Eng Sou Ea grew up in Cambodia, Thailand, the United States, and Israel. So she knew she wanted to build a career that allowed her to continue her international lifestyle and utilize her multilingual skills—the School of Professional Studies senior speaks four languages. The perfect fit? A major in Hotel and Tourism Management. This NYU program weaves together professional development and internships with academic theory and analysis. For this reason, it offers far more than a traditional classroom experience can. And thanks to NYU’s global network, opportunities for international experiences for hotel and tourism management majors that make graduates stand out in the industry are limitless.
Hotel and Tourism Management majors begin their studies with introductory courses in hospitality management. Then, they have the opportunity to concentrate in one of five highly distinct focus areas. Because of this, Eng was able to take courses in several areas so that she could learn her preferences. One of her favorites was the course Lodging Development.
“Lodging Development is a great class because it gives an overview of the different steps in hotel development. It provides background knowledge for any students interested in this field,” Eng says. Additionally, it helped that she really connected with the professor who teaches the course, Sean Hennessey. He is now also her faculty adviser. “Professor Hennessey has been like a mentor, providing career advice and networking opportunities for me,” she says. What’s more, Eng says he always makes time if she has questions.
Through the flexibility of the major, Eng realized that her perfect fit was a concentration in Hotel Development, given her love for real estate development and economics. “I found the structure of the program to be a great fit for me. And I’ve learned the foundations I need to confidently explore a career in hospitality at the various internships I have had the past three years.”
After taking a course on financial management and analysis, Eng realized her passion for economics. “It’s what got me interested in the finance aspect of hotel development. And I continue to build on and use the knowledge I learned from the class at my internships,” she says. Those internships have been numerous, wide-ranging, and international. In addition to her applicable coursework in the field, studying in three majors cities—Florence, Shanghai, and New York City—prepared her well for these experiences.
As a marketing intern at the Four Seasons in Indonesia, Eng managed the hotel’s social media accounts. She increased their following by 1,000 users in just one month. In New York, as a sales intern with Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts, she found new sales leads and maintained a vital database for her bosses.
Now, she is a hotel asset management intern for Tishman. As such, she helps oversee two renowned Times Square hotels, the Westin New York Times Square and the InterContinental New York Times Square. By working closely with the director of asset management, Eng is gaining extensive hands-on experience. “The wide breadth of responsibilities that asset managers oversee allows me to truly learn about all the work that goes into operating and owning a hotel,” she says. “I love that I gain exposure to so many aspects of what keeps a hotel running smoothly. It goes far beyond the eyes of what guests can see.”
All of this real-world experience gave Eng the tools to forge her own path in life. “It may seem challenging at times to search for internships, prepare for interviews, and juggle the responsibilities of school and an internship,” she says. “But at the end of the day, the challenges and learning experience will put you ahead. They will distinguish you from other graduates.” She knows this will certainly be the case as she begins her career this year.
Though she’s loved her New York City experience, after graduation Eng is eager to continue her travels and live in a new country again. She’s looking forward to joining the workforce, but doesn’t rule out more school in her future. “I hope to venture into hotel and real estate development. I would like to gain more experience before potentially returning to school for an MBA,” she says.
No matter where she lands, she’ll take everything she’s learned with her. After taking advantage of all NYU has to offer, from mentorship and coursework to international travel and interships, Eng is ready for her next step in any locale.