50 Days Until Graduation: Graduate Student Spotlight on Leo Xu
April 7, 2019

The following interview was conducted by Tisch Center student worker, Haley Park.

How have you grown during your time at NYU?

Prior to NYU, I earned my B.S. degree  also in hospitality – from Missouri State University, with a focus on general operations. Since 2013, I completed various internship programs with several great companies, including Walt Disney Parks & Resorts, Starwood hotels, and the China National Tourist Office. Right after the graduation from MSU, I worked as a senior hotel reservation operator (regional main contact) for a hospitality wholesaler in New Jersey. My passion along with abundant work experiences eventually led to my decision to pursue the MS in Hospitality Industry Studies at the Tisch Center in 2017. During this time at NYUSPS, I served as the Student Council Representative for the Hospitality and Tourism Society, which provided the opportunity for me to get involved with numerous extracurricular activities. I also helped the HTS club to garner an NYU President’s Service Award in 2018. I feel lucky that I have connected with several mentors/ professors throughout the program, such as Dr. Minnaert. She is the “kindest person in the world” and always has my back, giving me professional advice and guide me to succeed. Besides, I also have one academic advisor and faculty advisor to answer all the questions I have.

Is there one internship or class you had during your graduate experience that stands out to you?

Yes, I would say most of the classes I have taken during this master program at NYU are very useful and helpful, such as Revenue Strategies, New Media & Distribution and Pricing Strategies. One of my favorite classes in the hospitality program is the Graduate Internship, which allowed me to apply what I learned from the classroom into practice. I did a revenue management internship at Highgate Hospitality Company, based at their Crowne Plaza Times Square property. The internship class really gave me the opportunity to build a long-term valuable relationship with industry professionals and to get hands-on experience as a revenue management professional in a competitive working environment. My job responsibilities included accurate preparation and distribution of daily, weekly, monthly revenue reports, performing audits and maintenance on all systems such as PMS, CRS, RMS, and Sales and Catering Systems to ensure the content and information is correct, reviewing and analyzing  reports such as Market Vision, STAR, Hotel Intelligence, and other measurement tools and present revenue opportunities, maintaining group pick-up reports and communicate with Sales regarding upcoming groups cut-offs and analyzing local events and activities and project the effect of opportunities they create.

What are your plans after graduation?

Currently, I am doing another revenue management internship with Millennium Hotels and Resorts, North America Corporate Office. I have a huge passion for the hospitality industry, especially for the revenue management field. After graduation, I aspire to continue my career in the hospitality field, concentrating on revenue and asset management and I look forward to contributing to NYUSPS as an active alumnus.

What will you take away from your 2 years at NYU?

If you want to be productive throughout our program, you must be crystal clear about what you want and need while choosing the concentration or related courses. Do not forget to balance your personal life and work and study wisely. Please always having a sense of urgency and the back-up plan for the worst scenario. No pain no gain. Wherever you after this program, you must have a positive work attitude

What piece of advice would you give to graduate students?

Networking is the most important activity while you are studying at NYU. I know a lot of fellow students got their internships and full-time jobs because of the networking events. In the hospitality industry, work experience matters, so while you are still in school, please do as many internships as possible.