Student Spotlight: Cohort 15's Andrew Kerzmann Vice President, Hotel Operations - Sycuan Casino and Golf Resort

Photo by Evan McGinnis

Sep. 6, 2017

Another first for the UNLV Executive MBA program: Andrew Kerzmann, Cohort 15, met the woman of his dreams among his fellow cohort members.  And, he took a major leap forward in his career, accepting an exciting and significant promotional opportunity in San Diego.  Talk about a transformational experience!

In July 2017, after a successful ten-year career with MGM Resorts International, and one-year into the 18-month EMBA program, Kerzmann left Las Vegas for San Diego and his new position as vice president of hotel operations for Sycuan Casino and Golf Resort where he is overseeing the development of a new 300-room guest tower, and providing strategic direction and guidance at the property’s existing hotel and golf course. 

According to Kerzmann, plans call for the first quarter 2019 completion of Sycuan’s new guest tower, which will include numerous food and beverage venues; a three-pool area with a lazy river; luxurious spa facility, and meeting rooms, including a grand ballroom.

During his tenure with MGM Resorts, Kerzmann served as executive director of hotel operations at The Mirage; director of front office at The Mirage; hotel manager at New York New York; front office manager at The Signature at MGM Grand; and assistant hotel manager at New York New York.

“Competition is fierce in the hospitality industry,” said Kerzmann. “Working in hotel operations provides invaluable experience, but to gain a professional competitive edge you need the leadership skills to understand the industry at a higher level and the applicable knowledge to strategize and plan for the future. It’s that balance between experience, strategy, and leadership that employers look for when hiring individuals for senior-level executive positions.”

Kerzmann notes that working toward his UNLV EMBA clearly distinguished him from other candidates and is allowing him to progress further and faster in his career. “There’s no doubt that my UNLV EMBA education gave me the business skills, credibility and confidence to land my current position,” said Kerzmann. 

Kerzmann also observes that prospective employers recognize the commitment it takes to manage a full-time job while attending school. “That dedication to self-improvement and motivation speaks volumes when being recruited for an upper-management position.”

In addition to bringing his substantial operational acumen to Sycuan, the move is giving Kerzmann the opportunity to broaden his understanding of the hotel development side of the hospitality industry. “It’s a bridge to expanding my long-term career potential,” he said. ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­

“The EMBA program is more than a stepping stone for your career. It gives you tools to apply in each facet of your business and personal lives,” he said. “Ultimately, you get a broader array of professional options. I have a different mind-set and the ability to look far beyond my original capabilities.”

While investigating EMBA programs, Kerzmann said UNLV was on his radar, but he was sold on the program after talking with peers who are program alumni, and after getting to know Nikkole Liesse, EMBA director (UNLV EMBA alumna/2009) and Carissa Marquez, program manager. “Nikki and Carissa are the heart the program. They make it easy for the students to focus on learning.”

"I’ve also enjoyed getting to know the members of my cohort. Our group had an immediate connection. I’m extremely fortunate to have learned with and from such extraordinary people. The careers of UNLV EMBA alumni will take them to leadership roles around the globe creating a world-wide network of professionals,” Kerzmann added.

“The UNLV EMBA program helps you realize you can achieve anything you want - as long as you are prepared to invest the time and effort. If someone is considering pursuing their EMBA, don’t put it off,” he said.

By the way - for all the romantics out there, Kerzmann's love, Kristi Brooks, account director with Bonotel Exclusive Travel and Cohort 15 member, will be joining him soon in San Diego upon their completion of the EMBA program - together.