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MIT offers free hospitality courses online

If you’re looking to further your education in the hospitality industry, you’re spoilt for choice these days. The travel and tourism industry employs 266 million people across the world, according to an industry report. So it’s not surprising that there are a myriad of universities offering a wide range of hospitality courses on management, both credited and non-credited.

However, committing to a credited degree takes time and financial investment. A full-time bachelor’s degree in hospitality management at a US university could set you back tens of thousands of dollars and it would be usually be a four-year commitment. It’s a smart idea to investigate ways to enhance knowledge and skills in one’s industry of choice, but not everyone can afford the time or the cost of doing a full-time programme.

Some of the world’s top universities offer a plethora of courses online for free, a fantastic resource to draw upon. In the field of hospitality management, there are many educational institutions that have shared their course material to users everywhere, gratis. And you’d be surprised at some of the names that make up this list, from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Stanford University to Cornell University.

MIT is one of the most prestigious universities in the world, with a long list of notable alumni including former chairman of the US Federal Reserve Ben Bernanke, former Secretary General of the United Nations Kofi Annan and astronaut Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin.

MIT’s Sloan School of Management, a top-ranking business school, offers  free access to graduate course material online via its website. This is an excellent source (non-credited) for information about service management and includes recommended readings, lecture notes and course materials.

Some relevant courses for those in the hospitality industry include “Advanced managerial communication,” “Management of services: Concepts, design, and delivery” and “Management of supply networks for products and services.”


Advanced managerial communication

This course  is all about building on basic oral and written managerial communication skills. It introduces interactive oral and interpersonal communication skills important to managers, including presenting to a hostile audience, running meetings, listening, and contributing to group decision-making.

Although the actual course is highly interactive and is mainly based on team projects and practicing effective presentation, the reading list is excellent as it steers you in the right direction in virtually all sub-sections of communication, be it crisis management or handling hostility. The lecture notes, downloadable for free, covers key areas of communication including leadership communication, and creating and maintaining effective teams.


Management of services: Concepts, design and delivery

This course takes an operations point of view to look at companies and industries in the service sector. It is primarily case based and includes cases from industries and sectors such as retailing, government, healthcare, financial services, internet services, entertainment and  hospitality.

Lecture notes are provided for topics such as service operations frameworks and supply chain systems, while there are also sample papers available which allow readers to get a glimpse into some case work for this course.

The reading list is extensive, with interesting and relevant topics such as the role of an employee in service operations (suggested reading is a Harvard Business Review title called “My Week as a Room-Service Waiter at the Ritz”) and web services, cloud computing and digital media.


Management of supply networks for products and services

This course covers organisational, strategic and operational aspects of managing supply networks (SN) from domestic and international perspectives. Topics include alternative SN structures, strategic alliances, design of delivery systems and the role of third-party logistics providers.

This particular course provides a very long and comprehensive list of lecture notes, including topics such as logistics, matching supply and demand, supply chain management and customer satisfaction.

Professor Gabriel Bitran also uploaded study materials on key topics to assist students in their studies. Papers included in this list include “Matching supply and demand in the service industry” and “Roadmap for service excellence.”


MIT OpenCourseWare

MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW) is a web-based publication of virtually all MIT course content, which is open and available to the world. Through its website, MIT provides course materials from 2,340 courses and is visited by over 2 million people every month. OCW content allows visitors to explore areas outside their professional field, review concepts of within their field and keep current with the changes in their industry. Since its inception 15 years ago, the website has had about 200 million visits by educators, students and self learners throughout the world. Maybe it’s time you gave it a go?


Digital marketing strategist and co-founder of Chatobook. He consults client in digital marketing and business strategies. A poker expert if he can maintain his poker face.

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