Even with more hotels and more schools and courses, a degree from the Nepal Academy of Tourism and Hotel Management is still the top door opener for students of hotel management.
In the last few years, the hotel industry in Nepal has attracted more and more investment. Nepali entrepreneurs are opening new hotels, expanding existing ones and have partnered with several international hotel chains to bring new standards and quality to the sector. In turn, demand has risen for an efficiently trained and qualified hotel workforce. This surge in demand for human resources has resulted in academic programmes related to the hospitality sector becoming a lucrative option for many youths.
At present, there are many educational institutions teaching university level courses in hospitality management in Nepal. Nonetheless, the Nepal Academy of Tourism and Hotel Management (NATHM) has so far remained the first choice for Nepali students who look to pursue a career in the country’s tourism and hospitality industry.
Established in 1972, NATHM which is under the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Civil Aviation (MoTCA) and is affiliated to Tribhuvan University (TU), has various courses and specialisations in its portfolio. Started in 2011, the college’s Master of Hospitality Management (MHM) is still the country’s top university level programme. “We introduced the course observing the rising demand for skilled human resources in the hospitality sector,” says Krishna Kharel, principal of NATHM. “We are thinking of upgrading the MHM making it equivalent to an MBA degree,” he informs.
Sunita Dabadi, programme coordinator of MHM at NATHM says that the main objective of the programme is to produce a workforce equipped with the proper knowledge to take their organisations forward in the competitive hospitality business.
Kharel states that the MHM degree is the best choice for students who want to work in senior level posts at hospitality companies. “This academic course enables students to climb the corporate ladder in the hospitality sector,” he says. From front desk managers to senior supervisors and executives in different areas, the programme gives graduates the leverage to choose from a wide range of available positions in hotels. Likewise, principal Kharel also says that MHM graduates can become hotel entrepreneurs. “This course has been designed also to enhance the entrepreneurial skills of the students,” he mentions. Dawadi says that students can get global exposure after the completion of the course as the scope of the degree is globally focused.
Bright Employment Prospects
Binayak Shah, managing director of Airport Hotel sees a very encouraging outlook for skilled manpower in the industry. “There has been an almost 99 percent presence of domestic workers in the hospitality sector in the last 10 years,” says Shah who is also the General Secretary at Hotel Association Nepal (HAN). According to him, the hospitality sector is a global industry as it deals with international clients directly creating an impact on the country’s tourism. “It would be better for the overall sector if the college courses are more practical-oriented than theoretical,” he opines.
About MHM Course
The first semester includes Fundamentals of Tourism and Hospitality Management, Managerial Economics in Tourism and Hospitality Management, Strategic Management for Tourism and Hospitality Management, Organizational Behaviour in Tourism and Hospitality Management, Entrepreneurship in Tourism and Hospitality Industry and Statistics for Tourism and Hospitality. The second semester focuses on subjects like Financial Management in Tourism and Hospitality, Accommodation Operation Management, Food and Beverage Management, Travel and Tourism Management and Research Methodology. Similarly, students study Human Resource Management, Marketing in Tourism and Hospitality, Environment Management in Tourism and Hospitality, Managerial Accounting for Hospitality and Quality Management in Tourism and Hospitality in the third semester.
Meanwhile, the fourth semester comprises of Planning and Policy Analysis in Tourism and Hospitality, E-Commerce in Tourism and Hospitality, Rural Tourism Management (Elective)/ Event Management/ Property Management in Tourism and Hospitality Industry and Industrial Attachment and a thesis.
According to the college, NATHM will be updating the syllabus to match the current trends of the industry and TU has already given the go-ahead. “The updated course will be effective from next year,” informs Kharel.
In the meantime, the college is also working to make the MHM programme more practical- oriented. “There will be some amendments in the syllabus. We will focus on making the programme more research-oriented,” says Dawadi.
The programme is being taught by NATHM’s faculty members who have strong academic and professional backgrounds. “Our faculty members are committed and dedicated. We want more interaction between the faculty members and students, and that is why we conduct workshops,” says Kharel.
Graduates of Bachelor of Hotel Management (BHM) and Bachelor of Travel and Tourism Management (BTTM) who have acquired a CGPA 2.0 or minimum of second division are eligible for the programme. Similarly, graduates of other faculties can also apply for the course. But at least two years of work experience in the hospitality sector is required for those with degrees other than BHM and BTTM.
NATHM admits up to 40 students in one intake. That is why there is a high competition in gaining admission to this programme. “We receive over 100 applications in one intake,” mentions Dabadi.
According to the college, around 250 students have graduated and the college opens admissions in January/February once a year.
“MHM is a big boost for career development”
Soniya Lama is a fourth semester student of the MHM programme. She has been working as a management trainee at Soaltee Crown Plaza. “I was informed about the internship programme by the college management,” she says. “It is primarily due to my studies at NATHM and reputation of the college which helped me to get selected for the internship,” she adds.
Over the years, NATHM has established itself as a major Nepali educational institution in hospitality studies. The demand for NATHM products in Nepal is such that the domestic hospitality organisations constantly search for MHM graduates and are ready to recruit students of the college even while they are undergoing their studies. In the meantime, the college also partners with different companies for tie-ups and job placements for its graduates.
Many of its graduates are working abroad which has helped to spread the fame of NATHM internationally. “Our graduates have been working in top level positions in different travel, tourism and hospitality companies and institutions across various countries. Some have even been successfully operating their own ventures. This makes us proud,” expresses Dabadi.
The college conducts research programmes to develop the entrepreneurship skills of students. “We assign them with different tasks for the purpose to enhance their studies,” informs Dawadi. In the meantime, NATHM also organises educational excursions to help students gain knowledge about the different aspects of tourism. The college also invites senior experts from the sector as guest lecturers who share their real-life experiences and practical know-how with the students with their motivating speeches.
NATHM located at Rabi Bahwan, Kalimati runs MHM classes from 4pm to 7pm on a daily basis.
The total cost of MHM is Rs 300,000. “The programme’s fee structure is fairly nominal,” says principal Kharel. “NATHM is not a profit-oriented institution and we give our best to ensure students receive a quality education,” he adds.