From October 2020, our industry-leading MBA program will give students a choice between two new specializations. We got some early insight into the revenue and performance management specialization, from Senior Lecturer and Program Manager, Frank Gueuning.
How to make the best even better?
This was the challenge facing the academic team behind our MBA in Global Hospitality Management – already the only full-time MBA taught in a global Top 3 hospitality business school; and a program that for the past 16 years has built a reputation within the industry as a finishing school for top talents.
The answer is a subtle evolution of the course curriculum, together with a headline change: the addition of two new specializations to act as the culmination of the second semester.
Specialization one focuses on entrepreneurship and business development, a move perfectly aligned with our ambitions to fully reconnect with our entrepreneurial roots (and watch out for more details on this specialization soon).
Specialization two is focused on advanced revenue and performance management. So that means staring at lots of spreadsheets, right? Wrong. To do so would mean MBA students missing out on the opportunity to lead a revolution in hospitality, according to Senior Lecturer Frank Gueuning, who heads the new specialization.
Earn your place at the top table
“Although the concept of revenue management only began in the 1980s, it has become absolutely essential to the hospitality business,” Frank says. “The revenue manager is pretty much the number two position in a hotel right now, behind only the General Manager (GM).”
And Frank should know, since before entering the academic world he enjoyed an exceptional career in hospitality, including some 18 years in hotel GM positions. These ranged from boutique properties to 5* international resorts, such as the 257 rooms and suites Hotel JAL Fujairah Resort & Spa (now Radisson Blu Resort).
For Frank, the added value of his specialization will be its focus on “next generation” revenue managers. His shorthand for this philosophy is “see, look, watch”.
“What I mean by this is that revenue managers now have so much power within the organization they can afford to look up from their spreadsheets and forecasts, and actually get out into the hotel, assessing every part of the customer-facing operation with a critical eye,” he says.
“The most valuable revenue managers of the future will be the ones who bring ideas – not just numbers – to the table”
“For example, you walk through the lobby, and you should be asking yourself: is this area doing everything it can to maximize the revenue capture from my clientele? Once you can start thinking like this, the role of revenue manager takes on even more value, way beyond forecasting, pricing and distribution channels.
“The most valuable revenue managers of the future will be the ones who bring ideas – not just numbers – to the table. And rest assured that those ideas will be listened to. I know from my own experience as a hotel GM that if you mention revenue in an executive meeting, everyone perks up.”
Such an evolution offers tremendous potential for the future revenue manager; allowing him or her to forge the link between disciplines such as asset management, interior design and even consumer psychology. As an example, Frank points to the way that many airports have now been reconfigured so that departing passengers must snake their way through bazaar-style duty free ‘corridors’, facing temptation at every turn.
“It’s about designing spaces where every square meter is revenue generating. And this is especially relevant to the 21st century hotel, where so many alternative uses – including things like coworking spaces – are opening up. It’s really the perfect time to get into the revenue management discipline and take it to the next level.”
Keeping a focus on the essentials
While having an eye on the future, the MBA specialization will naturally cover all the essential components of the revenue manager’s current toolbox. These are, after all, the students’ ticket to entry into the role.
And the two specializations will also incorporate the Consultancy Project, which has become an essential – and highly popular – component of the MBA curriculum. Real-world projects that are relevant to each specialization will be selected, under the guidance of Senior Lecturer and Consultancy Project leader Bilal Hassan (watch out for an interview with Bilal in the coming weeks).
As he works on the detail of the curriculum (the specialization launches in semester 2 of the October 2020 MBA program), Frank adds that he will be taking soundings from the industry to ensure the teaching is completely on point.
“Our output is the employer; and if you speak to hotel GMs, they want employable graduates who will add value to their businesses. If you add value, they’ll take you,” he concludes.
· To find out more about the evolution of our MBA program, check out this interview with Dean of Graduate Studies, Dr Dimitrios Diamantis