Hear her roar

Las Vegas sign.

As an 11-year-old growing up in Paris, Nathalie Taureau, MBA ’17, saw MGM’s famed golden lion roar on TV and was instantly transfixed.

“I wanted to be that lion, to have that freedom and power,” she says.

Of course, she couldn’t actually become the lion—but she could work for MGM. From then on, the precocious youngster, who loved numbers and entertainment in equal measure, dreamt of working in hospitality.

Today, Taureau is the revenue manager for both the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, and the Delano Hotel, two of the top destinations on the Las Vegas Strip. She manages more than 4,000 rooms at the MGM properties, developing and implementing pricing strategies and evaluating market share to achieve maximum occupancy and revenue.

“My motto has always been if you work hard and believe in your dream, you will make it happen,” says Taureau. “It may be hard, but you will never know until you try.”

After graduating as valedictorian and earning a bachelor’s from Institut Superieur de Gestion, a Paris-based business school, Taureau took a revenue management job at an oil and gas company in Houston, Texas. But to achieve her ultimate goal, she knew she needed the soft skills an MBA could provide.

Taureau says she chose the UB MBA program because of its strong leadership and consulting components, and concurrently enrolled in Cornell University’s online hospitality master’s program to beef up her skills in that area. At the School of Management, she participated in the student-run MBA Consulting Group and earned LeaderCORE™ certification at the highest level: role model.

“Las Vegas is the most challenging market for hospitality in the United States. Every day, there are issues, and you have 30 seconds to make a decision,” Taureau says. “What LeaderCORE taught me was how to make quick, good decisions, as well as how to collaborate, compromise and be a good leader.”

After graduation, she moved to Vegas, first as an associate revenue manager at MGM’s 3,000-room resort The Mirage, before being promoted to her current position. Taureau says the best part of her role is supporting and collaborating with many departments—from the front desk to senior leadership—and serving as both mentee and mentor to her colleagues.

“I get better every day because I’m able to interact with and learn from other people,” she says. “That’s why I make sure I spend two hours every week meeting with new people at MGM. We’re a community.”

Last fall, Taureau was honored as one of the top 30 under 30 rising stars in the global hospitality industry by Hotel Management magazine, and was nominated for Emerging Hospitality Leader of the Year by both the Nevada Hotel and Lodging Association and the American Hotel and Lodging Association.

Next, she has her sights set even higher, hoping to move into hotel development within the next year and eventually become a leader in hotel commercial real estate. To get there, she’s studying for her PhD from the UB School of Architecture and Planning, and preparing to publish her research outlining how hotels and casinos can better attract millennials over the next few decades by redesigning the hotel and gaming experience.

“In the MBA program, we learned to be leaders of the future,” says Taureau. “I want to shape the future of MGM and make decisions that will impact the entire industry. That’s my next move.”

The Vegas Strip better be ready.

Written by Matthew Biddle