In the past few weeks, I’ve had multiple conversations about the difference between graduate school and undergraduate school. One conversation I had in particular was a strong discussion with a classmate of mine in which she insisted that graduate school was no different than undergrad, that the work load was about the same, and emotionally, she felt the same as she did a few years ago.
At first, I strongly disagreed- but on second thought, I realized that sure, in terms of work load, it wasn’t too far off and plus, with only one class a week, we had plenty of time to finish our assignments if we managed our time well. I then realized where we differences laid:
Attending graduate school is not suppose to be academic driven (unless you’re in fields such as law, medicine, or anything science or math related), it’s a higher-level education, much more driven by your own personal motivation, what your goals are in a few years, and how you are going to achieve that with the assistance and knowledge from being a so-called “master’s student”.
With all this free time in my hand, I can easily pass my classes with flying colors, graduate, and move on to the next thing but then again, I’m not sure how many of these classes are really going to get me a job in the hospitality industry.
It’s an industry unlike others, it’s structured for employees to start from the ground up and work their way through different departments in their career. Whether or not a graduate degree for hospitality was necessary was a major decision in my application to school. After much debate, I chose school, as you all know- and it was a great decision.
“Hospitality degrees are still new concepts in an industry that’s traditionally made employees work their way up the totem pole to senior management positions. Still, some employees pursue graduate education with hopes that it will make them stand out from the pack.”
– Dan Peltier published a recent article on Skift
“The Double-Edged Sword of the Hospitality Graduate Degree Debate”
I highly agree that the most effective and successful employees are those that have experienced different departments, working their way up, through various departments- but I also believe that having the experience of higher-level education along side this experience will increase one’s chances of success.
Sure, hotel companies may not necessarily embrace graduate education for what it is, but I believe that if we, as students – start to use graduate school as a resource to learn more knowledge about the industry through not only classes, but also in personal research with our access to the extensive database, begin to reach out to professors, other students who may be already in the industry, alumni network, and outside industry professionals – we can begin to fully value what it means to have a Hospitality Graduate Degree.
At the end of the day, it comes down what you do with what you have, how you use your resources to benefit your education and career, setting short and long term goals and most importantly, especially in the hospitality industry, building connections wherever you go. The industry, and the world, are very interconnected. You never know how an impression you made a few years ago can make or break you in the future.