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Hospitality and Tourism Leaders Share Their Perspectives on Industry Master’s Degrees

He got exceptional creative talents to boast

February 21, 2019

Pursuing a master’s degree is a major life decision, and one that has varying factors at play for each individual. For those in the fast-paced hospitality and tourism sector, it can be difficult to envision adding more to your plate on top of your career—but don’t let fear, doubt or complacency stop you. If you’re looking to grow both personally and professionally, the SDSU Master’s in Hospitality and Tourism Management can change your life. Here’s what industry leaders are saying about these programs and the overarching value of being a lifelong learner.

Michael Dominguez, Chief Sales Officer, MGM Resorts International
Michael Dominquez

“To succeed in this fast-changing world today requires all of us to be lifelong learners. Although some learning can be achieved through industry involvement, face to face meeting engagement and mentorship, the ability to participate in a graduate level education is not only an opportunity that will set you apart, but also one that I wish was available during the early part of my career.”

Vincent J. LaRuffa, Senior Vice President, Resort Marketing and Sales, Universal Orlando Resort – HTM Master’s Alum
Vince LaRuffa

“I had many years of experience in the hospitality sector, but the HTM experience helped me to approach my job with a new, broader perspective. The very nature of the program is based on the need to work closely with your classmates on a variety of projects, with frequent opportunities to share ideas and absorb the diverse knowledge that emanates from others who possess varied backgrounds and experiences. The course work enables you to approach familiar problems with a fresh set of eyes, having the benefit of the new knowledge you can bring to a challenging situation. The HTM experience as a whole gave me added confidence, which translates to a more grounded ability to make decisions decisively in the workplace.”


Annette Gregg, CMM, MBA, Regional Senior Vice President, PRA

“As someone who has been in the meetings and events industry for over 25 years, I’ve experienced an increased need to understand and articulate the business of meetings. From driving profitability for an event services company to making the case for an increased corporate meetings budget to propel company key performance indicators, a master’s in meetings and events can build your business acumen and help you become a senior executive in our industry.”

Brad Gessner, Senior Vice President, Convention Centers, AEG – HTM Master’s Alum
Brad Gessner

“As a member of HTM Master’s Cohort 1, I had already been in the business for 35 years. I have always been a lifelong learner, but I didn’t realize prior just how transformative the program would be. I had the opportunity to team up with a broad range of professionals in the industry—from restaurateurs to hoteliers to fellow executives—on projects in marketing, accounting and other areas I might have otherwise neglected. The depth and breadth of knowledge I was able to accumulate over the course of 18-months was invaluable. There isn’t a day that goes by where I’m not applying something I learned in the program.”



Are you looking to become a better leader and the best version of yourself? Learn more about the Hospitality and Tourism Management master’s program at SDSU. Want to learn more? Contact Candy Flynn, Program Coordinator, at 619-594-5110 or

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