Zachary Schwartz (MS in Real Estate and Infrastructure, ’10)
career outcomes
August 23, 2021


Alum becomes CEO of hospitality company, navigates disrupted industry through COVID-19

Why it matters: Q&A with Zachary Schwartz (MS in Real Estate and Infrastructure, ’10), who was recently named CEO of YAYS, a hospitality company based in Amsterdam. He is charged with growing the company while navigating a pandemic that has upended the hospitality and travel industries.
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Zachary Schwartz (MS in Real Estate and Infrastructure, ’10) took the helm as CEO at YAYS, a concierge apartment service for travelers, on April 1, 2021.

He is overseeing the growing company through a time of transition and unknowns as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect travel.

COVID-19 has brought unprecedented business and health challenges upending the real estate and hospitality sector. How has COVID affected Yays’ planning or vision for the future?

Schwartz: The pandemic has had a devastating impact on the hospitality sector, like nothing our industry has experienced before. Fortunately, the need for apartment-style accommodation, where guests control their own environment, has become even more relevant.

We were able to pivot our business during the pandemic, accommodating more residential-oriented demand like students and professionals, while keeping all our properties open throughout. The first signs of a significant rebound to transient demand is on the horizon, and that will allow a broader recovery of our business and across the sector overall.

You first earned your undergraduate degree in hospitality administration from Cornell. What was the impetus to earn a graduate degree at Carey Business School?

Hospitality, while a focused industry on the one hand, offers a wider breath of career possibilities than many realize. This stems from the mix of business models used in the sector, from management to lease and franchise, where the real estate owner is often a separate stakeholder from the operator.

Early in my career, when I decided that I wanted to grow on the real estate side of the business, a MS in Real Estate from Carey seemed to open a clear pathway to that transition.

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What are some of the skills you learned during your master’s that you use today and have helped you grow your career?

The Carey real estate program was designed to be practical rather than purely theoretical. That meant that I was able to put to work everything I was learning. In particular, the finance courses introduced and honed principles I was able to apply throughout my entire professional growth, from real estate private equity to board and senior management roles.

What’s one piece of advice you would give to a student considering earning their MS in Real Estate and Infrastructure degree?

Make lasting relationships with your peers and professors. You will come back to these relationships time and again throughout your career and realize they are the perfect sounding board for the challenges you will face as you accelerate your professional growth post-graduation.

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