The Las Vegas Trek

The ultimate in living life like a to get an invitation to the exclusive club “Paiza” at the Venetian. The club’s motto? “Nothing is impossible as long as it’s legal.” Everything is available-from gangster 8000 square foot suites (they even have plasma TVs in the shower), to the finest selection of wines and round the clock butler service with chefs from all over the world. And everything is on the house.

So the logical question is, “How do you get invited to this club?” It does not matter whether you are a celebrity, a multi-millionaire or even the manager of the main Venetian tower. For starters, you should be willing to gamble $10M in one night, with a minimum hand of $185K. Alternatively, you could have gone on the HBS Vegas trek organized by Hospitality and Travel Industry Club.

The trek started with a meeting with Harrah’s executives, which was followed by a tour of Caesar’s Palace by Mr. Dean Allen (VP, HR). He showed us the back operations and talked about the challenges in running the biggest hotel in town, with 6000 rooms. After walking around the hotel, spread across 5000 acres, we were ready for the exquisite dining experience for which Vegas is known. Tao was our destination (do not even bother to compare it with the one in NY). The food and the service at the restaurant were amazing, and, of course, the free flowing wine was an extra bonus-it does take a few extra bottles for the usual HBS students to come out of their shells. This was a perfect start to a night which ended at the TAO nightclub.

The next day started with the Carnival Brunch at Rio. Vegas is all about excess, and brunch was not an exception. From there we proceeded to the tour of The Venetian given by Mr. Paul Dungo, who was the T&D Specialist. Apart from the great hotel and convention center, we were shown the jewels of Venetian-the Paiza club, Vegas’ best poker room and $5 million tables. After this heady experience people were ready to party it up again, Vegas style.

The final day started with a breakfast with the Wynn executives. We were shown the luxurious Wynn suites that offered the best view of the strip. From Wynn we proceeded back to the Venetian to meet Mr. Sheldon Adelson, a serial entrepreneur, the third richest American according to Forbes, the new owner of the pseudo strip in Macau, and of course the owner of the Venetian. He talked about his vision and the evolution of the gaming industry (i.e. gambling), the second oldest industry in the world (first one is anyone’s guess). He was kind enough to answer questions from us curious students and in the process, inspired all the wannabe entrepreneurs.

Needless to say, if you were not on the Vegas trek, you missed one hell of an experience.

This was a great job on the part of the organizers. Special thanks should go to Patrick Bosworth (OI), Dawn Lee (OH) and Noah Brodsky (OI).

October 30, 2006
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