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Behind the degree: Hospitality management

Konstantinos Bastas was managing his parent’s diner on the Upper EastSide of Manhattan, but found himself daydreaming of an alternativecareer.

In 2007, Konstantinos Bastas was managing his parent’s diner on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, but found himself daydreaming of an alternative career.

“I knew restaurants weren’t the route I wanted to take, but I always enjoyed interacting with people — making sure our clients were well taken care of. So the hospitality gene was always in me,” says Bastas.

He initially considered applying for an MBA program, but then discovered the M.S. program in hospitality industry studies at NYU. Bastas earned his degree last year. After a short stint at the Ritz Carlton Central Park, he founded his own luxury travel consultant business, Bastas Travel Consultants.

“A master’s degree [program] teaches you the practical stuff: hospitality formulas, marketing, revenue management. But the most important thing for me in those two years is relationship-building — having professors who are industry leaders and being around other students who are involved in the industry.”

Expert Q&A

Dr. Elizabeth H. Barber is the associate dean of the School of Tourism and Hospitality Management at Temple.

What’s the history of the master’s in hospitality and tourism?

It dates back to the 1920s. Michigan State University and Cornell University tend to fight over who was the first.

Is this degree necessary for a management career in the industry?

No. It’s still an industry that says, “If you’re going to come in, you better start at the front desk.” But a degree allows you to progress more fluidly.

What skills should a person have before considering this degree?

They’ve got to be a people person. It’s pretty hard to not be surrounded by people in this industry. In hospitality, sometimes people are mad at you, so you better be pretty resilient. You need to be flexible, like to move [and] go where the jobs are.

 
 
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