Meeting planners can now earn a master’s degree in meeting and event management thanks to a new partnership between Meetings Professionals International (MPI) and San Diego State University’s (SDSU) L. Robert Payne School of Hospitality and Tourism Management (HTM).
Launching this year, the graduate-level program is the first of its kind in the U.S. and is designed to “elevate meeting professionals to business event strategists,” according to MPI’s website. The program will offer experiential learning, simulations and industry partner mentoring, and be taught by faculty who have worked in the meeting and event industry. Better yet, the program is available online, so meeting planners can continue their professional life outside of San Diego. However, it does include some face-to-face, with one week on campus at the beginning of the 18-month-long program and one at the end.
“It is about time that this profession is recognized as needing high-level knowledge, skills and abilities taught in an academically rigorous and relevant manner at the graduate level,” says Carl Winston, director of SDSU’s School of HTM. “This master’s degree will assist mid- to senior-level professionals in developing their skills while still employed, benefitting both themselves and their organizations.”
The program was created to keep up with the fast pace of the industry, as a result of deeper analytics and more powerful tools that make it so meeting planners can evolve and excel. The key? For meeting planners to learn how to create and communicate value to the many stakeholders involved as well as earn the respect of business execs.
In addition to the master’s program, MPI and SDSU also plan to develop a similar academic certificate program for non-traditional students.