09/21/2023 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 09/21/2023 08:31
Justin Wai '06 believes he would not have landed his dream job as the head of real estate for greater China at Blackstone if he hadn't graduated from the Cornell Peter and Stephanie Nolan School of Hotel Administration.
When he interviewed for his first position at Blackstone in 2007, his degree set him apart from other job candidates. Interviewers were intrigued that he had studied hotel administration and had worked as a bellhop at the Island Shangri-La, a luxury hotel in Hong Kong.
"One of the advantages of being a Hotelie is that it's such a different path than most people that they meet," Wai says. "Most of the people that Wall Street recruiters meet come from a traditional business school program. So
they just find Hotelies to be a bit more interesting and memorable."
After years of volunteering in alumni leadership roles, Wai has decided to give back to Cornell by making a $1 million gift to establish a dean's discretionary fund at the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business. He says he
chose to donate to the dean's discretionary fund so that the college could use his gift on priority needs.
"Justin is passionate about the SC Johnson College of Business's mission to educate the next generation of global citizens and to promote a culture of broad inquiry throughout and beyond the Cornell community," says Andrew Karolyi, the Charles Field Knight Dean of the SC Johnson College. "He understands that through a gift of discretionary funds, his philanthropy can be used in an incredibly impactful way. These types of gifts allow university leaders to be nimble and act on emerging priorities."