January 9, 2019
A master’s degree in meeting and event management will equip you with the hard skills and knowledge to excel in your career, but the true value in joining San Diego State University’s newest graduate program runs much deeper. Beyond the industry-specific curriculum and flexible online coursework, we are leading, connecting and empowering a group of like-minded professionals. We call it a cohort, but it’s more like a tribe.
In a literary sense, a tribe is a social division linked by any combination of beliefs, goals, trades, etc. The idea of “finding your tribe” has become a popular philosophy among organizations that value human relationships and connection. Garry Ridge, President and CEO of WD-40, is known for adopting a tribe mentality into corporate culture and speaking passionately on the topic. Meanwhile, SDSU’s L. Robert Payne School of Hospitality and Tourism Management and Meeting Professionals International (MPI) are home to a fast-growing tribe for the meetings and events industry.
Small Cohort, Large Network
The Meeting and Event Management Master’s Program is designed for you to make both immediate and extended connections. During the 18-month program, your cohort will grow to become tight-knit. You will also cross paths with past cohorts and the SDSU Hospitality and Tourism Management (HTM) community as a whole. The first week of the Meeting and Event Management Master’s Program is hosted on campus and includes a networking event open to all current students and alumni.
Simultaneously, our alignment with MPI brings you into a global platform of Certified Meeting Managers, Certified Meeting Professionals, third party planners and other industry professionals. You can be a leader, listener and collaborator, all at once.
Hire Your Classmates
From crossing paths in coursework to recognizing the skills acquired to building rapport, classmates often wind up working together in business. It might be a small side gig, a new venture, or even a job opportunity.
After attending SDSU’s HTM Master’s Program, which served as the foundation for building the Meeting and Event Management Master’s Program, Tracy Judge hired fellow HTM alumna Mary King to her team at a leading travel management company as Director of Operations. During this partnership, the two shared each other’s expertise and input on various projects, including King’s Capstone Project in the HTM Master’s program. Judge has since moved on to start her own consulting and staffing business knowing her team was left in great hands.
“I find it inspiring to hire someone with the same educational background as myself. Having that academic baseline allows us to communicate much more efficiently and cohesively,” Judge said. “It’s the ‘tribe’ factor at play. I trust the person and know they share my values.”
Simply being enrolled at SDSU also opens up an entire pool of talent. Judge and King actively recruit from SDSU’s undergraduate HTM program and alumni base, and we have a half-dozen or more alumni officially partnering with the school to hire recent grads for positions with Marriott, Hyatt, Hilton and other household names in hospitality.
Meet a Mentor
Mentorship is a staple of the HTM and M&E programs. Between mentorship matching and organic relationship building, you have a safe space for seeking advice.
Adam Edelman, now Director of Operations at Hyatt Regency Austin, was mentored during the HTM Master’s Program by Robert Gleason, President and CEO of Evans Hotels and former HTM undergraduate professor. Gleason proved to be an insightful sounding board while Edelman was rapidly climbing the ranks with Hyatt. As mentorship goes, he told us that he, too, was benefitting from the discussions and applying Edelman’s takeaways from the master’s program to his own dealings.
Engage with Faculty
Our esteemed faculty members are accessible and serve as mentors as well, pulling from their backgrounds as the former Chairman and CEO of Burger King Corporation, former Senior Vice President of the Pepsi-Cola Company, former VP Finance & Analysis of Catalina Restaurant Group, former Director at SeaWorld San Diego and many other leadership positions with famous brands.
Trisha Blake, a member of the first HTM Master’s Cohort, sought Jeff Campbell, HTM Master’s Program Director, to serve as her mentor. Blake was able to evolve her career from being a managing partner at an advertising agency to launching and growing her own agency serving hospitality clients.
Those who find mentorship to be personally enriching will usually look to “pay it forward” and provide that same support to others. Tyler Martin, a member of HTM Master’s Cohort 1 and another Jeff Campbell mentee, has since mentored multiple students in our master’s program. Additionally, his ability to share and communicate his experience has translated into guest lecturing and, most recently, teaching in the Payne School undergraduate program.
It’s More Than a Master’s
You are considering joining a master’s program for your own career development—but what if we told you that doing so would make you part of an entire movement? The excitement surrounding the Meeting and Event Management Master’s Program stems from SDSU’s and MPI’s mission to elevate the status of the meeting and event