Hospitality School caters to industry with flexible, online MBA major

Catering to the round-the-clock work schedules of employees in the state’s largest industry, Florida State University’s College of Business will launch a new online Master of Business Administration major this fall in Hospitality and Tourism Management (MBA-HTM).

“The hospitality industry has a high demand for graduates with advanced analytical skills in accounting, finance and revenue management,” said Woody Kim, the Robert H. Dedman Professor of Hospitality Management and director of the new program. “We know emerging managers in the hospitality industry typically do not have the luxury of taking a career break or setting aside hours in the day or early evening for an on-campus program. That’s why we’ve created a flexible, online program that can be done on their schedule each week.”

Florida State’s new two-year program — six semesters long — builds on the first-rate reputation of the college’s Dedman School of Hospitality, which has been supplying managers for the hospitality industry for almost 70 years. Nearly half of the courses in the new MBA major’s curriculum are the same core courses all Florida State MBA students take, but students pursuing the new MBA major will round out their degree with required and elective courses tailored to the business challenges they will face in the hospitality and tourism industry.

According to the World Tourism Organization, tourism generates more than $2 billion per day around the globe. In the United States, tourism generates $654 billion in sales and provides $104.9 billion in federal, state, and local taxes. Specifically, the state of Florida employs nearly 1 million people and hosts more than 84 million visitors per year, generating $62 billion annually in visitor spending. Also, Florida’s hospitality industry is the largest employer in the state, producing $71.8 billion in sales and $4.3 billion in sales tax revenue — an amount equal to about one-fourth of Florida’s economy, according to the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association.

Several Dedman alumni went on to earn an MBA at Florida State and say doing so gave them a competitive advantage in their job search.

“I thought I would get an MBA as a backup plan. Little did I know it would allow me to get the first job I applied for after finishing the program,” said Mike Schuette, who first worked as a financial analyst for Golf Galaxy retailer and then as a golf professional in his home state of Minnesota before becoming the head golf professional at Riomar Country Club in Vero Beach, Fla.

After majoring in professional golf management for his bachelor’s degree at Florida State in 2006, Schuette opted to stay on campus another year and secure an MBA in 2007.

“MBAs in the hospitality industry are not very common,” Schuette said. “Each time I applied for an industry job I was the only candidate who had an MBA, and it mattered to those hiring.”

Prospective students interested in the new MBA major should apply by July 1 to be considered for the first cohort beginning the program this fall. More application and program information can be found on the college’s website,

Out-of-state students in the southeastern U.S. may qualify for Florida’s in-state tuition if their state does not offer a similar program. Learn more at the Academic Common Market’s website.

The college may waive the required GMAT/GRE entrance exam for industry professionals with outstanding qualifications, such as more than eight years of management experience with significant budgetary responsibility. Learn more at