September 10, 2019

Course spotlight: Business Development III

Business Development III is the capstone course for the B.S. Hotel and Tourism Management. In this post, Dr. Jukka Laitamaki tells us more about the objectives of the course, and the exciting ‘Barracuda Tank’ presentation at the end of the semester. 


At the Tisch Center, you teach the Business Development III course for undergraduate students. What are the objectives of the course?

The first objective is that students learn how to develop a hotel concept with four year financials. The second objective is that students learn how to make managerial decisions when running a simulated hotel with a restaurant. The third objective is that students learn how to present professionally and effectively to industry people in a Barracuda Tank (similar to Shark Tank) setting.

Why is this the capstone course for the undergraduate degree?

This course is an excellent way for students to take the knowledge they’ve learned in the Tisch Center courses and use it to conduct real-life research for developing a hotel concept. Given that the Tisch Center is in NYC, students are able to develop a hotel concept based on an actual site for a future hotel rather than based an abstract.

What are some concrete examples of the material that you cover and projects that you and your students have worked on?

One semester students had the challenge of developing the next-generation Moxy hotel for Marriott. Students took the existing Moxy hotel and developed a new Moxy concept on an actual site near Washington Square. The Barracudas for this semester included Jonathan Segal, Executive Chairman of The ONE Group Hospitality, Eric Jacobs, Chief Development Officer, North America of Marriott Select Brands, and Ryan Anderson, Vice President, Global Brand Marketing of AC Hotels, Aloft, Element, and Moxy.

What sort of impact do you hope to have on your students through this course?

I hope that students learn real-life analytical and presentation skills that will help them in their job interviews and respective jobs. Currently two of my former students are interviewing for a position with Marriott lifestyle brands. I hope that my students leave this course with real-life and applicable skills.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

It’s important to note that since students are competing with each other in teams for the Barracuda Tank and the simulated hotel, there is a healthy competitive learning component. This project and simulation also allow students to dig deeper into operations, housekeeping and front-office work. Finally, this is a team effort and I have worked closely with Professor Lakshmi Soundararajan on developing and fine-tuning this course.

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