The hospitality industry is a major economic driver in the Berks County area, and the Hospitality Management degree program is offered in response to demand for graduates with degrees in the hospitality industry. Penn State Berks is the only campus outside University Park to offer this degree program with the Entrepreneurship option.
The Hospitality Management degree program will help to prepare students for management positions in hotels, restaurants, resorts, and other hospitality organizations. It also provides a sound background for students who plan to pursue graduate studies.
The college had offered the associate degree in Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Management for the last 41 years in collaboration with Penn State's School of Hospitality Management. During that time, the college has formed relationships with local hotels and restaurants, providing students with internships and "live" laboratory experiences.
The college's Gaige Technology and Business Innovation Building has a production kitchen to support the required laboratory for the B.S. in Hospitality Management degree, as well as an adjacent dining room to simulate restaurant operations.
Internships, Research, and Application
Students will be able to apply the knowledge they gain by participating in capstone projects, such as creating new business ideas, developing business plans, and case study writing, in advanced courses as well as by engaging in their own or faculty-led research projects.
The capstone projects enable students not only to apply the knowledge they have obtained but also to evaluate the opportunities and threats in concurrent or anticipated trends in the external environment and create the best ideas or solutions in a given situation. In addition, students can explore research questions or experiment with their new ideas under faculty members’ guidance while taking independent study credits.
Students may also have opportunities to get involved in faculty-led projects. The topics of faculty research are various in the hospitality and tourism field, including customer interaction with service employees, the role of technology in the service encounter, consumer behavior in sustainable food consumption, social innovation, and tourism marketing led by destination marketing organizations (DMOs).
There are several opportunities to present the research projects, including a regional undergraduate research conference and industry and academic conferences in the field. By participating in the research projects, students learn the value of creating and disseminating knowledge to the communities as well as improving critical and analytical thinking and interpersonal communication skills.
Students are expected to have entry level managerial positions after they graduate based on the knowledge, skills, and work experience they have accumulated throughout the degree program. The positions are not only in daily operation but also business functions, such as revenue management, sales and marketing, and human resource management in various segments within the hospitality and tourism industry, including hotels, restaurants, theme parks, airlines, event management, wedding planning, spas, casinos, country clubs, cruises, travel agencies, senior living, destination marketing organizations (DMOs), healthcare, and real estate.
Based on an in-depth understanding in managing service quality, students can also pursue their careers in any service industry. With the support of career services on campus and the strong alumni network of Penn State, students will have numerous opportunities to explore career opportunities and choose the position in which they can excel.
Moreover, with the distinctive focus on entrepreneurship in the program, students are encouraged to actively seek out opportunities to further implement their business ideas after graduation. Students can also continue their learning by applying for the graduate programs (e.g., MBA and Master’s programs) based on their primary needs.