November 4, 2020

Tisch Center Alumni Spotlight: Yaolin Zhou, Keck Seng Group North America

Yaolin Zhou graduated in 2014 with a MS in Hospitality Industry Studies (Hotel Finance Concentration)  from the Jonathan M. Tisch Center of Hospitality. She is currently a Senior Asset Management Associate at Keck Seng Group North America. Keck Seng Group is a publicly listed company on Hong Kong Stock Exchange and Malaysia Stock Exchange. It owns Hospitality, Residential, Commercial and Manufacturing (Palm Oil) Asset across Asia and North America including locations in Singapore, Hong Kong, Macao, Malaysia, Japan, New York, San Francisco, Hawaii, Toronto and Ottawa.

What has your journey been like after graduating NYU?

At the beginning, I was working in revenue management with Highgate hotels. The work included a lot of forecasting based on various analytics, and greatly helped me later on to see assets in a more balanced light. Following Highgate Hotels, I joined Keck Seng Group, North America in asset management.

Can you talk about your current role at Keck Seng Group, North America?

Usually, I focus on the reviewing hotel General Ledger, Income Statement, Balance Sheet & Capital Expenditure, Consolidate & Corporate Closing and Topline (Revenue & Sales) Strategy.

It is a rewarding process to look into details behind the numbers - what the numbers mean and represent. To me, it is usually the case that by understanding the asset & numbers in depth, a more operationally or financially  efficient solution will emerge along the way.

What are you passionate about in the work that you do?

First, I would think it is a passion by nature. In hospitality, an industry value is empathy - a hotelier naturally gain fulfillment by offering a better product and service, or bringing comfort and happiness to guests.

Also, I tend to see a hotel as a “mini city” – you need to understand the various stakeholders, such as Banks, Brokerage, Finance, Sales, Engineer, Laws, Insurance, Tax and Employees. With that being said, the hospitality environment is multi-faceted, pleasantly challenging and helps you to gain broad perspectives from its complexity.

In what ways has your NYU experience had an impact on your career and shaped who you are today?

NYU has plenty of resources, such as the Wasserman Center for Career Center Development. I found my revenue management internship through this Center. Subsequently, I received a full time offer from Highgate Hotels before graduation, because of my internship network and experience.

What career advice would you give to NYU students?

I understand that the pandemic has a strong impact on our industry and the students. Usually, I would encourage students to find their true passion through long-term career planning. However, if the environment does not allow that right now, I would encourage students to build a strong work ethic in their studies, or in a related field. Try to strive for excellence, no matter how small the task is.



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