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Meet MMH Alumni: Drew Wallace ’12

Drew Wallace, MMH '13

Drew Wallace, MMH’ 12

Honolulu, Hawaii USA

Drew Wallace is a MMH ‘12 graduate. Raised in Honolulu, Hawaii he’s been living on the mainland and internationally since his undergraduate days at Princeton. Drew was part of the MMH Singapore program so he spent half of his time in the program living in Singapore and the other half in Ithaca. Drew’s concentration was Self-Directed with a focus on Real Estate Finance and he completed his internship in Singapore with Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts.

Why Cornell? Why Hotel School? 

“After looking at a few other schools, both hospitality and general MBA, Cornell became the easy choice. As far as MBA versus MMH, I had spend most of my life in hospitality operations and wanted to leverage that experience in the same industry where it would have the most impact. Cornell still has an intense focus on business, which would be similar to a general MBA, but is also within the industry I knew I’d be focusing on. The other hospitality programs I looked at simply didn’t have the reputation of Cornell, the alumni network, or the opportunity to spend half a year in Singapore networking directly with industry professionals.”

What are you doing now?

“Working for IHG in Atlanta, part of our Americas Hotel Operations Support team. I work with various teams across our organization to operationalize and implement global and regional initiatives that impact our hotels. One such major project is a global program designed to attract and retain a greater share of the Chinese outbound travel market. This involves new operational and brand standards for our hotels in the Americas as well as increased sales and marketing activities in China. Another is a new revenue management application available to all our franchise hotels to assist them with building budgets and strategic sales and marketing plans. This will include training thousands of hotels staff and regional support personal as well as activating all the associated hotels.”

What is your favorite thing about your position?

“My current role technically falls within the operations teams, but I support all types of projects that impact our hotels, whether Finance, Sales & Marketing, Revenue Management, or Brands. This gives me amazing exposure within the organization at a global, regional, and hotel level. The programs are also challenging and generally high profile, which means I am expected to navigate the hierarchy and of a large organization such as IHG.”

What’s your best advice for prospective MMH candidate?

“There is no set definition of success and no straight line to getting there. If you join the MMH program, don’t spend all your time worrying about what you’re going to do with the rest of your career or your life. The best part of our industry is that you can do a little bit of everything. Just make sure that whatever you are doing is interesting and challenging and that can lead you anywhere you want it to, whether COO, CFO, or something else entirely.”

What is your most memorable MMH moment?

“There were definitely a lot of great personal and professional moments, but I think one of my actual favorites would be the first week of school when we all introduced ourselves, where we were from, what our background was, etc. There were only 3 Americans in my program and nearly everyone spoke multiple languages. It was fascinating to learn about all the different countries and cultures, and now I have these classmates as friends in all these places around the world!”

Thank you for the interview, Drew!


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