Western State Colorado University offers MBA tailored for outdoor enthusiasts looking to climb the corporate ladder
The Denver Post
Colorado’s outdoor recreation economy generates $28 billion in consumer spending and 229,000 jobs in the state, according to the Outdoor Industry Association. Luis Benitez, Colorado’s czar of the outdoor recreation industry, said local academic institutions are embracing the industry as a pipeline for outdoor-focused students more than ever before.
Colorado State University recently launched an online graduate certificate in adventure tourism. The University of Colorado Boulder has a graduate program called Masters of the Environment, focused on environment studies, design, law, business and economics. Colorado Mountain College was named Elevation Outdoors magazine’s 2018 Top Adventure College for its programs in ski and snowboard business and beyond.
“The industry has matured and people wanting to move up in their organizations didn’t possess the skills required to take that next level,” said Pete Sherman, Western’s director of the Outdoor Industry MBA and dean of the School of Business.
Western’s MBA program — the first in the nation tailored to the outdoor industry — was crafted over a couple of years with help from Benitez, university officials and industry professionals. Many executives noted that they never had trouble finding eager 19-year-olds thrilled to work part-time in their companies, but sometimes struggled hiring mid-level to senior-level managers to help run their businesses.
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To level the playing field between those who pay sales and lodging taxes on nightly rentals and those who skirt them, the city is ready to take names and make them pay.