MBA in Hospitality Management


A master of business administration (MBA) program that focuses on hospitality management consists of a core curriculum that covers practical business subjects, similar to the majority of accredited MBA programs. These subjects include finance, information technology, human resources, management theory, and accounting. Outside of these fundamental business courses, students also take targeted hospitality classes such as hotel management, restaurant management, tourism management, and event planning. Also, students can choose to specialize in sub-sectors of the hospitality industry (e.g., hotel management). Students may have the option to partake in internships, which complement coursework in practical ways and add valuable on-the-job experience.

For students interested in hospitality management who want to further their studies to go beyond a bachelor’s degree, an MBA is a great option. The hospitality industry is made up of many connected businesses and sectors each offering an extensive range of products and services. With an MBA, graduates can find employment in industries like leisure and recreation, spa and wellness, food and beverage, hotels, tourism, and event planning. MBA degree holders have an advantage over other professionals thanks to their expanded skill base making them more attractive to larger companies and significant enterprises. Cruise lines, hotel chains, and casinos, in particular, are looking for advanced training in their new hires.

Students who obtain an MBA degree in hospitality management can move into new leadership positions such as hotel manager, restaurant manager, director of food and beverage, resort general manager, casino manager, and hospitality information systems manager, as well as business-focused roles such as gaming consultant, financial consultant, and marketing strategy consultant.

The leisure and hospitality industry has one of the highest rates of job openings in the U.S., according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In May 2017, the BLS reported that the job openings rate across all private companies was four percent, while the job opening rate for the leisure and hospitality industry was almost five percent, followed by professional and business services at 4.8 percent. What’s more, employment of management occupations within the hospitality industry is projected to grow eight percent between 2016 and 2026, resulting in more than 807,000 new jobs.

There are all sorts of MBA programs in hospitality management, available on campus, online, and as a hybrid of both. This guide lists and details distance-based MBA in hospitality management programs and profiles outstanding faculty members from schools that offer this type of programs.

Online MBA in Hospitality Management Program List

The Carson College of Business at Washington State offers an online MBA degree with five tracks: general, marketing, finance, international business, and hospitality business management. This program is ranked among the best online MBA programs in the U.S. by the U.S. News and World Report and is ideal for students who are looking to learn at their own pace or work part- or full-time while enrolled.

Students who opt for the hospitality business management concentration learn about business operations in the hospitality sector through courses in service management, international tourism, and hospitality operations. The school’s concentrations are also each available as a standalone nine-credit MBA certificate. The foundational portion of the program includes classes in operations management, business law, financial and managerial accounting, marketing, economics, finance, and data analysis.

The school also offers an optional international field study, where MBA students can travel to China and South Korea for a week-long residency to learn about some of the world’s fastest-growing economies. A GMAT is required for admission, but this may be waived for those who exceed the minimum MBA admission requirements.

Location: Pullman, Washington
Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International (AACSB International)
Format: Online with optional international one-week residency
Tuition: $775 per credit
Program length: 22 to 29 months

Antioch offers an interactive dual-degree online program focuses on ecology, sustainability, and tourism and is designed for working professionals and entrepreneurs who work in environmental centers, state and national parks, and the tourism and hospitality industry. The program, in conjunction with the University College of Tourism and Ecology in Poland, provides graduates with an MBA degree in sustainable tourism. This program offers a unique opportunity for students to learn about sustainable best practices in business and how to implement them in the tourism industry. They gain an understanding of the impact of sustainability on complicated business, financial, and economic systems. Students can expect to learn about trends in tourism, identify areas for opportunity and apply a complex framework of knowledge to everyday challenges.

The dual degree MBA program can be completed with 42 credits over five consecutive semesters of full-time study. In the first year, students will take courses such as introduction to sustainability, marketing and communication strategy, finance for socially conscious leaders, social tourism, customer relations, and branding in tourism. In the second year, students will learn about operations and value chain management, eco-business, and the tourism ecosystem. Students are expected to complete an MBA project at the end of their tenure.

Location: Keene, New Hampshire
Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
Format: Online
Tuition: $650 per credit
Program length:20 months

management. Students learn about the principles, practices, and trends of the tourism and hospitality industry, as well as the fundamentals of the business world. The program consists of 34 credits with an additional four foundation courses (12 credits) for students without an undergraduate degree. Students who have graduated from this program have landed at large corporations such as Walmart, Koch Industries, IBM, and GE, as well as governmental and non-profit organizations such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Kansas Department of Commerce, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

Students take 12 classes to complete their degree in areas such as marketing, management, economics, and finance. For those in the tourism and hospitality management track, classes include principles and practices in tourism and hospitality management, tourism and hospitality marketing, service operations, meetings, conventions, and event management, hotel and resort management, and international hospitality.

In the online program, students can connect with classmates and professors across many platforms including online discussion boards, Skype, WebX, YouTube, Blackboard and Google Docs. Applicants must submit a current resume, official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate coursework, GMAT or GRE scores, two letters of recommendation, and a personal statement.

Location: Hays, Kansas
Accreditation: AACSB International, Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges
Format: Online
Tuition: $12,527 for full program
Program length: 18 months for full-time students and three years for part-time students

Lynn University offers an online MBA program in hospitality for students wishing to go on to work in event planning, food service, lodging and resort management, and hospitality. The program is designed for professionals to progress into management and business positions as they will learn about successful financial protocols and reporting practices through real-world case studies.

Lynn’s program is unique because of its many different specializations. Students can concentrate in one of nine fields, including event planning, food service, lodging and resort management, aviation, media management, sports management, entrepreneurial management, human resources, hospitality, and finance. The GMAT or GRE is not required for admittance into the program. This is a 37-credit MBA program can be completed in as little as one year and comprises 19 credits for foundation courses, nine specialization credits, and nine elective credits.

All students enrolled at Lynn receive an iPad that provides various educational resources and related apps. Students within the online program must check in with their professor daily and be available for scheduled online discussions with faculty or fellow students.

Location:Boca Raton, Florida
Accreditation:: International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE), Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
Format: Online
Tuition: $740 per credit
Program length: One to two years, with a maximum of four years
5 University of New Hampshire, Peter T. Paul College of Business and Economics

UNH’s Peter T. Paul College of Business and Economics offers an online MBA program where students complete coursework online, at one of the school’s two campuses (in Durham and Manchester), or as a hybrid of both. Students enrolled in the part-time evening, and online MBA program can specialize in one of six fields, including hospitality management.

The weekday classes are held in the evenings, and the online courses are asynchronous so that students can continue to work full- or part-time while enrolled in the program. The program is structured into five eight-week terms with nine core courses and seven electives. The online MBA core curriculum integrates managerial and leadership courses as well as classes in finance, marketing, data analysis, and technology. In the hospitality management program (only available part-time and online), students can gain the tools necessary for career advancement in the industry. They take courses in human resource management, hospitality operations and financial metrics, hospitality asset and financial management, and hospitality revenue management and pricing strategies. Students master these concepts through class discussions, cases, and projects.

Applicants to the online MBA may request to waive the GMAT exam, provided they meet the professional experience requirements.

Location: Durham and Manchester, New Hampshire
Accreditation: AACSB International, The New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC)
Format: Online
Tuition: $2,400 per three-credit course for in-state students, $2,640 per three-credit course for out-of-state students
Program length: Two to six years

Professors to Know from Schools with Online MBA Programs in Hospitality Management

  • E. Hachemi Aliouche, PhD, University of New Hampshire

    Dr. E. Hachemi Aliouche is the director of the Rosenberg International Franchise Center and a chair in franchising, and an associate professor in hospitality management at the University of New Hampshire. He has experience in management, entrepreneurship, consulting, and investment. Before becoming a professor, Dr. Aliouche spent more than 12 years in senior-level management positions as a controller, chief financial officer in strategic planning, corporate finance officer, and business development professional. He worked for industry leaders, such as AT&T and Lucent Technologies. His entrepreneurial experience comes from his time as the co-founder of a successful startup company and assisting to launch other startups. Dr. Aliouche received his doctorate in economics, a master's in economics, and a bachelor's in electrical engineering at the University of New Hampshire. He also completed a mini-MBA in finance from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania.

  • Mary Martin, PhD, Fort Hays State University

    As a professor of marketing at FHSU, Dr. Martin teaches courses in marketing principles, consumer behavior, database marketing, strategic electronic marketing, and marketing management. She was the co-founder of a strategic consulting firm in Charlotte, North Carolina, which specialized in the creation of marketing plans, marketing research, organizational strategy, business plans, and e-business seminars. Before that, she was the director of marketing for an aircraft interior decorative coatings company where she developed web-driven and traditional marketing strategies for the company. Her current research interests include e-business, the effects of advertising on kids, and innovative teaching strategies. Dr. Martin has published her research in the Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, the Journal of Advertising, Psychology and Marketing, and the Journal of E-Business. She received her doctorate from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and her undergraduate degree in advertising from Kansas State University. She also completed her MBA at Fort Hays State University.

Admission Requirements for Online MBA Programs in Hospitality Management

There are many application requirements for online MBA programs in hospitality management. Below are some common requirements derived from the programs above:

  • Completion of prerequisite courses
  • A competitive GPA from a bachelor’s degree in a related field
  • A GMAT score; GMAT scores may be waived under certain conditions
  • Personal statement of goals and objectives
  • A bachelor’s degree from a regionally-accredited college or university
  • Admission essays
  • Relevant work experience
  • The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) for international students


Accreditation means a particular school or program offers a curriculum that abides by established standards in a discipline. A third-party accreditation agency performs the accreditation process. Several accrediting organizations are common for hospitality programs.

The Association of Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International) helps to promote and improve programs in business administration and management, as well as related courses like hospitality, human resources, and operations. It recognizes the importance of faculty research and secure knowledge foundations to students enrolled in various business programs. Over 800 business schools across more than 50 countries are accredited by AACSB and an additional 186 have a specialized accreditation for accounting programs.

The Higher Learning Commission, one of six CHEA-approved regional entities, accredits colleges and universities in 19 states throughout the country, with a mission of serving the common good through the assurance and advancement of the quality of higher learning. The HLC was founded in 1895 to provide accreditation to degree-granting postsecondary educational institutions that rely on peer reviews and relationships with the federal government and other organizations.

Lastly, because most students are interested in pursuing more advanced and professional hospitality management titles after graduation, some schools follow standards recognized by state or national hospitality organizations such as the American Hotel and Lodging Association, the National Tourism Association and the National Restaurant Organization.