Work hard, play hard, save hard, says Conrad Dubai manager
Andreas Jersabeck has been the general manager of Conrad Dubai since December last year. The Austrian has enjoyed an extensive career spanning 38 years in the hospitality industry. He started his career with Hilton Worldwide in 1975 at the Hilton Vienna and has since held a series of hotel management roles around the world, including at the London Hilton on Park Lane. In his spare time he enjoys tennis, ballroom dancing and travelling. He is fluent in German and English and is conversational in French, Japanese and Croatian.
Describe your financial journey so far.
Having started work at the age of 15, I was an ambitious young boy whose dream was to travel and see the world. My values were very much instilled in me by my father, who when I was younger had told me that if I really wanted a motorbike, I would need to save up to buy it. Back then, of course, a motorbike was something that I really wanted, and I couldn’t imagine giving up on that dream. It took me a long time to save enough to actually afford one, and when I finally was able to I was simply not interested in motorbikes anymore. As I grew older what I needed and desired changed, and so did my ambition. I set my eyes on bigger things – an apartment, a car – and the story goes on. What I really wanted was to be financially independent. I am now a happy owner of two apartments with the intent of hopefully owning more. I have come a long way from that boy whose first dream was to buy a motorbike.
Are you a spender or saver?
Definitely a saver. The hotel business is so transient, with a lot of movement from one property to another. You never really know where you will end up next, so savings and long-term planning becomes an imperative part of the process. Having said that, I do enjoy spending on certain things; work hard and play hard.
What is your philosophy towards money?
Work hard, invest wisely, and be smart about how to make your finances work for you.
Have you made any financial mistakes along the way?
Not that I can recall. With investments, there’s always an associated risk, and the higher the risk the higher the profit. I guess what I’m trying to say is you win some and you lose some, and looking back I wouldn’t do anything differently. No regrets.
If you won Dh1 million, what would you do with it?
The first thing I would do is plan the trip of a lifetime, and then I would invest the rest probably in property or some kind of long-term investment.
What has been your biggest financial lesson?
To appreciate the value of money and what it buys. This goes back to the first lesson my father taught me about saving in order to get the things you want. I have also passed this tradition on to my son.
Do you plan for the future?
Of course. There’s a lot of long-term planning involved when you work in hospitality. In my 38 years working with Hilton Worldwide I have moved across continents and countries. In order to do that, and do it successfully, you need to plan your finances properly.
What do you enjoy spending money on?
Quality of life. Clothing, property, travel, decorative items, and interior design – you name it. In hospitality you work extremely hard and for long hours, so it’s nice to come home to something comfortable and beautiful; your own sanctuary. I made it a point to always purchase items from all the countries where I’ve lived and take them with me wherever I go next. It’s a nice way of validating the time spent there and merging elements of your former and new life.
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