Name: Abby T.
Position: HR Fellow
University: Seton Hall (Go Pirates!)
Dream destination: Turkey or Scotland
Drink or treat of choice: Coffee – a cappuccino specifically if I can get one.
“How does a creative writing grad student from Amish country end up interning at Marriott?”
Is exactly what I thought to myself the first day I stepped into Marriott’s corporate headquarters in downtown Bethesda, Maryland. It was one of the biggest buildings I had ever seen outside of New York City (the towering HQ has a whopping 21 floors) and all I knew about Marriott was from the years my aunt and uncle had both worked there and the many, many stays I had spent at Marriott hotels growing up.
As a budding author working toward my master’s in creative writing, I had always imagined a very vivid scene when I’d think of my dream job — specifically, me in a brown tweed suit leaning over a manuscript of a novel while sipping tea. While my experience in the Marriott HQ Fellowship/Internship Program was a far cry from the literary haven I had envisioned, I have loved everything about my time at Marriott.
I genuinely didn’t think that I would ever work in the field of hospitality as a creative writing student, but here I am writing for the Life at Marriott blog, getting to write and share stories of Marriott associates from around the world, in all sorts of positions. And it’s not just me — I’ve met so many other interns and fellows in this program who have had similar experiences, students who aren’t majoring in hospitality and don’t aspire to become a prominent hotelier but have still found incredible satisfaction, success, and inspiration during their time here.
For those considering or joining the Marriott HQ Fellowship/Internship Program, here are some tips I’ve garnered during my time here. Hopefully, my advice can help you make the most of it, too.
Attend the Programming Offered
One amazing perk to being at headquarters is all the amazing events that the HQ Internship/Fellowship Program runs, from a top-to-bottom hotel tour to incredible speakers. Sometimes driving around the DC, Maryland, and Virginia area (also known as the DMV) can be extremely stressful, but I’ve never once regretted attending the events designed for us. Even if what you get out of it isn’t what you expect, you will keep learning and networking, a huge benefit of being a part of Marriott.
Being in person has great perks in general – I’ve made some great friends, discovered a newfound love of trail mix (if you don’t have a peanut allergy, check out the free snacks!), and gathered enough Marriott swag for a lifetime. Also, in Marriott’s attempt to reduce their waste, sometimes food left over from meetings will be put out for associates to snack on – and as a graduate student, I can vouch that the best food is free food.
Ask for a Coffee Talk
A coffee talk, for any non-Marriott speakers out there, is basically exactly what it sounds like. You have the opportunity to talk with people over a cup of coffee (or whatever beverage you like!) and get to know them and what they do with Marriott. These are great networking opportunities, and once you’re done with the internship, the opportunity to meet new people will be harder – not impossible, but more difficult.
Take Advantage of Learning Opportunities
One thing Marriott encourages is that all their associates continue their learning in the workplace. In that spirit, they offer not only an amazing speaker series, but they also offer classes through their online learning center. As someone who has subscribed to Masterclass because I find their courses fascinating, I was beyond excited to learn about this. I just finished a course called “How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes” – an opportunity that not only made my English Major heart happy, but also an opportunity I would not have had had I not spent my summer with Marriott.
Stay in Touch
Once you’re done with your internship, you might feel a little like you evaporated into the ether – but make sure that the relationships you made during your time here don’t fizzle out as well. Just by being yourself you’re going to meet all sorts of interesting people who work here, and not only will you want to keep in touch with them (at least I do) – it will be important to have people remember you so that when you do graduate, your name really stands out on an application.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for More
The weeks fly by, so try your best to get as much exposure as you can. Reach out to people, whether it be your manager or other team members, to see if there are additional projects where you can lend a helping hand.
Overall, an internship with Marriott can be an amazing experience regardless of your background, but make sure you’re taking advantage of what you can when you can. I’m really going to miss it here, and I hope that you enjoy your time as much as I have.