Careers in Hospitality and Tourism Management


The business travel that comes with globalization, along with increased demand for professionally planned meetings and events has contributed to growth in hospitality and tourism careers. Careers in the industry are expected the grow faster than average for all jobs through 2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Handbook.

Careers in the field include:

  • Catering manager
  • Food and beverage manager
  • Human resources at hotels, casinos and spas
  • Lodging manager
  • Casino manager
  • Cruise director
  • Sales manager
  • Tour manager and guide
  • Event and meeting planner
  • Restaurant and commercial food service
  • Attraction and amusement park manager
  • Customer service
  • Airline and other transportation management

NIU alumni can be found working in the following hospitality and tourism organizations:

  • Aramark
  • Disney World
  • Darden Restaurants
  • Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts
  • Hilton Hotels and Resorts
  • Intercontinental Hotels
  • Global Hyatt Corporation
  • Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises
  • Marriott International
  • MGM Hotels Las Vegas
  • Six Flags Great America
  • Rivers Casino
  • Harrah’s Casino
  • Expedia Inc.
  • Sodexo
  • Wyndam Hotels


To prepare you for career opportunities, you can take advantage of our extensive internship program. Internships can be tailored to your goals, and are available during the fall, spring and summer semesters. Each spring the school holds a Hospitality Recruitment Day. Hospitality companies visit campus to interview potential interns. Previous participants include Marriot Corporation, Global Hyatt, Darden Restaurants, Professional Sports Catering and Aramark. Internships have included working as a front agent, meeting and event coordinator and picnic supervisor.

Mentor Program

Hospitality and Tourism Management students learn through mentors in the industry who can also help you plot a career path and transition from academic life to the working world. Our mentorship program is offered during the fall semester. If you are selected through an application process, you will be paired with a professional mentor whose area matches your interests.

Learn more about our internship and mentor programs!

Featured Alumni

Petros Papatheofanis

Degree Year: 2011

Current Employer: Sable Kitchen & Bar, Kimpton Hotels and Restaurant

Title: General Manager

Petros graduated from Northern Illinois University in 2011 and currently working as the general manager in Sable Kitchen & Bar, a Kimpton restaurant in Chicago. He has many responsibilities: First and foremost it is to ensure that all employees are taken care of and guests are leaving happy. Other duties would include: working with PR and marketing teams to build strategies to increase revenue and market share, monthly meetings with ownership to review P&L and strategies to increase revenue, cost containment best practices, budgeting, forecasting, running a beverage program and many other smaller tasks.

His comment on the HTM program:

The education I got from NIU definitely helped set me up for my success in the professional world. FCNS 320, when we worked with teams to create a menu concept, cost out the menu and then run a live service was spot on to some of the things that I have done already in my career. Also, the internship program was monumental from a learning perspective and a networking one. I was able to meet other people in the industry and create my own network of industry professionals through that. The education at NIU had a great balance of hands on learning classes, and financially focused classes that better set you up to operating a restaurant.

Khalid Alkhayyat

Degree Year: 2007

Current Employer: Gulf International Bank

Title: Assistant Vice President and Research Manager

Khalid graduated from NIU in 2007 and currently is an assistant vice president and research manager in Gulf International Bank, Bahrain. His major job responsibilities include the design, execute, analyze and evaluate research activities; create and manage database for market and competitor information; ensure department is compliant with all regulatory and operational risk control requirements (including data protection).

His comment on the HTM program

The program trained me to be a researcher, powered me with lots of knowledge and very practical techniques, which still benefit me where I work now. The program created maximum opportunities for us to attend conferences, meet and make connections with the professionals in the industry. In addition, the location of the school is also perfect – relatively low living expenses to our international students, but very close to many big cities and thus, greater opportunities. The program outreaches to corporate recruiters [and] brings companies to campus for recruitment. Participating in these activities will allow you to discover what segment of the hospitality industry best suits you for a career position upon graduation.

Contact Us

Hospitality and Tourism Management

Lan Li
Professor and Area Coordinator

Family and Consumer Sciences
118 Wirtz Hall
DeKalb, IL 60115