Meet Cornell Johnson’s MBA Class Of 2021

Romain Faure 

Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management, Cornell SC Johnson College of Business, Cornell University

“High energy combined with logic and overall great positivity.”

Hometown: Nice, France

Fun Fact About Yourself: I ran the world’s toughest 24-hour nonstop obstacle race three times (top 1,000 obstacle racers in the world). I have often been told, “You look a lot like Clark Kent” when I am wearing my glasses.

Undergraduate School and Major: Glion Institute, Switzerland, Bachelor’s in Business Administration, and Les Roches, Switzerland, Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management Finance.

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: MGM Resorts International – Senior Analyst III Investment Analysis and Valuation. 

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: In my last position, I got the opportunity to work and define strategies on some of the world’s highest gaming and hospitality-related investment propositions. 

What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? Fun. We all agree that going to a top business school is work. However, above all, we must have fun doing it. So far, each interaction I’ve had with current and future classmates has been fun and positive.

Aside from your classmates, what was the key factor that led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA and why was it so important to you? When speaking to current Johnson MBA students – as they walked me through their MBA learning experience from the perspective of similar industry professionals – I was particularly impressed with how Johnson’s program components cater to individuals with multiple backgrounds. One aspect that really attracted me was the immersion semester, especially the one in Strategic Operations, which features practical experience. In combining my experience in finance and my eagerness to continue solving complex operations, Johnson’s immersion will enable me to build a bridge with true on-site operations experience.

What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? Perhaps my biggest impact will be on the Hospitality Business Club, in which I eventually want to grow to be a leader.

What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? “Was there any opposition while innovating and how did you deal with it?”

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? For the past eight years, I have consciously been preparing myself to be the best-rounded hospitality professional possible. Having an MBA today will help me reinforce my specialty at solving complex operations and will allow me to build proper connections.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? UVA Darden and Yale School of Management

How did you determine your fit at various schools? I remember a couple of months ago when I was searching for schools to apply. My first criterion was the size of the class. In fact, I do believe that a tight, small, selective community allows for building stronger connections. Other major factors included the teaching method (with a hybrid case/lecture ratio), post-MBA job placement diversity, and the strength and size of the alumni network.

As for my research, I used four major tools, including each school’s website, MBA-specific websites (such as Poets & Quants), available informative documents (e.g., insider guides, selection criteria, etc.) that are generally free and available on MBA consultants’ websites. Last but not least – if not the most important – were on-campus visits.

What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? During the Great Recession, Las Vegas was severely impacted by the financial crisis and I witnessed my stable, successful father falling apart with no control over what was happening to him and his career. At this moment, I realized that I could not let life happen to me. Thus, I started passing certifications to qualify for some of the best hospitality schools in the world. Later on, I took jobs across multiple continents in a variety of settings — ranging from traditional operations in France to formal hierarchical structures in Thailand — to gain a global industry perspective. Finally, and most recently, I targeted one of the biggest, most complex and centralized hospitality operations at MGM Resorts in Las Vegas. All those experiences have shaped the person I am today.

Where do you see yourself in ten years? After a decade or so of experience, I want to become a leading executive at a large privately-owned service-oriented business.

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