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Business Management vs Hospitality Management

EHL Insights
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Do you see yourself in a managerial role? Are you itching to stride out into the world of business and make your mark? Are you looking for a degree course that will equip you with the skills and experience required to fill those big shoes one day? Perhaps you are wondering whether business management or hospitality management is the right fit for you. Or how your career prospects might differ upon completion of either course. Fear not, EHL Insights has weighed up the pros and cons of each degree to enable you to make an informed decision.

First things first: What is the difference between Business Management and Hospitality Management degree courses? To answer this question, we shall address each subject in turn, taking a closer look at potential career outcomes.


What is a Business Management degree?

A Business Management degree, studied at the Bachelor’s level, is a broad course of education that conveys insights into the way companies and organizations are run. Business operations are considered from a financial and administrative perspective, among others. A feel for efficiency, grasp of systems and understanding of organizational behavior and structure is cultivated, as well as of cause and effect with regard to external influences, particularly economic changes. In addition, subject-matter is dealt with on topics such as business policy and strategy, markets, customers, communication and information technology.

Business Management degree courses tend to address business issues at the European and international levels, incorporating case-based learning and real-world examples. They teach skills that are applicable in several industries, such as time management, analytical and critical thinking, problem-solving and decision-making, numeracy, presentation and research skills. They equip students to properly interpret business and financial data as a solid foundation for wise business transactions.


What can you do with a Business Management degree?

The content covered in Business Management degrees is typically fairly general in its application, which is why the course is often studied in combination with another subject, such as accounting or marketing. It also acts as a stepping stone to other specializations, a basis for an MBA or other graduate degree course, or even a bridge to some legal professions by way of a graduate diploma in law. Those looking to focus on a specific commercial role might like to consider a graduate training scheme.

Usual career paths for Business Management graduates may lead into consultancy, human resource management, marketing, sales or insurance. Employment may be found in seemingly endless different industries, from utilities and construction to chemicals, health and even fashion. The private, public and voluntary sectors can all put graduates’ skills to good use. Relevant job titles include:

  • Business analyst
  • Corporate adviser
  • Business development manager
  • Project manager
  • Risk manager
  • Supply chain manager
  • Management accountant
  • Data analyst

What is a Hospitality Management degree?

Much like a degree in Business Management, a Hospitality Management degree offers comprehensive insights into the structure and functioning of companies and organizations. Students are taught the respective management skills, such as leadership and delegation, teamwork and communication, IT, analysis, critical thinking and problem-solving.

The Hospitality Management syllabus, however, is tailored to the hospitality sector, which epitomizes customer service. This adds flavor to the course by aiming to truly understand customer requirements and how to meet them, drawing upon an attractive set of hard and soft skills and – in the case of high-ranking hospitality management schools – insights from affective hospitality. This trains students to fully immerse themselves in the guest perspective in the pursuit of service excellence.

A high degree of hands-on experience demands from students that they rise to the challenge of an extremely demanding, fast-paced industry. The ensuing resilience makes graduates an asset to many a sector, far beyond the realms of hospitality.


What can you do with a Hospitality Management degree?

A Hospitality Management degree is a highly versatile qualification that opens doors in the private, public and voluntary sectors. Career opportunities may be found among employers such as hotel chains, conference and exhibition centers, events venues, bars and pubs, restaurants or even airlines, railways, hospitals, universities or the armed forces. Typical job titles include:

  • Hotel manager
  • Resort manager
  • Conference center manager
  • Public house manager
  • Restaurant manager
  • Catering manager
  • Event coordinator
  • Chef

Thanks to the adaptable and sought-after skills, not to mention admirable work ethic developed on a course of this kind, a hospitality management career trajectory can take graduates in any manner of direction. Marketing, sales, public relations, human resources, customer services, tourism along with finance and accounting are all possible areas of employment.

As is the case with Business Management, a Bachelor’s degree in Hospitality Management can be an excellent starting point for further education or professional training. Students may choose hospitality management for the practical experience and to hone their ability to tune into what customers want before specializing or transitioning to a related area.


Business Management vs Hospitality Management degrees: the pros and cons

For ease of comparison, the main advantages and disadvantages in a nutshell:

😃 Business Management 

  • Broadly applicable degree.
  • General management skills required in almost every industry – in demand the world over provided candidates possess the prerequisite languages skills.
  • Can often be combined with other subjects, i.e. by pursuing a minor in a related field.
  • Case-based learning and real-world examples add depth to course.
  • Good basis for specializations, graduate training programs or an MBA (business administration).
  • Holistic understanding of phenomena provides knowledge base for sound data interpretation and decision-making.
  • Graduates have great flexibility to choose a work environment that is right for them or take any available job, depending on plenitude / the state of the economy.

🙁 Business Management

  • Lack of defined career outcomes may prove challenging when entering the labor market.
  • May need to be combined with other subjects, work experience or extracurricular activities to make job applicants stand out.
  • Career choices often in highly competitive areas: much hard work required.









😃 Hospitality Management

  • Broadly applicable degree with a clear focus on hospitality.
  • Unique skill set desirable in almost every industry – added flair for meeting customer expectations.
  • Can often be customized through elective modules or internship placements.
  • Work experience built into degree course.
  • Good basis for specializations, graduate training programs or an MBA (particularly well suited to hospitality administration).
  • Work in desirable locations around the world.
  • Diverse, dynamic, fast-paced work environment.
  • Outlets for creativity, e.g. event planning.
  • Attractive perks, e.g. discounted hotel stays.


🙁 Hospitality Management

  • Not for the faint-hearted or work-shy.
  • Intense and demanding course of studies and work environment.
  • Shift work and the high degree of dedication required once on the labor market may prove difficult to combine with family, friends and/or leisure activities.









As you can see, both Business Management and Hospitality Management degree courses constitute an excellent arena in which to develop crucial managerial skills. Irrespective of which type of course you choose, attending a well reputed institution will work wonders for your career – both in terms of tuition quality and business connections made along the way.

If hospitality management is the avenue for you, consider completing your studies at EHL, ranked 2020’s number one by QS world university rankings and CEO World Magazine alike. This particular degree course allows you to choose between an academic or a professional pathway and provides the best of both worlds: an international outlook and a strong sense of Swiss hospitality heritage.

EHL Graduate Programs  Choose the Right Hospitality Graduate Degree  Whether you want to change careers, or go higher in the hospitality industry,  our programs re adapted to fit your career and learning needs.  Discover


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