By Alyssa Rupp —

Beginning in the fall of 2015, University of Wisconsin–Stout students will have the opportunity to experience something that no one else in the world has ever experienced. A new Master of Science degree in Hospitality Strategy will give students access to a one-of-a-kind curriculum.

Dr. Eric Brey, the new program’s director, stresses the unique opportunity for students to gain new perspectives in the world of consumer hospitality.

“It’s the only degree like this in the world, no one’s done this before, and so the idea is that no one else is looking at a very specific industry,” he said. With connections to executives and Ph.D’s around the world, Brey is able to facilitate a program that incorporates several different perspectives and encourages engagement in the industry.

Brey is looking for working professionals that have some form of experience in the area of hospitality. The program material will launch those with pre-existing knowledge of the industry into a leadership role essential to the rapidly changing strategic workflow.

“Everyone is going to take their hands-on knowledge and turn that into strategic leadership,” Brey explains.

Four main topic areas are built into the program’s courses: strategic thinking, customer intelligence, value optimization and service innovation. “When people think hospitality they think food and beverage, they think logic, but that’s not what this degree is about. It’s all about taking the knowledge that people already have and turning it into a much wider view,” explained Brey.

More specifically, one can expect a lineup of 10 courses total with a four-day introductory, educational trip to Chicago. Some of the classes are even available to graduate students from other programs and can include things like data interpretation, consumer strategy and hospitality customer value analysis.

The content, Brey says, “Is innovative to Stout because this is what other top-tier business schools are already doing and it gives students a chance to think.”

With a specific learning environment in mind, the classes will be taught online, and the topics will be covered one at a time.

“Each class is seven weeks on, two or three weeks off, which lets students focus on one thing at a time. The idea is that you hit one topic really hard, get it done, take a break and do it again,” Brey said.

However, don’t let the simplified structure mislead you. The content is rigorous and prior knowledge is critical to be able to comprehend and communicate with the language of the industry.

“You’ve got to be sharp, although there are no year [grade] requirements [to be accepted into the program],” Brey said. “The language we are going to use is the language of industry, so without that prior experience, it would be like a foreign tongue.”

Participants involved in the program will face a tough challenge, but one that will benefit a unique and highly-qualified career.

For more information on specific entrance requirements or course content, visit Stout’s website and look for M.S. in Hospitality Strategy under the “Graduate Majors” tab. Any additional questions can be directed to Program Director Eric Brey and the School of Hospitality Leadership.


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