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The hospitality industry, and specifically the hotel sector, is rapidly changing into a world built by investors as much as service professionals. This evolution is creating new career opportunities, as demand from trusts, funds and asset management teams for talented, analytical individuals continues to grow.

To help the hospitality industry meet this need and to give professionals the skills required, Glion has launched the new Master’s in Finance, Real Estate and Hotel Development. We spoke to Mazen Dabaghi, Glion alumnus and Research Analyst, Development Planning & Feasibility at Marriott International, to gain an insight into the education the first intake of students can expect in September 2019.

You have a Bachelor’s degree from Glion, specialized in hotel development and finance. How did you get interested in this field?

“I originally joined Glion interested in the operational side of the hospitality industry, especially the F&B department. As the semesters went on, (after taking courses such as statistics, revenue management, etc.) my interest shifted towards the numerical and financial side of the industry. So when Glion announced that they would be rolling out a new hotel development and finance specialization, I felt that it was the obvious path to take, as I also felt that the specialization opened a wide choice of career opportunities upon graduation.”

After graduating you got the position of Research Analyst, Development Planning and Feasibility at Marriott International. Tell us how you got this opportunity and what your current responsibilities are.

“I found the job opening on Marriott’s careers website, this led to several phone interviews and then a final one in person at the London headquarters. I felt that my internships and my time at Glion prepared me for the job, and I got a job offer once the interview process was over.”

“My main responsibility is to do feasibility studies for the franchise projects that Marriott has in Europe. This includes: doing market research, evaluating current hotel performances, looking at hotel openings, etc.”

During the specialization, you were taught by an industry expert, Jonathan Humphries: tell us about his teaching and your learning experience.

“The classes were very interactive, we had exposure to five different courses throughout the semester, including Asset Management and Global Resort Development, we even had a trip to Amsterdam to get insights from the latest market concepts and developments.”

“Jonathan Humphries is very passionate and involved in the specialization, he tailored this course to match the students’ needs. He would also invite other industry experts, and they would all share with us their knowledge and experiences and this made things even more interesting.”

What is the main skill that this specialization taught you? Did it prepare you well for your current role?

“The specialization was held during one semester, and gave us a great general overview on all subjects related to hotel development and finance. Learning how to do research, reading hotel financial statements and KPIs, understanding the different views of hotel owners, operators, etc, were some of the many skills that we learned during the specialization. This for sure helped me in my current role.”

Glion has just launched a new Master’s in Finance, Real Estate and Hotel Development. Do you think that this kind of program is currently needed in the industry?

Investors and real estate owners are becoming increasingly interested in the benefits that a hotel investment can bring. This can be seen today with the record number of hotels opening every year, and this is creating many career opportunities, whether it is with owners, operators or third party consultancy companies.”

Give us your opinion on this program.

“The Master program looks great, it is offering interesting learning subjects, exposure to industry leaders, and field trips to the top touristic cities of Amsterdam and Dubai. The Master also includes a six-month internship, which gives students the opportunity to apply what they have learnt in class. Receiving certificates from recognized companies such as HVS and STR is also an additional bonus.”

Thank you to Mazen for sharing his experience of the hotel development and finance expertise available at Glion, and for his opinion on the industry-relevance of the new Master’s in Finance, Real Estate and Hotel Development.

For more information about the course, you can read our program introduction, and you can discover the inspiration and faculty behind the Master’s in our interview with Senior Lecturer and Head of International Hotel Development, Jonathan Humphries.

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About the author

Glion Institute of Higher Education
Glion Institute of Higher Education is a private Swiss institution offering bachelor’s and master’s degrees in hospitality, luxury and event management to an international student body across three campuses in Switzerland and London, UK.
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