“A Day in the Life” is an ongoing series that highlights popular post-MBA job functions, as seen through the eyes of the recent grads in the positions.
How do you take a leading Vegas brand and integrate it to India? Ask Neera Chanani. As head of Caesars Entertainment’s (CZR) hospitality division for South Asia, Chanani has spearheaded the company’s expansion into the region. Her job, which she says has the “energy of a startup with the backing of a global company,” focuses on translating the non-gaming aspects of Caesars’ hotels. “How do you develop a chain of these in a place that’s an emerging market and make it culturally relevant?” Chanani is working on the answer.
Chanani earned her MBA from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management in 2009 and holds a bachelor’s degree in hotel administration from Cornell University. Before joining Caesars, she managed her family’s real estate portfolio and an international dance company. Chanani currently resides in Mumbai. Here’s a look at her daily routine, in her own words (some passages have been edited for space or clarity).
6:00 a.m. I wake up and shoot out a few e-mail responses to my counterparts in the U.S. and Hong Kong.
6:20 a.m. I take a bumpy auto-rickshaw ride to my yoga class and call my sister along the way. I’ve become total yoga fanatic; the morning workout is really critical because it keeps everything balanced with the madness throughout the day.
7:30 a.m. I grab breakfast with my husband around where we live. We chat and look at Flipboard.
8:30 a.m. I go home to get ready and begin my workday, following up on e-mails and making a round of calls. They vary day to day, from developers, investors, consultants, and marketing partners, to colleagues abroad. Today, I call the owner of a development group to brainstorm designs for a hotel we hope to partner on.
10:00 a.m. I jump into the car to go evaluate a potential site for a Caesars hotel and listen to a podcast on the way. I love driving around Mumbai, there’s so much going on.
10:30 a.m. While inspecting the site, I ask the project manager critical questions about permits, approvals, and zoning status to determine the project’s viability. This helps me understand more about the project site and build a timeline.
11:30 a.m. I head to the airport and check in for a flight to Delhi. I’m planning to open a Caesars regional office in India, so I BBM with a few agents about available space for an office. BlackBerry Messenger is crucial; we use it all the time.
1:00 p.m. During the flight, I have some food and chai, and review a hotel project’s feasibility report that I’ll be discussing later in a meeting.
3:00 p.m. I’m back on the road. I call a Bollywood entertainment company to chat about programming for future entertainment venues.
3:30 p.m. I get to the office and discuss the feasibility report and projections I reviewed on the plane with a consulting team. I really enjoy feasibility discussions because it’s exciting to predict a project potentially creating jobs and impacting the local economy.
4:30 p.m. I check in to the hotel where I’m personally welcomed by the manager. Service is second to none in India.
5:00 p.m. When I get to my room, I review a model and pitch for proposal I am bidding on, and send comments to counsel in Las Vegas on an agreement that I will be negotiating later this week.
6:00 p.m. An investor and I meet up for a drink. We talk about the latest news in the hotel industry and about a specific deal his fund is interested in.
7:00 p.m. I rush over to a Japanese restaurant to meet the CEO of a regional hotel group to discuss partnering on a multi-brand project coming up.
9:00 p.m. I head back to my room. The U.S. is up, and I have an update call with our global head of development to ensure regional strategy is aligned with our global strategy.
10:00-10:30 p.m. I finally get to unwind by watching an old rerun of Seinfeld, and I jot down to-dos for tomorrow. I’m in a sci-fi phase and read Dune until I fall asleep.