all the hard work to be worth it. Right?

Well, the truth is simple. If you want to work in the hospitality industry - you don’t need a degree. You will be surprised how many people working in the industry only have a high school degree or a bachelor in something completely unrelated - like Mathematics.

If you want to succeed in the hospitality industry you need more than a degree. You need knowledge. Knowledge about the industry, about key stakeholders and how to work with them, you need to know how to engage with your leadership, and who you really work for. (It’s not guests.) This knowledge you will not learn with a degree.

So if you are looking to just work in hospitality, you can. If you are looking to be successful in hospitality, you need to learn how to utilise the resources at your disposal to your advantage. You need to utilise your degree to the fullest and then you will be successful in hospitality and then you will build a career that you want and then you will thank yourself for having done the work now, and not 10 years later.

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