Wichita State Adds Hospitality Bachelor’s in Business Administration

The Wichita State University W. Frank Barton School of Business plans to launch a bachelor of business administration degree program in hospitality in fall 2024.
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Published on February 28, 2024
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  • Wichita State University is adding a bachelor of business administration degree program in hospitality management.
  • The program will bring a heavy focus on entrepreneurship. The curriculum will cover areas like global tourism and new models of food service.
  • It will launch at the Wichita State W. Frank Barton School of Business in fall 2024.
  • Industry leaders said the degree program will prepare students to lead in a fast-growing industry.

The hospitality industry weathered the COVID-19 pandemic and is growing — and earning a business degree focused in that field can set students up for a host of opportunities.

That's why the Wichita State University W. Frank Barton School of Business plans to launch a bachelor of business administration degree program in hospitality in fall 2024. School officials and industry leaders said in a press release that the program will prepare students to step into the fast-paced industry and excel as leaders.

A bachelor of business administration (BBA) program prepares students for a wide variety of leadership roles with broad instruction on management, key aspects of business like finance and marketing, and sometimes a specialized curriculum focusing on a specific industry or area of expertise.

Wichita State's new BBA in hospitality program will feature real-world learning opportunities for students, including experiential learning trips to Las Vegas resorts and hotels, according to the school's website. The program curriculum includes a mix of 18 credit hours of specialized hospitality courses, covering everything from global tourism to emerging models of food service.

Entrepreneurship is central to the hospitality BBA curriculum, according to the school's release. Industry leaders said the hospitality-focused program will prepare students for a rapidly growing and ever-changing field.

"The hospitality industry employs 15 million people and is on track to add another 500,000 jobs by the end of this year," Michelle Korsmo, president and CEO of the National Restaurant Association, said in the release.

"The hospitality major at the Barton School of Business could make important contributions to our industry's talent development by preparing graduates to efficiently lead operations, ensure superb customer experiences, and operate financially sound enterprises.”

Scott Redler, co-founder of the Wichita-headquartered Freddy's Frozen Custard & Steakburgers, said his own degree in restaurant and hotel management helped him adapt to changes in customer needs and industry trends throughout his career.

"As it did for me, studying the hospitality industry in a classroom and experiential setting is a great advantage," Redler said in the release. "Creating a bachelor's degree in hospitality will not only support the expanding hospitality industry in south-central Kansas but also prepare students for the workforce across the country."

The hospitality industry has had a major rebound after major losses brought on during pandemic-related shutdowns. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected previously that leisure and hospitality would make up 1.9 million jobs added to the U.S. economy between 2021 and 2031 — a little over 23% of all new jobs projected.

A number of business schools offer BBA degrees with a focus on hospitality.

Florida Atlantic University (FAU), for example, offers an online BBA in hospitality and tourism management. A BBA in hospitality can set students up for a wide variety of jobs, from sales director to guest services manager, or even roles in recreation departments, according to FAU.

Some schools also offer accelerated hospitality management degree programs, with focuses ranging from casino and hotel management to nonprofit work.

Those degrees can unlock a number of jobs for students. Administrative services and facilities managers, for example, had a median pay of $101,870 per year in 2022, according to the BLS, with a faster-than-average projected growth rate for all occupations. Event planners had a median pay of $52,560 per year in 2022, likewise with a faster-than-average growth rate.