Name: Franka G.
Position: Human Resources Fellow
School: Cornell University
Dream destination: New Zealand
Drink or treat of choice: I’m a coffee girl and barista at heart, and lactose intolerant at that, so an oat milk cappuccino is first on my list. And if it’s too late for a coffee, nothing is better than a self-made gin and tonic.
While not everyone comes to Marriott’s HQ Fellowship/Internship Program knowing exactly how their lives will intersect with hospitality, some see the program as the logical next step to pursue a lifelong dream of working in the industry. Franka, a fellow with Marriott HR’s Business Operations Team, is one of those people.
When you walk into a Marriott hotel with Franka, like I was able to do during our program’s hotel tour, you will see her eyes light up, and everything about her body language change. It is obvious to everyone who sees or talks to her that her passion truly lies in the world of hospitality. This passion brought her from Cornell University (Marriott CEO Anthony Capuano’s alma mater!) to Marriott, as the Marriott HQ Fellowship/Internship Program allows for students to be exposed to many aspects of the industry. For students with the same passion as Franka, this kind of exposure is irreplaceable.
“I want to be a general manager and open my own hotel. That has been a dream of mine since I was 15, and I’m still working towards that dream, getting closer every day, one step at a time,” says Franka, when asked about her future aspirations. “This internship, with the connections that I have gotten to build, has been a steppingstone for my career and opened many doors for me, for which I am very grateful. I cannot wait to see what the future holds — may it shine bright!”
Another example of this passion? The slideshow Franka routinely updates to catalogue all the different aspects of each hotel in which she stays.
“I just take notes to make sure that I include the good and exclude the bad in my future hotel!” says Franka, who has been adding to this slideshow ever since she was a child.
Learn more about how Franka is pursuing her dreams with Marriott below.
Tell us about yourself — where are you from, where do you go to school, what do you do for fun?
I’m originally from Germany, I started the Master of Management in Hospitality program at Cornell in August of 2022. If I’m not in class or on campus, you can always find me either outside on a trail or in a coffee shop with a good book and some music playing in my headphones. Oh, and I never leave the house without my camera!
How did you find your way to Marriott?
As a student at Cornell, Tony Capuano’s Alma Matter, I have been part of the Marriott universe for quite some time. We had the immense pleasure of speaking to Tony as part of a masterclass in our spring semester. Through the same class, we were given the opportunity to listen to and learn from a large number of Marriott associates and executives who talked to us about the various business ventures that Marriott has as well as their career paths and how they found their way to the company.
Listening to these people tell their stories, being so welcoming and open to sharing their stories, and seeing how passionate they were about people and hospitality, I knew that I wanted to work for Marriott one day. I am a people person myself — am empath, somebody who works best in a team and first and foremost is passionate about hospitality and bringing people together. So, naturally, Marriott seemed like a great fit.
Why did you ultimately pick a Marriott Internship?
The interview process made me feel very seen, heard, and welcome. I had the opportunity to speak to my current supervisor and a global director, both of whom gave me great insights into their positions and careers at Marriott. It was first and foremost a conversation, getting to know each other and trying to figure out whether my skills and strengths could be developed at Marriott.
In addition, coming from a hospitality and sustainability background, I wanted to incorporate both topics into my internship. During the application process, I was able to choose which departments I wanted to work at, which was not an option at other companies with which I interviewed.
Last but not least, the fellowship at Marriott offers an enticing framework that consists of executive speaker series, training and development workshops, property tours, and so much more, making this much more than “just an internship.”
In your eyes, what makes Marriott stand out from other companies?
Everybody here, no matter what position or department they are in, is passionate about hospitality. All associates work together towards the same goal of bringing people together through unparalleled hospitality experiences. People are truly put first at this company, and that is tangible in the way that associates interact with each other, no matter their level or position.
How has the program impacted your own career aspirations?
I have taken this program as an opportunity to learn as much about the company as possible and network with associates from various departments. Through these conversations I have learned that a surprising number of associates have spent almost their entire careers here at Marriott, some more than 35 years! As a member of Generation Z, that terrifies me. But, as I listened to their stories, how they had worked in 10 different departments, held 10 different positions, and worked on three different continents, I realized that a career path in this industry is never linear.
Moreover, staying with the same company for such a long time does not have to mean that your career is stagnant — quite the opposite, actually. Your career is a lattice, and there will be times when you will have to take a step back in order to move forward. So, while my aspirations remain the same, I have learnt that my career may take me on quite a journey to get where I want to go — but I am now looking forward to that journey more than ever!
What’s next for you?
First and foremost, I want to make the most of my remaining time here at Marriott HQ, and my last semester of my master’s degree at Cornell.
Then, in the short term, I want to learn more about sustainability and all things ESG-related in hospitality. I want to disrupt the industry, be part of a wave of change that my generation will certainly bring to this business, and make sure that we not only operate sustainably, but give back and leave this world a better place.