Qian Zhang graduated in 2021 with a BS in Hotel and Tourism Management with a Concentration in Hotel Development and a minor in Mandarin Chinese. She is currently a Consultant in the Construction and Real Estate Advisory Services practice at EY.
What has your career journey been like after graduating from NYU?
After graduation, I started working at EY in the Construction and Real Estate Advisory Services practice (CREAS). So far, I am enjoying all the new experiences from my first project in Saudi Arabia; I was really fortunate to have my first project be an international one. I was there for four weeks with my team to help facilitate the operation of a $500B project involving hotel development and sustainability practices. Living and working in the Middle East has taught me a lot both in and out of work, from business etiquette to industry standards. I hope to continue to learn and expand my understandings in hospitality, real estate, and construction.
Can you talk about your current role at EY?
I am currently a Consultant within CREAS. The CREAS group’s service spans the entire construction and real estate life cycle and assists clients with a focus on the following: how to reduce risk, increase efficiency, and lower cost while positively transforming the environments in which we live and work. Since I just joined EY, I have only worked on one project so far; it is exciting that every project will be unique, so no two days will be alike. While my first project had a heavy emphasis on operations, procurement, and hospitality related functions, my next project will be completely different, focusing on real estate.
What does a typical workday look like for you?
On a typical day when I was working on my first project in Saudi Arabia, I would head to the compound and have breakfast with my team before heading into the client’s office to start my workday. Some days I would be in more meetings and others, working on drafting content that the team needs. After wrapping up for the day, I would hang out with my co-workers and grab dinner before heading back to the villa with the team. Living and working with my team in Saudi Arabia was such an exciting experience and I really enjoyed getting to know everyone better and working with them. On my next project, a typical day might look completely different!
What are you passionate about in the work that you do?
Meeting new people and helping clients solve their challenges is definitely a rewarding feeling! I love that I get to meet so many interesting individuals throughout my projects and I love how global yet interconnected we all are. For instance, in this past project that I was on, I had the opportunity to work with EY teams in Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Spain, and India. I hope to continue to expand my knowledge in hospitality, real estate, and construction and continue to expand my professional network through meeting so many new people.
In what ways has your NYU experience had an impact on your career and shaped who you are today?
My experience at NYU has tremendously helped to ease my transition from being a student to a full-time employee. I believe it was largely due to the fact that NYU helped many of us get internships throughout the semester, and that experience helped with learning work/life balance early on. Furthermore, all the professors have a wealth of knowledge and experience that gets embedded into their lectures, which in turn helps better prepare us for the workforce. Specifically, I really enjoyed Professor Sean Hennessey’s courses as I already see myself using a lot of the skills he taught us when I’m at work.
What career advice would you give to NYU students?
Network and have fun! College is probably the only time we get to learn and have fun without having too many other responsibilities, so enjoy all that NYU and NYC have to offer. Network with your peers, your professors, and people who you look up to; I find that I always learn more about what I might want to do/learn next based off of other’s experiences that inspire me. Everyone has so much to offer and teach!