2021 Best & Brightest Business Major: Carol Wang, Cornell University (Hotel Administration)

Carol Wang

School of Hotel Administration, Cornell SC Johnson College of Business, Cornell University

“Intellectually curious, adventure-seeking, and always exploring global perspectives. Faster on Excel than on foot.”

Fun fact about yourself: My family has lived in seven different countries in the last 10 years.

Hometown: Shenzhen, China

High School: École Secondaire Robert A. McMath Secondary School

Major: Hotel Administration

Minor: Real Estate

Favorite Business Course: HADM 4230 Hospitality Real Estate Finance with Professor Daniel Lebret

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:


  • School of Hotel Administration, Ye Hosts Honorary Society – President (2020-2021)
  • Cornell Hedge Fund – Chief Investment Officer (2020-2021), Executive Vice President (2019-2020), Real Estate Fund Manager (2019-2020)
  • Cornell Society for Women in Business – President (2019-2020)
  • Cornell Real Estate Club – Vice President of Alumni Relations (2020-2021)


  • Lead Teaching Assistant – HADM 4205 Real Estate Financial Modeling, HADM 2220 Finance
  • Teaching Assistant – HADM 4410 Strategic Management, AEM 4670 Investments
  • Hotel Ezra Cornell – Sales Manager
  • Cornell Undergraduate Women in Investing Conference – Pitch Team Leader
  • Cornell Table Tennis – National Collegiate Table Tennis Player and Treasurer


  • School of Hotel Administration, Dean’s List
  • 2020 Cornell International Real Estate Case Competition, 1st Place (out of 14 university teams)
  • 2020 University of Cambridge Real Estate Case Competition, 1st Place (out of 5 university teams)
  • 2019 Cornell/UBC Sauder International Real Estate Case Competition, 3rd Place (out of 17 university teams)

Where have you interned during your college career?

  • Sculptor Capital Management (New York, NY) – Real Estate Acquisitions Summer Analyst
  • Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. (New York, NY) – Asset Management Summer Analyst
  • China Merchants Securities Co., Ltd. (Shenzhen, China) – Investment Management Summer Analyst
  • The Stater Hotel at Cornell University (Ithaca, NY) – Guest Services Agent

Where will you be working after graduation? Sculptor Capital Management – Real Estate Acquisitions Analyst

What company do you admire most? I admire the educational non-profit, Girls Who Invest (GWI). The company’s mission is to increase the number of women leaders in the asset management industry, and I was fortunate to be part of a cohort of female college students to realize this vision. I am excited to see GWI inspire more young women to become key decision makers and create positive impact on the investment industry.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? Take time to discover your passions and interests. Entering an undergraduate business school can initially feel overwhelming, especially given the wide range of career opportunities. Instead of flocking towards the most popular and well-represented career paths, be open-minded and explore possibilities at your own pace. You never know what you might discover.

What has surprised you most about majoring in business? I came into business school expecting to learn pragmatic frameworks and technical skills that would help me become a successful businesswoman. However, I soon realized that the most important business decisions are made not only with our brains, but with our hearts. Pursuing a business education with a hospitality focus has allowed me to prioritize the development of soft skills, connections, and people-oriented leadership. While it is commonly interpreted that businesses exist only to maximize profit, the most successful business leaders I have met in the past four years are the ones who can stay true to their values, place people at the heart of their companies, and generate positive societal impact with their initiatives.

Looking back over your experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently in business school and why? I had the incredible opportunity to study abroad at the University of Cambridge during the spring of my junior year, which allowed me to pursue research on subjects such as international trade and global capitalism. While I fully appreciate that my current degree prepares me well for the industry, I would have loved to pursue more research opportunities during my undergraduate years to put my pre-professional education into a broader context.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? One of my proudest achievements is winning the 12th Annual Cornell International Real Estate Case Competition with my team (Timothy Bergin ’21, William McGrath ’21, Jai Patel ’22, Sharon Chen ’22). The five of us presented an innovative proposal for a redevelopment case after analyzing the market, tailoring our solution to the demographics, and stress testing the financial feasibility of the investment. It was a rare opportunity to be challenged by top-tier industry experts and connect with peers in business programs across the world. What made me proudest was leading my team to support each other under pressure, rise up to the challenge when faced with tough questions, and collaborate with a level of remarkable synergy. In the end, we were thrilled to bring home the first Cornell triumph in five years.

Which classmate do you most admire? Jenny Bai (Cornell SHA ’21) is one of my oldest friends at the Hotel School. She is kind, compassionate, and never hesitates to put other people’s needs before her own. Despite her incredible professional accomplishments and leadership in organizations, she is one of the humblest people I know. Jenny inspires people around her with her work ethic, optimism, and genuine passion for service.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? My parents have always taught me to “Live life like a marathon” and work hard without the guarantee of success. Through their example, I learned to develop passion and perseverance for very long-term goals. They also provided me with the opportunity to live in different countries and study away from home since the age of 11, so that I would develop a world view and learn to live as a global citizen. I would not have become the person I am today without their guidance.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list?

  • Lead a real estate private equity firm and encourage more women to take on key leadership roles in the industry.
  • Teach at a university.

What are your hobbies? I enjoy reading Agatha Christie mysteries, Jane Austen novels, and memoirs. I also like to travel, play table tennis, and explore quaint coffee shops with friends.

What made Carol such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2021?

“I met Carol at the beginning of her junior year when she enrolled in two of my courses. Her reputation of excellence preceded her as she came strongly recommended by former students. That first year, I saw her embrace every possible challenge and, quietly, always come out on top. Academically, Carol exhausts the list of superlatives: she is extremely quick, competitive, sharp, thorough and persistent. A plethora of qualities that says little of who she is. With time and continued collaboration, I have found that Carol is above all driven by a deep sense of curiosity. She is a student of everything. She is also incredibly friendly and cares about helping others succeed. Carol naturally became the captain of teams I coached. In short order, she assembled groups of very talented individuals and was central in bringing a level of cohesiveness and excellence I had never seen before. She is de facto my go-to student when something needs to be done. Carol always shows up and resolves the problem swiftly. But most importantly, Carol is incredibly humble and human. She is not afraid to show her vulnerability and that makes her stronger. Before the final of one of the case competitions, she was clearly shaken by the pressure. Everyone was, but she was the only one to admit it openly. As a consequence, the team was able to rally around her and with her. Thirty minutes later, she opened the pitch flawlessly, seemingly unperturbed, and set the stage for the rest of the team. They were stellar and simple. That’s her influence. That’s Carol.”

Daniel Lebret
Senior Lecturer in Real Estate Finance.
School of Hotel Administration, Cornell SC Johnson College of Business



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