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Virginia Tech offers new master’s degree and certificates in hospitality and tourism

June 2, 2016

Mahmood Khan at podium

Mahmood Khan at podium
Mahmood Khan presents about new business degree and certificate programs at the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors' spring meeting.

A record 20.2 million people visited Washington, D.C., in 2014, approximately 1.9 million of them from overseas. In 2015, the nation’s capital hosted 1,027 conventions, meetings, and trade shows that attracted nearly 1 million attendees and generated 945,972 hotel room nights.

The D.C. metro area is also home to a number of global headquarters for hospitality and tourism corporations and the national and international associations that represent them. 

“So what better place for students to delve into learning about the hospitality and tourism industry than our Northern Virginia campus,” said Nancy McGehee, professor and head of the Pamplin College of Business Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management. “In the National Capital Region, Virginia Tech has tremendous access to industry professionals with proven experience who, as  faculty and guest speakers, bring to the classroom real-time case studies as well as expertise in strategic thinking and leadership.”

Pamplin has launched a newly designed graduate program, the master of science in business administration, with a concentration in hospitality and tourism management, and three new certificate programs in the National Capital Region under the direction of Professor Mahmood Khan.

McGehee said the master’s program, designed to help students advance their professional career in hospitality and tourism management, was developed in close consultation with the college’s industry partners and the Hospitality and Tourism Management departmental advisory board, which includes executives from Hilton, Hyatt, Interstate, Crestline, La Salle, Great American Restaurants, Panera, and Marriott. The program can be completed in 13 to 15 months and is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

“Students will learn to bridge the gap between hospitality operations and hospitality investment in a program that emphasizes leadership development and team building across the curriculum,” said McGehee. “They will develop a thorough understanding of hospitality finance, human resources, revenue and asset management, strategy, and business analytics.”

Three nine-credit certificates are also being offered:

  • Entrepreneurship in Hospitality and Tourism Certificate: Often, new entrepreneurs have innovative ideas but lack the business skills to make them successful. This certificate will provide students with specific tools and skills required to engage in entrepreneurial activities in the area of hospitality and tourism management. It will help them create a business plan that includes the financial, human resource, and leadership components vital for success. The inclusion of a franchising course so that students can think beyond their initial start-up to the next step of becoming a franchise makes this unique. (Khan is a recognized expert in franchising.)
  • Hospitality and Tourism Analytics and Revenue Management Certificate: This graduate certificate will provide middle managers in the hospitality and tourism industry with tools and skills required to engage in high-level strategic thinking and analysis in the areas of revenue management and business analytics. It will provide specific methods to utilize information systems as tools for dynamic forecasting of supply and demand and maximize profits in hospitality and tourism management-related businesses. Skills gained will ultimately allow certificate holders to compete for upper-level managerial positions.
  • International Hospitality and Tourism Strategy Certificate: This certificate provides middle managers with  tools and skills required to prepare them to engage in high-level strategic thinking and analysis on a global scale. It will provide specific methods to utilize as part of their analysis and understanding of international markets and trends and ultimately allow them to compete for upper level managerial positions.

All of the courses are taught by industry executives with a strong focus on professional practice and case studies. They include: Gustavo Serbia, corporate director, Talent Acquisition, Crescent Hotels and Resorts, who has also had experience with Starwood and Mandarin Hotels in employee engagement and culture transformation; Joseph Klam, senior financial executive with 36 years of hospitality experience encompassing finance, operations, accounting, systems, and human resources initiatives in the U.S., Asia Pacific region, and throughout Europe; and Richard Farrar, Farrar Consulting Group, who spent more than 30 years as a strategist with Marriott International.

Students will also have the opportunity to visit corporate headquarters and engage with corporate guest speakers.

Applications for the master’s degree and certificates must be submitted via the Virginia Tech Graduate School online application portal. For more information, contact Mahmood Khan.  

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