The following interview was conducted by Tisch Center student worker, Haley Park.
What has your journey been like after graduating NYU?
My journey post-graduation has been really rewarding, filled with opportunities to grow. My story is proof that staying connected with the people you meet in your academic career has immense ripple effects upon your life. Upon graduation, I has a position lined up with HEBS Digital, a digital marketing company. I was recommended for the role by a colleague I worked with during my internship at Taj Hotels & Resorts. Actually, I’m still very close with the people at Taj even though we’ve all moved on and we still get together every so often. During my time at HEBS Digital, I realized I wanted to be more involved with revenue management. I had stayed in contact with Dr. Minnaert and when I expressed interest in shifting careers. A few months later, she actually connected to me a revenue opportunity at The New Yorker, a Wyndham Hotel! So, I was in revenue for a little over a year when I got a call from a recruiter through LinkedIn asking if I’d be interested in working in eCommerce, and that is how I got to where I am now.
Can you talk about the current role you are in now?
I am a Director of eCommerce for Interstate Hotels & Resorts, a hospitality company that manages hotels for ownerships. In my role, I oversee seven Marriott branded properties, specifically for digital marketing and stratrately. I work closely with the sales and revenue teams to optimize and elevate our portfolio’s digital presence.
What are you most passionate about in the work that you do?
What’s really exciting in the hospitality industry is the constantly changing landscape. It’s so dynamic and happening so fast. Besides the big changes in companies like Expedia and Marriott, there have also been smaller-scale changes, such as Airbnb recently acquiring HotelTonight. In addition, it’s been interesting to see how Google’s new developments and optimization of travel products is going to affect the overall travel industry. Tech is influencing everyone’s job, and it’s our ability to see how we can quickly leverage the new tools.
In what ways has your NYU experience had an impact on your career and shaped who you are today?
My very first job I got because of connections at NYU. I am really grateful to NYU for the friendships and bonds with professors that I formed. Specifically in regards to the Tisch Center, I really liked how internships were a requirement. I held four different jobs during school because of that. These opportunities, and ultimately my current job that I’m in now, wouldn’t have come about without the NYU network. In addition, because of the way the program is structured, I was able to experiment with many different career routes. The first year I thought I wanted to do operations, however I realized that wasn’t for me. I took an array of courses that really allowed me to discover for myself what I was interested in.
The fact that NYU as a school really values the global experience is really important to me. I got to study abroad in Shanghai and that experience really opened up for me a new realm of perspectives. Had I not studied in Shanghai, there are things I wouldn’t have thought and known. For example, the digital wallet is huge in Shanghai and experiencing it first hand, I was able to make sense of it.
What advice would you give to undergraduate NYU students?
Definitely try everything whether it’s cultural clubs, extracurriculars, or anything that interests you. The connections that you make with people are not just connections but lifelong friendships. Upon graduation, even if you don’t end up in the hospitality industry, you can make friends who are in different industries. Stay connected, meet different people and try new things.