September 11, 2014

LRA Worldwide showcases the power of an SHA education

Where will an SHA degree take you?
For many students, a degree from the School of Hotel Administration is about hospitality operations, as it’s always been. For others, it’s a gateway to a wide array of possible business careers.

Counting among its staff of 300 a number of SHA alums in leadership positions – notably its co-founder, president, and CEO, Rob Rush ’77 – LRA Worldwide is a case study in both the practical value of an SHA education, and the doors it opens to a world of professional opportunity.

LRA Worldwide started in 1980 as Lashner, Rush & Associates, a research, consulting, and auditing firm striving to be “the best at helping great companies and brands measure and deliver exceptionally satisfying customer experiences,” according to Rush. “We look for a hospitality DNA, this common element that infuses different brands and experiences.”

LRA has grown internationally in the past decade, now boasting offices in Austria and Singapore in addition to corporate headquarters near Philadelphia, PA, hometown for both Rush and co-founder/COO Stan Lashner.

We sat down with Rush and several fellow SHA alums on his team, all of whom echoed a common theme, regardless of the path each has taken to get where (s)he is now: the SHA experience is a rock-solid foundation upon which to build a business career.

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September 4, 2014

New course teaches students to keep up with technology

On the first day of class, students in HADM 4180: Technology for Bootstrapped Entrepreneurship write down every technology system they use at least weekly. Blackboard. Microsoft Office. Email. Google Docs. CULibrary. Text messages. YouTube. Facebook. LinkedIn. Twitter. Snapchat. The list gets long quickly.

The point? “I challenge them to think about what being a ‘techie’ means. Today all students are ‘techies.’ It isn’t about whether they can create code. They leverage technology every day to be successful in their educational journey at Cornell,” said course instructor Mona Anita K. Olsen ’04, visiting assistant professor and assistant academic director of the Leland C. and Mary M. Pillsbury Institute for Hospitality Entrepreneurship.

Technology is everywhere—from major hotel corporations to start-up ventures—and the systems are constantly changing. Technology is also driving innovation through new platforms, like AirBnB, that are shaking up the industry. Since most students in HADM 4180 plan to launch their own companies, they need to have a clear understanding of this ever-evolving world.

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