Why Entrepreneurs Study Hospitality Management?

EHL Editorial Team | 28 Oct, 2016

Only 10% of startups succeed in the long run due to the extensive risks that new entrepreneurs run when starting a business. So what’s the key to success? Having the right combination of hard and soft skills to position your business for a strong future. Hospitality management offers aspiring entrepreneurs a rare chance to combine practical and theoretic education, grooming you for entrepreneurial success by strengthening your essential skills.

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While there will always be standout success stories from entrepreneurs who "got lucky" and made millions, the majority of successful startup owners got there through a combination of three factors: a good idea, a lot of hard work, and the right skills to create their own success. So, what are those magic skills that would-be entrepreneurs need to acquire?

Clear vision is a must. A sharp eye for trends and current events is also essential, keeping a constant eye on the environment to pivot the business if necessary. What’s working well, and what’s not working so well today? What are new competitors doing and how is the business different from other disruptions on the market? In addition to following trends, startup leaders must remain flexible and future-oriented, ready to thrive on change and avoid replicating what others have already done.

Then there’s attention to detail: how good would any startup be if the business owner could not look at the balance sheets, run reports and analyses, and make informed business decisions? Even when others are tasked with financial, managerial, and leadership tasks, the startup's founder must be able to have a good transversal comprehension of the duties performed within the company. This is often where the success of a startup “makes or breaks”.

Above all, however, entrepreneurs must have the right people skills to influence others and inspire success.

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Looking at those top entrepreneur skills, it’s easy to see why hospitality students succeed when they go into business. Right from day 1 of their academic program, they are trained in customer service, leadership and management styles so they know how to efficiently oversee front-of-house and back-of-house staff and interact with hotel guests. Hospitality students are taught to be flexible, think creatively, and multitask on the job to respond to whatever situations arise. As a result, they graduate with a natural flexibility and openness that can help them create an environment for success.

Today's hospitality students also study the history of hoteliers and the modern disruptions faced by the industry. These include online travel agencies, vacation rental, and peer-to-peer marketplaces. While the specific industry in which they operate may differ, hospitality graduates understand how to analyze their position in the marketplace. They know how to respond to change. And they understand how technology can help or hinder established businesses and brands… all of the core qualities required for a business or startup to succeed where others have failed.

Through internships and classroom education, hospitality students learn to pay attention to the smallest details, keep track of things, and run detailed reports using sophisticated software. Without this, students would not be prepared to run a hotel. After gaining comfort with reporting and data management, they can easily switch gears to keep track of business variables and ensure precision at the level needed for business success.

Thibaud Lecuyer, AEHL 02, co-founder of Global Fashion Group “Dafiti” in Brazil.

Thibaud Lecuyer, the founder of Brazil’s flourishing e-commerce brand “Dafiti”, is just one example of a young EHL graduate who used his hospitality skills and education to succeed in the startup economy.

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