FIU Offering New Online Master’s Degree With ‘Mega Events’ Specialization

Florida International University has added a new online master’s program aimed at tackling the ever-growing trend of mega events.

Look across the Sunshine State and there’s no shortage of shows, conventions or festivals that draw in 10,000-plus event-goers. Those massive events don’t run themselves. That’s where FIU’s Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management is stepping in.

The nationally ranked program is now offering a first-of-its-kind, fully-online master’s degree in hospitality management with a specialization in mega events.

“We offer something unique,” said Dan Cormany, assistant professor of meeting, trade show and event management for the Chaplin School. “We created the degree for two reasons: it’s not offered anywhere else, and there is a great need for education.”

According to FIU, event sizes have grown over 22 percent in the last decade. The school credits advances in technology and the multilayered experience these events provide as the driving force behind the unprecedented growth. 

“There’s a lot that goes into mega events from coordinating personnel, volunteers and risk management to sponsorships, money and safety,” Cormany said. “Planners today also have to carefully consider the feasibility of a mega event, logistics and infrastructure capacity as well as technology.”

Cormany believes the toughest aspect of mega events management is security. 

“After Las Vegas, everyone did a hard swallow and said, ‘We need to figure out how to do this better,’” Cormany said. “This program addresses the gap between event planning and preparations.”

The goal of the new 12-month program is to build upon the hospitality experience the students already have with master’s-level courses focused on: 

  • Concerts

  • Conventions

  • Festivals

  • Sports

  • Trade Shows

Mega events routinely attract tens of thousands of attendees, so the personnel in charge of managing them need the best possible training to have them run without a hitch. 

“We’re providing students with skills and knowledge from industry professionals who will teach from experience – they’ve been doing this for 15 to 20 years – so it’s not just teaching from a textbook,” Cormany said.

South Florida is a hotbed of mega events activity, which helps FIU students get hands-on experience. For example, every year thousands of students work the Food Network & Cooking Channel South Beach Wine & Food Festival which draws more than 60,000 guests. 

Despite being an online program, hospitality students can rest easy knowing the Chaplin School has numerous partnerships with organizations around the world that can provide firsthand experience through volunteer and paid opportunities.

There are a total of 11 courses worth three credits apiece:

  • Financial Management

  • Globalization and Competitive Methods of Multinational Hospitality Companies

  • Hospitality Enterprise Technology

  • Hospitality Law Seminar

  • Organizational Behavior in the Hospitality Industry

  • Graduate Practicum

  • Strategic Management

  • Event Feasibility

  • Event Marketing and Sponsorship

  • Event Safety & Security Planning

  • Mega Events Management

If students don’t have prior event experience, FIU requires they complete specified prerequisite courses before tackling the advanced classes. 

For hospitality majors who want to continue their education but don’t want to specialize in mega events, the Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management also offers specializations in revenue management and real estate development