MBA-h hits Hospitality Industry News

Posted: Friday, October 18th 2013 at 1:19 PM

Innovative MBA Program Tailored for Hospitality Managers

By Jonathan Springston, AAHOA Lodging Business

The W.A. Franke College of Business at Northern Arizona University (NAU) announced earlier this month the launch of its new, limited-residency Master of Business Administration – Applied Management for Hospitality Professionals (MBA-h), a course track that administrators describe as “the only degree of its kind.”

“It is an MBA program as opposed to an MM or an MHA, as well as being for working professionals ,” Kelli Westerdahl, senior program administrator for the MBA-h track, said. “We have the...blended format of both online and in-person instruction.”

The two-year hybrid program is designed specifically for experienced hospitality managers. MBA-h candidates must have a bachelor's degree from an accredited university; a minimum of seven years of post-undergraduate work experience in hospitality or a related field; at least five years of mid-level or higher management experience; and proven leadership ability.

Once enrolled, students will participate in online coursework and quarterly residencies spanning three to six days in either Flagstaff or Phoenix. Through this program, administrators believe students will be able to “improve their marketability” as they seek to climb higher in the industry.

“Education gives you a foundation,” John Cauvin, MBA-h program director, said. “It teaches you how to organize your thoughts, how to plan. For someone who is looking to move up, it's giving them a higher level of self-esteem and self-confidence. In our program, they will be able to network with their colleagues in the program and learn from each other at the same time.”

Where other programs are quite costly and require candidates to leave work for one year, the NAU program costs less and allows students to continue working while earning the degree. The program's required 28 days in residency are spread across two years, providing much more flexibility.

Professors will utilize curriculum tailored to the hospitality industry, utilizing real-life case studies and examples.

The NAU business school has the rare honor of being accredited by The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB-International), a distinction Westerdahl said only applies to 5 percent of business schools in the entire world.

“NAU has 20,000 students on campus. The business school has over 3,000 students, including 900 in the hotel-restaurant management school,” Cauvin said. “Our goal is to [utilize] the MBA-h program to put NAU on the map. The graduates have a lot of potential here in the west.”


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