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5 Ways a Master’s Degree in Meeting and Event Management Will Boost Your Career

October 11, 2018

Meeting Professionals International (MPI) and the San Diego State University (SDSU) L. Robert Payne School of Hospitality and Tourism Management are introducing the first master’s degree tailored to the meetings and events industry. The program is grabbing the attention of Certified Meeting Managers and Meeting Professionals, corporate planners, third party planners and those in other relevant fields such as group sales, convention services and destination management. 

No matter where you’re based and where you stand in your career, a master’s degree in meeting and event management can empower you to:  

1. Broaden Your Knowledge

The meetings industry is at a critical juncture—an intersection of innovation, big data, brand experience and the always-present human element. It takes a versatile leader and critical thinker to excel in this space. With a curriculum encompassing strategic leadership, stakeholder management, finance, analytics and more, that’s exactly who you will be by the end of this 18-month journey.  

“As someone who went into SDSU’s Hospitality and Tourism Management (HTM) Master’s Program with plenty of practical business experience, I found I was able to branch my learning into other, equally important aspects of the industry,” said Vince LaRuffa, Senior Vice President of Resort Sales and Marketing at Universal Orlando Resort. “The Meeting and Event Management Master’s Program is the genesis of a partnership between MPI and SDSU, built on many of the same proven principles that have made the HTM Master’s so useful to managers and leaders at all levels.” 

2. Sharpen Your Acumen

LaRuffa, a 2014 HTM Master’s alumnus who previously served on the MPI Foundation’s Board of Trustees (including two years as Chairman) and the MPI International Board of Directors, believes the Meeting and Event Management Master’s Program will help planners communicate more effectively and confidently with the C-Suite. 

“You have incredibly qualified professors and guest lecturers,” LaRuffa said, also noting the networking value of being in a small cohort. “The insight you gain is immediately applicable to how you approach situations and challenges in a business environment—and the people you learn from naturally become your colleagues, mentors and friends.” 

3. Evolve into a Strategist

Do you want to be confined to the same role and routine your entire life, or do you want to continue to grow, set goals and take your career to the next level? The Meeting and Event Management Master’s Program is designed to position you as a business event strategist. 

“It has always been a challenge for meeting and event professionals to capture the data needed to show not only ROI, but also ROE (Return on Experience),” said HTM Master’s alumna, Tracy Judge. “This program will equip you with the tools and skills to capture meaningful data and personify it.” 

4. Articulate Your Value

Judge held management positions across various facets of the meetings industry prior to starting her consulting and staffing company, Soundings Connect. She attributes much of her entrepreneurial spirit and success to the confidence she gained from a leadership-driven master’s program. 

 “Learning how to manage stakeholders both internally and externally is an absolute game-changer,” she said. “I’m extremely excited for the launch of the Meeting and Event Management Master’s because we will begin to see a shift in the role of the planner from simply arranging and executing to communicating, measuring and communicating again. It’s time for planners to get on the same wavelength and speak the same language as executives.” 

LaRuffa echoed Judge’s sentiment, adding, “It’s important for the C-suite to understand the transformative power of an event. Who better to articulate the strategic input and valuable output than the planner themselves?” 

5. Advance Your Profession

When we meet, we change the world. While a master’s degree in meeting and event management is certainly an individual accolade, the greater purpose of MPI’s partnership with SDSU is to elevate the status of the meeting and event professional. 

Complete the coursework online, meet with faculty and cohort members during two on-campus weeks (one in the beginning of the program and one at the end) in sunny San Diego, and shape the future of meeting and event planning—all while earning an ultra-relevant master’s degree. Learn more about the first master’s degree in meeting and event management. 

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