New Programs and Certificates Enhance Educational Opportunities for Aspiring Hospitality Professionals at All Levels

Union Club Hotel
A board room at the Union Club Hotel

This month, several organizations announced new educational programs and certificates to advance hospitality careers at all levels, from aspiring students to seasoned executives. The NYU School of Professional Studies launched a new Executive Education program that will serve the needs of aspiring executives as well as those already in the C-suite; White Lodging introduced its LAUNCH Hospitality immersion program for Purdue University students; and HFTP Academy debuted its Hospitality Benchmarking Certificate in collaboration with HotStats and powered by Ascend. More information on each of these programs is below.

The NYU School of Professional Studies Launches Executive Education Program

The NYU School of Professional Studies (NYU SPS), recently launched a new Executive Education program that will serve the needs of aspiring executives as well as those already in the C-suite.

Members of the NYU SPS senior leadership team—all prominent faculty members in their respective fields and industry executives—have strived to develop executive-level programs that will leverage the school’s industry knowledge and connections in the areas of commercial real estate, critical business functions, global hospitality management, sport management, and global affairs to offer executives and those who aspire to ascend to the upper echelons of their industry with the knowledge and skills to compete and succeed.

NYU SPS Executive Education has enlisted the expertise of NYU SPS faculty members and renowned industry experts to design and teach executive education course content that will provide immediately applicable skills for individuals who participate in the programs as well as organizations that choose to enroll cohorts of mid- and senior-level executives. These programs empower individuals and organizations to excel in and to transform their competitive environment, delivering impact at every level.


This spring, inaugural course offerings include: Business Resiliency in Challenging Times, Strategic Persuasion for Executives, and Building and Leading a Diverse Real Estate Firm. Fall 2021 offerings will include: Creating a High-Impact Hospitality Sales Strategy and Organization to Drive Growth; Hospitality Distribution Channel Management: Optimizing the Consumer Experience; and a Strategic Leadership Program Intensive.

NYU SPS Executive Education also will provide tailored educational programs for corporate/organizational clients. These offerings can be designed to accommodate specific learning goals of senior leaders, such as entrepreneurial thinking and innovation, sustainability, or inclusive leadership. The custom programs team also can design professional education certificates that are powered by digital learning solutions. These offerings can be scaled for company-wide consumption, allowing for accessible and flexible learning at all levels of the organization.

White Lodging Introduces LAUNCH Hospitality Immersion Program

White Lodging’s LAUNCH Hospitality Immersion Program is designed to propel high-caliber university students into the industry by providing paid, hands-on experiences across all hotel and restaurant operational areas.

Using the recently transformed, 182-room Union Club Hotel on Purdue’s campus as its real-life laboratory, LAUNCH is phased in over three stages and complements classroom education with skill mastery and leadership training. The goal of LAUNCH is to ultimately help accelerate participants’ hospitality careers upon graduation—at White Lodging and across the industry.

“We are serious about building the future leaders of our industry and designed LAUNCH to be a competitive, world-class opportunity,” said Ken Barrett, president of White Lodging. “LAUNCH participants will achieve the critical skills and training—complementing Purdue’s School of Hospitality and Tourism Management’s globally recognized curriculum—to secure the best possible careers after graduation.”

Each stage of LAUNCH is supported with a designated mentor relationship and builds on the learnings and experiences of each previous stage, ultimately culminating in a comprehensive manager-in-training program.

“LAUNCH participants who take advantage of all of the program components will essentially have nearly three years of experience when they graduate,” said Vicki Wicks, general manager at the Union Club Hotel and one of the program’s mentors.

“The School of Hospitality and Tourism Management’s mission is to develop future leaders through rigorous learning programs of which experiential learning is a core component,” said Susan Gordon, PhD, MBA, an assistant professor in Purdue’s HTM program. “LAUNCH is an exciting opportunity that will provide participants with invaluable experience as they prepare to assume leadership roles upon graduation.”

A pilot program kicked off this semester with the first official LAUNCH participants planned for Fall 2021. Applications are now being accepted. During the third stage of the program, participants are evaluated for full-time, leader-level employment at one of White Lodging’s properties or restaurants based on availability. If a position is not available at White Lodging, the company will assist in finding other full-time industry employment.

HFTP Academy Debuts Hospitality Benchmarking Certificate

Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP) has introduced a new professional course from its HFTP Academy: the Hospitality Benchmarking Certificate, which demonstrates expertise in financial analysis and benchmarking. The course is a collaboration with the hotel benchmarking firm HotStats and will be supported by Ascend, a hospitality talent development company. The certificate is delivered as a comprehensive course available to all, with no previous experience required.

“HFTP continually strives to provide its members and the industry the tools to demonstrate expertise and progress professionally. Now with the addition of the new Benchmarking certificate, our catalog grows with another important financial skill set,” said HFTP Deputy CEO Thomas Atzenhofer, CPA. “Developing and offering the certificates are a definitive way for hospitality professionals to prove to their employers their ease with important managerial skills to help navigate a company’s financial strategy.”

The course emphasis will be to connect how benchmarking is essential for any profitability tool chest. The program is organized to explain the concepts and provide practical application to incorporate them into daily, weekly, or monthly analysis. A special feature is that HotStats is collaborating with HFTP and Ascend to add some real-world examples of applications. Using fictional hotels, but actual data, reporting examples will be incorporated to allow for immediate application of new skills within an organization.

“Ascend’s focus is to provide quality professional development with an immediate ROI to the learner and their organizations,” said Ascend Co-Principals Arlene Ramirez, CHAE, CHE, CHIA, CAHTA, and Agnes DeFranco Ed.D. CHAE, CHE, CHIA, CAHTA. “We are honored to once again partner with HFTP and now HotStats, an industry leader in the benchmarking space, on this new hospitality certificate.”

“Operational benchmarking plays a prominent role within a hotel’s overall financial analysis toolkit, particularly amid these precarious times,” said Pablo Alonso, CEO of HotStats. “It allows hoteliers to measure asset performance across an array of key performance indicators covering revenue, expense, and profit, allowing them to identify areas of underperformance and outperformance. HotStats is thrilled to be partnering with the HFTP and Ascend to develop and deliver a benchmarking course that will not only aid hotels in the recovery but have a lasting presence in the everlasting pursuit of driving bottom-line growth.”


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