To mark the latest evolution to our flagship MBA in Global Hospitality Management, we sat down with Dr Dimitrios Diamantis, our Dean of Graduate Studies, to find out why the program is evolving and what’s new for September 2020 students.
It was no less a figure than Mikhail Gorbachev who said, “If you are not moving forward, you are moving backward.”
These words ring especially true in the worlds of business and higher education. Even the most successful and powerful companies can suffer if they miss the evolutionary train – think Nokia – while educational programs must continually adapt to stay in tune with the needs of students and their future employers.
This process of constant evolution is one of the ways our flagship MBA in Global Hospitality Management has stayed on top of the pile since it was launched 16 years ago. And from September 2020, it will be changing again.
What’s new with our MBA?
The biggest update to the MBA curriculum is the addition of two specializations to the second semester (replacing the current elective courses). They are:
- Advanced Revenue and Performance Management
- Hospitality Entrepreneurship and Business Development
“These specializations will give our MBA students a little more clarity, and support, in determining their future career paths,” explains Dean of Graduate Studies, Dr Dimitrios Diamantis.
“Our MBA is designed to be transformative for people in their early careers”
“It takes what is already a very focused business degree and adds even more depth in terms of the professional skills the students will gain while they are on campus. We did a lot of research with students and industry partners to decide on which specializations to develop. These two areas shone out for all sorts of reasons.”
And this is important, given the professional/career focus of an MBA – something that sets it apart from the more ‘academic’ Master’s programs.
“A Master’s is an excellent way to complete your studies and to launch a career; but with an MBA the student will already have some professional experience. Our MBA is designed to be transformative for people in their early careers,” explains Dimitrios.
“It’s a commitment to come here to study full time for a year, but the evidence from our MBA alumni is that there’s a return on that investment in terms of career progression or entrepreneurial success.”
Why these specializations?
For Dimitrios, advanced knowledge of revenue management opens up a range of rewarding career avenues inside and outside ‘traditional’ hospitality. “Airlines, online booking platforms, events companies, cruise lines… they all deal with revenue models, and we increasingly see these sorts of businesses coming to recruit our students,” he says.
At the same time, having an entrepreneurship specialization recognizes the significant numbers (around 30%) of MBA students that have either come from family businesses or nurture their own entrepreneurial ambitions.
Aside from the new specializations, the course curriculum has been reshaped around three pillars: Leadership Skills (organizational and personal); Business Skills (e.g. marketing and finance); and Hospitality Skills.
“The emphasis with all three pillars is on soft skills development, because this is where we really benefit from all the extra face-to-face study time of an on-campus program, compared with a virtual MBA,” says Dimitrios.
“Things like interpersonal skills, presentation, interviewing and understanding the strategy behind a particular role – these are all things that can’t easily be taught online.”
Perhaps the most popular elements of the MBA are the study trips – one to Chicago, the other to Shanghai. In future, these will also carry credits, which will be earned by the students setting out their reflections on the trips, and in particular what they’ve gained in terms of leadership skills.
Consultancy Project goes from strength to strength
Another program highlight is the Consultancy Project, where MBA students get to work with real companies on real-world business challenges. In future these projects will be streamed within the two specializations, adding an extra layer of professional relevance.
Longer term, Dimitrios is hopeful that the MBA will ultimately achieve AMBA (Association of MBAs) accreditation, progress towards which is already underway. “These changes are a step along the accreditation path,” he says. “There are not many specialized hospitality business schools in AMBA, so it would be an additional seal of quality for our program.
“I’m really excited for the future of our MBA,” he adds. “This evolution underlines our commitment to the program and to the continued development of our graduate school. Over the past 16 years we’ve built a global alumni community of MBAs who are out there doing great things in the hospitality industry and beyond.
“The industry knows who we are and what we can do, so we’ll be able to connect our future MBA graduates to this community, to produce this quality we are aiming for.”