Noel Barrameda completed the Accelerated Certificate in Hotel Operations in 2006. Since that time he has worked internationally as a sales supervisor, manager, and general manager of several resort properties in the Philippines.
In the following interview he shares his experience in the program and the impact it has had on his professional career.
Tell us a little about your background before you completed the Accelerated Certificate program.
Prior to joining the Tisch Center, I was the sales and marketing manager for an IT trading company in Manila, Philippines, where I am from. However, my travels in the country and around Asia for both work and holiday had me fascinated and intrigued by how things were put together and how experiences were created for the guests in those hotels and resorts.
How did you learn about the Tisch Center? What were the most important considerations that factored into your decision to enroll?
I was in New York in 2006 for a holiday after I quit my job in Manila. A NYU SCPS bulletin arrived in the mail and as I flipped through the pages, the Hotel Operations Certificate Program caught my attention. I thought it was the perfect opportunity to learn about the hospitality industry and, even better, at a prestigious school. I was already familiar with NYU because a friend has previously taken Film here but wanted to learn more about the SCPS program so I conducted some research. I thought the certificate program was perfect because it was comprehensive, would not take too long and was affordable (even for a non-US dollar earner like me).
Tell us about the learning environment and overall experience.
It was the first time for me to be in a program with people of different nationalities, cultures and work experiences. It was comforting to be with other professionals who wanted to explore the hotel industry to shift careers as well as students who wanted to start a new one. Our teacher was excellent and the other resource speakers were also very good. I enjoyed interacting with the other students, especially when working on the final project as it meant meeting outside the class for research.
What was your favorite part of the program?
Our teacher brought us to some really good hotels around Manhattan to either learn on-site about a new topic or to see how what we discussed in the classroom actually applies. Not only did we get to see several suites in historic luxury hotels such at the Ritz Carlton and the Waldorf=Astoria, we also got a glimpse of how some of the ‘magic’ was created in these hotels, from maintaining spotless windows in a city like Manhattan to how a well-designed lobby layout improves the guest experience.
What was the most challenging part of the class?
Our final project was the most challenging but also the most rewarding. It was a group project and we were asked to ‘build a hotel’ in Manhattan at a location of our choice (without consideration of the financials) and present how we planned to operate the hotel. Our group decided to ‘open’ a Marriott business hotel at the South Street Seaport. I was designated to research on what being a Marriott meant and integrated the results to our hotel project – The Proposed Marriott Harbor View. Our instructor said ours was the ‘most realistic’ among the other class projects. Everyone in the group got an A for it.
How has earning the certificate impacted your life?
When I started the course, I just wanted to learn something different without any concrete plan on what to do with what I would learn. But closer to finishing the course, it was already clear to me that I wanted to change careers and get into the hospitality business. After earning the certificate and going back to the Philippines, I tried my luck and applied for an internship at Amanpulo, one of the most exclusive island resorts in Palawan, Philippines, and part of the prestigious Amanresorts which has more than 20 luxury properties around the world, including two in the U.S. I did not know whether it was something they would agree to, especially because I was already 37 years old at the time, but I mentioned that I just earned a certificate in Hotel Operations from NYU and would work hard during the training period. After the training, they offered me a job as sales supervisor. It was not in operations but I thought it was good to get me started in the industry. After one year, I was promoted to sales manager which enabled me to do a lot of traveling in Asia and try other Aman experiences in countries like China, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Cambodia. After four years in sales, an opportunity to work for another luxury resort brand came, this time in operations. For almost three years, I managed an island resort for El Nido Resorts until I left for New York to further expand my knowledge. I completed a general manager program earlier this summer and have just finished attending a workshop on Accounting and Financial Statement Analysis at NYU SCPS in July 2014.
What would you tell prospective students who are considering the program?
Whether you want to advance in your career or explore a new one, the NYU SCPS programs are a good venue to learn something new and valuable and, more importantly, get you equipped to reach the goals you set for yourself. It worked well for me, I am sure it will too for others.
If you would like more information about this or any other noncredit program at the Tisch Center, you can visit our website: http://www.scps.nyu.edu/academics/departments/tisch/academic-offerings/noncredit.html, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 212-998-9100.