The following interview with Human Resource Manager and Tisch Center Alumni Society board member, Yvette Ly, was conducted by Tisch Center social media assistant Camille Aké.
1) Can you tell me about yourself? When did you graduate from the Tisch Center and what did you study?
I graduated in 2012 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Hotel & Tourism Management.
2) Could you reflect briefly on your time at the Tisch Center?
In a lot of ways, the Tisch Center provided the sense of community that humanized a large school like NYU and an intimidating city like New York. I was a student leader throughout high school so approached college the same way with clubs and volunteering opportunities. After freshman year, with the support of dedicated mentors and friends, I layered internships and part-time jobs onto my schedule, at one point juggling an internship, two part-time jobs, classes and student activities at the same time. All of these opportunities connected me to different groups of people, where I eventually carved a niche.
The combination of being in New York, connecting to unique opportunities through the TC, and an eagerness to take on those opportunities led to such a rich NYU/Tisch Center experience.
3) I was told you worked in hotels but are now in the restaurant industry. Can you tell me about the transition from the hotel industry to the restaurant industry?
As much overlap as their is, restaurants feel like a completely different world. In essence, both have the foundation of service and selling/consuming a live subjective experience; but the labor and revenue models are where the two begin to diverge. It’s been very fulfilling for my growth and career. It’s a rare opportunity to be able to build HR infrastructure so I’m trying to take it all in and navigate one challenge at a time. Luckily, similar to my work in previous hotels, it’s been easy to be proud of a hardworking team and amazing product.
4) Many students at the Tisch Center, both at an undergraduate and graduate level (myself included!), are intersted in restaurants. However, a lot of classes offered here relate to hotels or tourism. Is there anything particular about the restaurant industry you learned from your real-world experience?
I’d say most, if not all, of what I’ve learned about the restaurant industry has been through real world experience. I didn’t technically take any restaurant management courses, but HR is advantageously versatile so I’ve applied everything I’ve learned from hotel HR to restaurants. Some strategies have worked better than others; I’m learning as I go. Looking back, I had ideas of dream jobs or dream NYU/college experiences, and while it’s great to set goals, I did well in not allowing them to hold me back. I got something out of every opportunity I took on. I didn’t necessarily picture myself in the F&B world building an HR department but it’s been a tremendous period of growth.
5) I also was told your are a part of the alumni board! Could you tell me about your role and could you suggest ways for people to get involved in the Alumni Society if they are interested?
Maintaining a pulse on the industry is important and can be difficult after graduation – an alumni network can help alleviate that. I’m proudly serving my second year as Student Liaison on the Tisch Center Alumni Society.
For someone like me, who’s always been active and involved, this is the next step after having been a student leader or a volunteer. For someone who hasn’t been interested in the past, TCAS is a great place to start because there will be familiar names, faces and initiatives to help the transition while still acting as a gateway to new professional connections and achievements. For those who want to simply gauge interest with less commitment, I’d suggest joining a committee. We have committees for events and general initiatives like Membership or Community Service. You’d work closely with the designated Committee Lead, who’d then report back to the board at our monthly meetings. For students or alumni looking for zero work and 100% fun, come to our events! We commit a lot of time and effort to plan and execute enriching events for you. Last night, we revived a TCAS favorite, Casino Night, with great success.