The School of Continuing Studies has launched a new master’s in hospitality management program to keep pace with the District of Columbia’s growing hospitality industry, including the highly anticipated Trump Hotel that will take over the former Old Post Office Pavilion in 2015.

The program, which is accepting applicants for fall 2014, was created in response to D.C.’s emerging hospitality industry, according to Interim Dean of the School of Continuing Studies Walter Rankin.

“There is a real industry need for leaders who have a mix of business, legal, and creative skills to bring real innovation to the global hospitality and tourism industry,” Rankin said. “We also identified this emerging field as one that fits ideally with our other programs in areas like real estate and urban and regional planning.”

According to data from the Department of Labor, the D.C. hospitality industry added 11,700 jobs from February 2012 to 2013. Rankin also said that Georgetown’s location in D.C. is ideal for teaching about hospitality.

“Many people don’t know this, but the Washington, D.C., metropolitan region is home to major international hotel and tourism companies,” Rankin said. “These include the global headquarters for Marriott, Hilton, Choice Hotels and Urgo. Additionally, students will have many opportunities for internships and externships in our local downtown neighborhood.”

The hospitality management program will be the tenth degree offered by the SCS and is already generating excitement among faculty.

“It is an exceptional blend of theory and practice and will be taught by an amazing cadre of faculty,” SCS Senior Associate Dean Christopher Metzler said.

According to Metzler, the program will focus on the international market and emphasize practical training and experience.

“This program, through classes and internships, gives students the opportunity to gain knowledge and apply it right away,” Metzler said. “The program has tremendous potential to bridge the gap between academia and industry, is highly interactive, and will define standards of hospitality and management and service for generations to come.”

The degree will also emphasize the growing role that technology has played in the hospitality and tourism industry.

“Today, for example, hotel guests expect to be able to check-in from their mobile devices, charge food and drinks to their key card and receive loyalty discounts via email,” Rankin said. “We think the next generation of hospitality industry leaders will need to be technology-savvy and use innovation as a driving force behind their work.”

The SCS is currently in the process of appointing the program’s executive director, who will spend the following nine months constructing course curriculum and hiring experts in the hospitality and management industry as faculty.

“We are looking for a creative leader who knows the industry,” Metzler said. “One who is both a visionary and an executor. One who values students and can create a globally outstanding program.”

Christian Fernando (SFS ’17), was not surprised by the major, given D.C.’s booming tourist industry.

“Washington, D.C., is definitely a hub of tourist activity, because it has so many interesting museums and there are things like the Washington Monument, the Capitol, and the White House. People either from other states or from around the world, who come to the United States, want to see these tourist destinations,” Fernando said.

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