By Alison Kanovsky, MMH ’18
Let’s get down to business—the reason why we are here: our classes. The fall semester is now in full swing and the Master of Management in Hospitality (MMH) students are in the midst of their first packed schedule of classes. Most students are taking 17–20 credits, which sounds daunting, but there is a big difference between undergraduate and graduate curriculum. We are picking classes that directly correlate to our futures. These are classes that interest us. Even the core classes that may not seem too relevant teach us imperative knowledge and skills we will need, which leads me to the subject of this post. My favorite MMH class so far is Properties Development and Planning.
Here’s the official core course description:
HADM 7510: Properties Development and Planning
In this overview of hospitality project development and planning—offered from the perspective of an owner and manager—you will learn about the role of the development team, feasibility studies, space programming, and construction management, as well as functional and design criteria for hotels and restaurants. Teams will prepare program documentation for a new hotel or restaurant or one undergoing major repositioning.
As someone interested in brand standards, I did not think this class would have much to offer me. I thought it would be all about real estate and hotel development. We are only a couple weeks in, and I can already tell you now, I WAS WRONG, and I am so glad I was. This class covers a lot of subjects, including brand standards. Our first assignment was to write a memo about a hotel brand. We picked a brand name out of a hat and wrote a research memo about its chain scale, country of origin, size, and target market. This assignment has been a staple of the class for some time now, slowly building a bank of brand memos.
As the class progresses, we are learning more and more about what it takes to open a hotel. At the start of the semester students are broken up into groups to begin the process of opening their hotels. My group, for example, is planning on opening a hotel in Austin, Texas. Groups are given real data on the city they choose, which is provided by STR Global. From there, groups are tasked with doing a market study and a preliminary feasibility study.
The content is amazing, but that is only one aspect of a “good” class. The other aspect is the quality of the professor. This class is taught by the animated, intelligent, and funny Professor Stephani Robson. And I am not saying this for brownie points or extra credit! I truly mean it. Professor Robson has the ability to keep our class engaged for the entire 75 minutes, which is not an easy task.
So, what is the point of me telling you all this? This is, after all, just one person’s opinion on one class that makes up three credits out of the 48 needed to graduate from this program. My point is this: start the classes in this program with an open mind! You might feel like a core class may not be helpful to you, but they are there for a reason. You never know what you will get out of it.
About the author:
Alison is an MMH student, Class of 2018, from Maryland. She started her career in hospitality at the age of 17 while working in a small sandwich shop in Washington D.C. Since then, she has expanded her experience to include country clubs and hotels, working in a variety of positions from server to human resources. She earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration from the University of Pittsburgh studying general management with a concentration in human resources and marketing. Prior to Cornell, she worked for the Westin Georgetown in D.C. as a catering and event management coordinator. She plans to pursue a self-directed concentration.