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Meet the Major: Hospitality and Tourism Management

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The facade of the Business Innovation Hub at the Isenberg School of Management reflects the morning light at the University of Massachusetts

Want to know more about the world of hospitality but don’t know where to begin? Well then, you’ve come across the right blog! Here at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, our Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management (HTM) prepares students to become leaders in the hospitality industry — one of the world’s largest industries, with endless possibilities for a meaningful and dynamic career. 

What is HTM?

Our HTM department falls within the Isenberg School of Management — a well-known and respected business school that also happens to be the #1 public undergraduate business program in the northeast, among other notable rankings.

Like any other business student, HTM majors study marketing, finance, management, accounting, and operations — allowing students to be well-rounded and knowledgeable in the business basics. Within the HTM field, students also focus on industry-specific fields such as Hotel, Food and Beverage, Customer Experience, and Event and Club Management. Many graduates in the major move on to work for top traditional hospitality employers — but the degree can also open doors to unique, non-traditional business opportunities including employment with Twitter, the Boston Red Sox, Expedia and more.

The HTM major at UMass Amherst is unique, as we are one of only a handful HTM programs nationwide that lies within a business school. Most do not, so this is a major advantage of our department. This allows students to have an upper hand when it comes to internships and jobs, as they not only learn about hospitality and tourism, but also take traditional business classes. This dynamic combination of the HTM major and a top business school program makes our graduates highly sought after for post-graduate employment. 

Student’s rave about our top-notch professors here in the HTM program. Our faculty are world-renowned experts in research, teaching — and experienced in the industry. They have won the Isenberg College Outstanding Teacher Award for four out of the last five years. The curriculum also focuses on experiential learning opportunities both in and outside of the classroom. 

Deciding if HTM is right for you

If you love to travel, organize parties, entertain friends and family, or lead a team, you may find the hospitality industry a perfect fit for you! If you’re drawn to working with numbers, problem-solving, managing data, or digital marketing, the HTM industry could also be a good fit for you as well. There are so many possibilities within the industry, making it a great option for many.

One of the great things about the HTM industry is that you can gain work experience in the field even before college. Many students get a job in the field during high school, which ignites their passion for majoring in the field. Since the industry is so varied our department is eager to welcome students into our major with a wide variety of skills and interests. During COVID-19 our routine is a bit different than normal, but don’t hesitate to reach out to admissions about doing “virtual” campus visits and info sessions. Students can also reach out directly to our HTM department and we can connect you to one of our faculty and student ambassadors who would gladly mentor you as you embark on the application process.

For those arriving on campus without a major, many students join the HTM department via an on-campus application process every semester. There are just a few predictor courses you may need to get under your belt first, such as our “Introduction to Hospitality” class. Isenberg offers an info session to help you with the process, and overall we see a very high admission rate for current UMass students looking to transfer into the HTM department — especially those from our “Isenberg Exploratory Track”, but also from other majors.

Student Resources Outside the Classroom

Within the HTM department we have many opportunities and ways for students to get involved within the major. We have a number of HTM-focused, award-winning clubs which involve activities like peer-to-peer mentoring, guest speakers, educating members on industry news and trends, field trips, and attending conferences — they include:

You can get an insider’s view of some HTM travel experiences that happened before the pandemic in blogs by Jessie (that's me!) with the CMAA and AHLA.

One of our largest events of the year is the HTM Career Day. It's multi-day event that is entirely planned, implemented, and executed by our student leaders that has run for over 40 years. It includes a large central career fair, small group rapid recruiting sessions, individual interviews, and a lavish reception and networking. The event is entirely planned by our students — so it offers amazing management opportunities for those on the planning committee to expand their skills in leadership, marketing and relations, event management, food and beverage management and financial planning of the event. This event is where a number of our students find summer internships, as well as post graduate opportunities. Hear more about Career Day in this interview with one of our HTM students, Maiya. 

The HTM department also has a very strong alumni network, and we stress the importance of networking and getting to know mentors and leaders in the field. Our department helps students develop a high level of professionalism, emphasises experiential learning, and helps them become the best version of themselves.

Our team of HTM ambassadors and faculty would love to talk with you about a future in hospitality and tourism management. We are available via email, phone or Zoom to prospective students and their parents. Prospective students say that reaching out to current students during their college exploration process was one of the most important things they did! 

For more information or to connect with us, please contact Jena Igel, HTM director for External Relations and Engagement

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