claire shares her story of gaining management experience after college with marriott
Courtesy of Claire L.

Name: Claire L.
Position: Event Management Voyager
Location: San Antonio Marriott Rivercenter on the River Walk and San Antonio Marriott Riverwalk
Dream destination: Sydney, Australia
Drink or treat of choice: Strawberry lemonade

The building blocks to career success include knowing what it is that you want — what you’re working to build. What do you want to be doing? What job title do you want? How many people do you want to manage?

Creating a blueprint for your career is key, but jumping from that design to a finished product is a whole different challenge. One common hiccup? In order to reach your desired role, you need to have relevant experience. But how do you get that experience in the first place? For instance, if your goal is to be a manager, and all management jobs require management experience, what are you supposed to do?

In this way, success can often feel like an impossible riddle, but thankfully, getting key experience for career growth is central to Marriott’s Voyage Program, our 12-to-18-month global leadership development program for recent college grads.

→ Learn More About Marriott’s Early Career Programs & Opportunities

Claire, an Event Management Voyager in San Antonio who graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia’s business school in 2023, says getting that hands-on managerial experience right out of college has been her favorite part of the whole program. That aspect, in particular, has been unique and useful in helping her realize her dreams.

“I don’t think I could get this management experience anywhere else; the Voyage Program gives me the chance to step into a leadership role right off the bat,” Claire says. “I have learned what to do and what not to do from those who know best. I’ve loved shadowing different positions within our Event Operations department because it’s helped me understand the expectations from our end to the guest’s point of view.”

claire shares her story of gaining management experience after college with marriott

Courtesy of Claire L.

Getting exposure to management just scratches the surface of what Claire loves about the Voyage Program. Below she outlines other bright spots—including networking, building friendships with coworkers, planning off-site events, and more.

What’s your job in the Voyage Program?

I’m an Event Management Voyager at the San Antonio Marriott Rivercenter on the River Walk and the San Antonio Marriott Riverwalk in Texas. I was originally in the Event Operations department and was responsible for managing events on the floor, from beginning to end. Now, I’m in the Event Manager role, and I work directly with our Event Managers. I’ve been learning how to successfully plan an event, which includes communicating needs and expectations from clients to our team, and detailing events.

How did you end up in the Marriott Voyage program? What was your admission process like?

While attending the University of Missouri, I decided to attend a career fair a different college was hosting because I wanted to practice talking to recruiters. I was also curious about whether any interesting hospitality companies were attending. It turned out there were; I ended up speaking with a Marriott International representative, and I liked what I was hearing. I had an interview the next day for the Voyage Program; I submitted a self-assessment and a simple video interview. Within two weeks of meeting my recruiter at the career fair, I had received my official offer.

claire shares her story of gaining management experience after college with marriott

Courtesy of Claire L.

How would you describe your experience as a Marriott associate?

My experience here at Marriott has made me feel nothing but cared for and trusted. [The Riverwalk and River Center properties] have such a helpful and friendly environment. Whenever I step into a new role, every associate offers me a hand and makes it clear that I can always ask for help. Everyone is personable and is genuinely interested in each other’s lives, which makes coming into work even better.

How have you felt supported in your role?

From my first day, everyone has been very warm and welcoming. I always feel comfortable and like I can be myself at work. My direct supervisors are amazing. They want to know how I am doing and what I’m learning. I’ve always felt like I can go to them with any concerns or questions. They have done a really good job at encouraging me and leading by example as well. A lot of the big lessons I’ve learned are from mistakes I’ve made. So, having managers who are understanding and want me to succeed has played a big role during my time here.

claire shares her story of gaining management experience after college with marriott

Courtesy of Claire L.

What does a good day at work look like for you?

A good day at work usually starts with catching up with my coworkers, who are hilarious and fun. Then, I check my emails. (I keep an eye on my inbox throughout the day so I can be sure to answer clients and other associates who have urgent questions.) The rest of the morning is usually filled with knocking tasks off of my to-do list before our department eats lunch together in the cafeteria. If I have extra time, I like to help out our other Event Managers; I always love getting to see their events come to life as well as interacting with guests and helping out wherever I can.

What are some of the more unique or exciting projects you’ve been able to take part in at Marriott?

I was able to help work an event at our off-site partnering venue, Knibbe Ranch, where we hosted 1,000 people for a western night of Texas-centered attractions. We had a real longhorn present, a rodeo, a house band performance in the dance hall, mechanical bull riding, and more. It was my first time seeing a drone show—it was by far the coolest thing I’ve been able to take part in while I have been here.

claire shares her story of gaining management experience after college with marriott

Courtesy of Claire L.

How have you made the most out of your Voyage experience?

I’ve taken advantage of the opportunity to build a network within the hospitality industry. When colleagues at Marriott see my title as a “Voyager,” they seem to be eager to help and offer advice in any way they can. I have met some amazing people who are experts in their field, and it has been a gift to be able to ask them as many questions as I can. Since I am just now starting my career, I have been trying my best to absorb everything I can from everyone I meet with the time I have in the program.

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