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.