A faculty interview with Dedman’s Dr. Tarik Dogru

December 15, 2018
                       Dr. Tarik Dogru

Dr. Tarik Dogru joined the faculty of Dedman School of Hospitality as an assistant professor in fall of 2018. He holds a doctorate in hospitality management from the University of South Carolina and an MBA from Zonguldak Karaelmas University, Turkey.

Dogru has served as an assistant professor at Boston University, an adjunct faculty member at the University of South Carolina, and a research assistant at Ahi Evran University, Turkey. He has taught graduate and undergraduate courses at business and hospitality schools.

Dogru publishes in scholarly hospitality and tourism journals and serves several on of their editorial boards or as a reviewer. His research interests include hospitality accounting and finance, corporate finance, investment, mergers and acquisitions, corporate governance, franchising, sharing economy, tourism economics, and climate change.

DSH: How did you become interested in the hospitality industry? What were your early experiences?

Dogru: My early educational background was in business, focusing on finance and economics, but I was always interested in tourism, travel, and hospitality. Hospitality was a big part of my culture, both growing up in Turkey in general, and in my hometown of Antioch in particular.

In the Turkish culture, every guest, even someone you dislike, must be treated well. There are many anecdotes on how to serve, please, and make your guests feel welcome. I always enjoyed visiting family and neighbors during holidays, because guests must be well-fed and we were offered so much wonderful food. So, get ready to gain some weight when visiting Turkey, especially if you are visiting friends or family who are locals.

All in all, it was my combined love of people, hospitality and finance that drove me to be interested in hospitality finance and investment.

DSH: Turkey holds an iconic historic and geographic place in world history. How does the hospitality management industry in Turkey compare with that of the U.S.?

Dogru: Tourism is a big part of the Turkish economy. I believe it is about 10 percent of the gross domestic product. Turkey is also one of the top 10 countries for the number of tourist arrivals.

The history of Turkey goes back thousands of years. Just walk outside and you see ruins from the Roman and Ottoman Empires. Indeed, museums and history are important tourist drivers to Turkey, but the importance of food cannot be highlighted enough. People just fall in love with it. Turkey’s main tourist market are Europeans and statistics show those who visit Turkey are very likely to revisit. For instance, 65 percent of German tourists are repeat visitors.

The U.S. is also in the top 10 countries for tourism but it is so big compared to Turkey, which is perhaps a little larger than Texas. Also, the population and diversity do not compare. Technology, entertainment, gambling, nightlife, and sports are bigger tourist drivers to the U.S. Culture, history, cuisine, sun, sand, and beach tourism, combined with affordability, puts Turkey in the top 10.

DSH: Much of your research has centered on the financial and economic side of the hospitality industry. What is it about these research areas you find interesting?

Dogru: My interest in numbers began at a young age when I worked in my father’s shop, where I gained some knowledge of finance before attending business school. Economics and finance allow us to manage our lives and plan for the future, and I wanted to be able to measure, manage, and control as much as I could. All of this made me more and more interested in these subjects. Despite minimal subjectivity, numbers are more objective than words. We are still trying to understand the behavior of human beings in general but, to me, their financial and economic behaviors are more fascinating to explore.

DSH: You’ve taught at Boston University, University of South Carolina, Karaelmas in Turkey, and you’ve been at Florida State a short time. How do the these experiences compare?

Dogru: I have been teaching at FSU for a little more than two months now. My experience is the same in general. I mean, I’m always passionate when I’m teaching, and students are always very excited and enthusiastic to learn the subject matter. In terms of the cities, Columbia, S.C. is very similar to Tallahassee in size, social life and climate. Boston has many more activities, but it gets cold! When I moved to Tallahassee, it felt like home, as my hometown has a very similar climate. All in all, I love teaching and research, students at Dedman are awesome, and Tallahassee is a great place for a family.

DSH: What course(s) are you currently teaching? What would you recommend to students about our program at Florida State and a career in hospitality management?

Dogru: I’m currently teaching managerial accounting. I think the subjects we cover in the course can be of great use to all of our students even though they may not pursue a career in hospitality accounting and finance. Learning these subjects will be essential to their personal success. All of our students will eventually have a 401k and their own investments.

The hospitality industry is growing immensely and there are a lot of opportunities. My advice would be to enjoy and utilize the college life to the fullest, learn as much as you can, make friends and create yourself a network. But, most importantly --- follow your passion.

Tarik Dogru: The basics

Title: Assistant Professor, Dedman School of Hospitality, Florida State University

Degrees: Ph.D., Hospitality Management, University of South Carolina; MBA, Zonguldak Karaelmas University, Turkey

Learn more: Tarik Dogru’s web page.