May the Finance Be with You
PROVO, Utah – Jun 01, 2022 – In the years since his graduation from the BYU Marriott School of Business in 2014, finance alum Alan Croft has stayed busy creating a global mentoring program for Disney’s magical Florida theme parks, making a case for the building of a new Star Wars themed hotel, and managing a team at Google Fiber. Looking forward, he plans to continue working on projects that give him creative freedom and opportunities to work with others.
Not long after graduating from BYU Marriott, Croft applied and interviewed with The Walt Disney Company in Orlando, Florida. Having grown up in San Diego, Croft frequently went to Disneyland with his family, so he already loved the company. At first, the interview process took him by surprise. “Disney had an incredibly robust, but fun, interview process,” he remembers. “I completed multiple interviews and a case study. After the interviews, the recruiters took me and the other applicants to an amazing dinner at the EPCOT theme park at Walt Disney World. We all watched fireworks and went on a ride together, which was a fantastic experience.”
The interview process reaffirmed to Croft that he wanted to work for Disney. He loved how the company blended the fun, magical elements of its brand into the interviewing process. He was also intrigued by the opportunities to work in many different areas, such as hotels, theme parks, business development, and merchandising. When Disney offered Croft a position in Orlando as a financial analyst, he readily accepted.
Croft believes the collaboration skills he learned in the finance program at BYU Marriott helped him prepare to work at Disney so soon after his graduation. “The finance program provided opportunities for team building and solving complex problems,” he says. “These skills, as well as the concepts I learned in my classes, gave me an edge as I entered the business world.
“The beginning of my career mostly involved building business cases for major capital investments and working with key finance partners,” Croft continues. “Finance often relies on your abilities to be a good partner and work closely with others.”
When Croft became the senior financial analyst for hotel development and strategy at Disney in 2018, he put these skills to good use. One of his favorite career projects was building the business case and financial justification for the Star Wars: Galactic Cruiser, a luxury experience hotel located at Walt Disney World that opened on March 1, 2022.
“I am a huge Star Wars fan, so working on this project felt awesome,” Croft says. “I conducted financial calculations to decide what operating costs we could support to build the hotel. I worked with the creative people on the project to understand their vision. I collaborated with the construction teams to understand how much building the infrastructure would cost. My business case justification and performing model were sent off to our senior leaders so they could examine the project proposal and approve building the hotel.”
After working for Disney for five years, Croft shifted his career in 2020 and joined Google Fiber to manage its finance team. Google Fiber offers broadband internet in 19 cities across the United States and is expanding to new locations. Croft loves the startup nature of Google Fiber, which gives him the flexibility to try new things.
“We have a decent-sized finance and accounting team—about 25 people,” Croft says. “At first, that was quite a shift for me, because when I was working for Disney, there were 600 of us. At Google Fiber, I wear many hats. My job is not just about financing; I juggle different pieces, including working with our partners and solving issues.
“The best part about my job is that I don’t follow a strict black-and-white structure. Typically, I'm responsible for figuring out what our new processes should be,” Croft continues. “I appreciate the knowledge and skills I acquired while working at Disney, because those skills helped me prepare for my various responsibilities at Google Fiber.”
Croft also looks forward to upcoming personal projects that will encourage creativity. While at Disney, he helped create a global mentoring program, which paired new finance and accounting cast members with mentors in the company. His program was first implemented at the theme parks in Florida and eventually caught on in various divisions throughout The Walt Disney Company.
Drawing upon this past experience, Croft recently reunited with some of his former Disney coworkers, and together they started developing a mentoring program focused on college students. “Schools do a fantastic job of preparing students to work in specific career fields, but our program will be focused on ways to help students secure their jobs, addressing topics such as how to interview and craft a résumé,” says Croft. “The program is set to launch soon, and I’m excited for all the opportunities ahead.”
Media Contact: Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: Sarah Calvert