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  • Writer's pictureElliot Figueroa

Did I just waste time in college?

VALUE; Is what we think something is worth. In business this is easily described as ROI or return on investment. Is it worth doing something for the return in value? So if you spent 4 years getting your degree will you benefit from the return on your investment? Your loan debt will make you think it’s not worth it but let me tell you it is.

Employability is what you gain. Not in the way you think. You will not be the best candidate right out of the gate. You will probably not even be the second-best candidate. Those that have spent the same four years working in the industry will have a higher rate of success in landing the job or even getting an interview. You will certainly send a lot more resumes out and fill out countless applications before you are likely to be hired.

But don’t despair. In May of this year the leisure and hospitality sector had the largest job openings with 4.9 percent compared to the current active jobs according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This means our industry is growing at a more rapid pace than most industries. People have more disposable income and therefore take on more luxury expenses like traveling. Close to a third of the employment in the hospitality sector is management positions and as hotels, clubs, and restaurants add occupancy, memberships and covers, they need more hands to serve their guests and managers to run their properties.

Experts agree in studies published in the Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Education that a graduate degree will not guarantee you employment opportunities but will guarantee you career success.

So, what is the value of a college degree if I’m not getting the job? Employability. Not in attaining a job but in retaining a job. In other words, although you will send out more resumes and apply to more openings, your career trajectory will be sharper.

Consider a Human Resources generalist who has been working for 4 years versus a graduate with no experience other than internships in a hospitality program. Who would you hire as an HR manager? Obviously, the person with experience.

Now consider these two same individuals after being employed for 2 years as an HR manager. Who would you promote to director of the department? Obviously, the candidate with the experience and education. Same six years, sharper growth.

The key to this success is overcoming the frustration of the initial employment search for the perfect opportunity. That and of course the mounting student loan payments but that’s a topic for another blog entry. Once you realize that your career path will be smoother than those who decided to forgo the college experience you will find the return on your investment was well worth it.

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