Mairin Barnes, MMH '14
Why Cornell? Why the Hotel School?
I was fortunate enough to pursue my undergraduate studies at Cornell and therefore knew the tremendous value of a Cornell education and the Cornell network. After working in finance for five years, I wanted to pursue my goal of starting my own business in the hospitality industry. The Hotel School has a reputation for excellence that is world-renowned, making it the perfect place to bridge my business background with my interest in hospitality entrepreneurship.
However, it was my conversations with alums of the program that truly inspired me to make the decision. Whether I was speaking to an alum working in hospitality finance or a restaurant entrepreneur, their feedback continually centered on their respect for the Cornell community and the doors the Hotel School opened to help them achieve their goals.
What's your best advice for prospective MMH candidate?
Be as specific as possible with yourself about what you want to get out of the program. There are so many interesting paths to take during your short time as an MMH candidate that it can become overwhelming to narrow down your course selection, speaker series, and event options. The better defined your goals are from the beginning, the more you can truly immerse yourself into all that the MMH has to offer for your next career step.
What is your memorable MMH moment?
I would pick the trip to Los Angeles hosted by the Leland C. and Mary M. Pillsbury Institute for Hospitality Entrepreneurship. I had the opportunity to attend both the Innovation Network and the Thayer Ventures Annual meeting.
The Innovation Network invites industry leaders to a day of brainstorming, speaker series opportunities, and networking, all focused on the future of innovation in hospitality. It was truly a unique experience to not only meet many of these executives, but also to hear their goals for innovation in their respective companies.
The following day, Thayer Ventures, a venture-capital firm focused on the hospitality industry, allowed our group to sit in on their annual meeting. We had the privilege of hearing presentations from each of their portfolio companies regarding their goals, growth strategy and team backgrounds. It was incredibly inspiring to hear from some of the most innovative leaders in the industry and listen to their views on the future.
"My prior experience was exclusively in luxury hotels, and my goal was to open my horizons, learn from the very best hoteliers, and develop/manage my very own hotels. But the MMH program exposed me to a lot more that this industry has to offer."Read more »
"I was looking at other business schools, but the MMH attracted me because it's unique and specific. I wanted to hone my business skills, but having the focus in hotels would set me apart from other master's students in the job market."Read more »
"This program was beyond an education, beyond increased opportunities to network—it was a connection with a group of people who share your passion for hospitality and will be excellent friends and assets to you for the rest of your life."Read more »
"We have students from many different career backgrounds—including non-hospitality backgrounds—from all ages, genders, countries, and religious beliefs or non-beliefs. Each of us brings in our own perspectives to add to the MMH experience."Read more »
"The MMH is about personal development as much as professional development, and I would encourage any incoming MMHer to take full advantage of all of the experiences offered during the program."Read more »