Not Your Average Intern Advice

Eleven years ago my dad said “wouldn’t it be cool to work here” while we were vacationing at a Marriott in Myrtle Beach. This stuck with me, and to think I have just completed my sales internship on the West Coast with this same company makes me incredibly grateful that I was, in fact, able to pursue this dream! Looking back on the past few months,  I am thankful to say I have been many places and gained a lot of valuable insight on the sales field. It is with my final article that I would like to share some advice I have received and implemented during my time at Marriott.

1) Always ask questions 

Asking questions is not a bad thing! It shows that you are interested in doing things correctly and want to learn more about the job. There is no way to know everything right off the bat either. This is an inherent way that employers can gauge your interest in the position or willingness to learn new things.

2) Keep an ongoing list of your projects throughout the summer

This is the piece of advice I want to HIGHLIGHT THE MOST. I started doing this at my internship last summer and it helped tremendously. It does take effort to write down each STAR scenario you experienced at work, each project you did, or each skill you perfected. However, I promise it will be worth it 6 months later when you try to remember the exact scenario or dollar amount you were working with, for an interview.

3) Be a team player

The impact you make isn’t solely what “project-legacy” you leave behind for the office after you are done. To me, it is important to be a team player by helping out in the little ways. By this, I mean being the person who others can count on to lend a helping hand, even if it is not in your area. Be the person who takes out the trash when you see it is full instead of leaving it for someone else. Be the person to clean the fridge out before the weekend without being told to.  Be the unsung hero. Yeah, these tasks maybe aren’t the most glamorous but they are really appreciated by everyone else you work with and will get noticed by the right people. At my internship, being a team player in this sense involved helping out with the wellness committee (executing walks around the campus, sending emails on their behalf, etc.) as well as fundraising for our NextGen Business Council’s charitable efforts.

4) Add value to where you’re working

This one is pretty self-explanatory. I touched on this in my last articles but companies want people who will add value to the company. They want that employee to make the office better off than it was before. An easy way to add value is by completing a meaningful project but you also want to socially add value too (which I will mention below).

5) Don’t forget to have fun!

Employers do not only want productive employees but it is desirable to  have people they can socially connect with too. You want to be memorable and likable. Grab lunch with a coworker, talk to the people working near you, or go to the company picnic. CREATE MEMORIES. Just because you are only there for an internship doesn’t mean you can’t make those connections. At Marriott, us interns left our fun mark by using the toaster oven to make s’mores during our breaks. A lot of people caught on. Due to this, prior to our departure, the office set up a permanent s’mores station commemorating our breaks so that others may enjoy this activity in the future. We also inaugurated a contest for one of our charity projects to pie one of the office leaders in the face with a whipped cream pie. The office really enjoyed that event and will continue it into the future. We made $400 just from that initiative!

6) Do the job you hate

I have had several conversations with the leaders of my office about this topic. Many of them never thought they could have gotten to their director role without doing the job that was not particularly on their radar. They told me to try that job for at least a year. If you end up liking it: great, stick to it! Otherwise, it is only a year and you now have more experience if nothing else. It was by diversifying their experience that they were able to be qualified for their leadership roles. Be open to opportunity.

7) Gratitude is the attitude

Please say thank you whenever possible (especially to your housekeeper)! This really hit home when I worked with the housekeeping department. It was a backbreaking job to do, even for one day. These workers really appreciate it when people show them gratitude. Even outside of housekeeping, this is a good mindset to have because it puts others first. A thankful heart is a happy heart.

In short, this internship has been very beneficial for me in several ways. Through it, I have been able to see the beautiful state of California, experience the operations and atmosphere of the different Marriott hotels (including the Ritz!), and learn more about how sales functions within the hospitality industry. There was never a dull moment, the benefits even as an intern were incredible, and it was good to know that my project was meaningful since it will continue to be used by the office starting Q4. If you are ever thinking about pursuing a job with this company, I highly recommend it and am happy to provide my insights with you from my experience. Thank you for following along with me this summer! If you ever want to grab coffee or chat, I am happy to set something up ( :).


Exploring California!

Even with Marriott’s awesome office environment, having a work-life balance is still very important. To me, maintaining that balance means pursuing my interests outside of work. This includes working out, spending time on the beach, and traveling. Traveling has been one of the best parts of  my internship. I truly did not realize just how much there was to do in California (let alone how big the state is) until being here. There are still so many places I have not been, and I have lived here the entire summer! It is good to get to know the area you are interning in because it will help you to realize if you will enjoy the environment if a long-term opportunity presents itself. As I have learned from being here, there’s a reason people say “West Coast Best Coast.” If you are ever hoping to visit the bear flag state, here are some suggestions of my favorite things to do!

Orange County (OC)

My coworker and I spending the day at California Adventure Park

Even in Orange County, there is still a ton to do outside of shopping at high-end malls or dreaming of driving the Tesla you see next to you on the 405. The area is known for its great beaches and surfing. For these activities, I  recommend Newport Beach and Laguna Niguel. Visiting the original Disney park is an essential thing to do as well! You can easily spend two days at Disney since there are two awesome parks located right next to each other. At California Adventure Park, you can ride the iconic Mickey Mouse ferris wheel or take a stroll along Pixar Pier.
At Disneyland, you can experience classic rides such as It’s a Small World!, Space Mountain, and Haunted Mansion. After a long day there, you can watch the beautiful fireworks display over the Disney castle while eating a dole whip or churro, as the locals do.

The original Disney castle is a lot smaller than I thought it would be, but still such an icon.
Every sunset is different and somehow gets more beautiful! This is near where I live at Newport Beach, CA.






San Francisco (SF)

Dim sum aka dumplings

The “City by the Bay” has a tremendous amount of things to do as well! If you have never been there you have to check out what the city is known for by eating some amazing dim sum in Chinatown, seeing the seals at Pier 39 and Fisherman’s Wharf, enjoying an authentic piece of Ghirardelli chocolate made in SF, getting spooky at Alcatraz, driving on Lombard Street, observing Painted Ladies (for any Full House fans out there), and of course, traversing the world-renowned Golden Gate Bridge. Since it is costly to cross it via car, I recommend biking across for a really cool experience with much less traffic. If you have already visited this city, there is still a plethora of things to do! Northern California is known for its vineyards (Napa is not too far from SF) and colossal redwood trees (which can be seen at Muir Woods, a park not too far from the city). If you are looking for a fun, photographic, and tasty experience, visit the Museum of Ice Cream where you get some ice cream related item in every exhibit! They even have a sprinkle pool (seen on the right). Lastly, when in San Francisco, I would recommend trying some soup in a sour-dough bread bowl made at Boudin, which originated there.

Los Angeles

A view of LA and behind the Hollywood sign from my hike there.

Being only 40 minutes away from the 2nd largest city in the US, I frequented LA a lot and still was not able to do it all. My favorite part of LA was all of the hiking opportunities. There are various hikes near the Hollywood sign as well as Runyon Canyon, which provide an excellent view of the city. Bring plenty of water and sunscreen since it is very dry with minimal shade. Griffith Observatory also has plenty of hiking nearby and a great view of the city. An alternative to hiking would be to walk around Beverly Hills or the Hollywood Walk of Fame to see all of your favorite celebrity stars as well as the TCL Chinese Theatre. If you are hoping to enjoy some air conditioning and fine art on a hot day, I advise going to the Getty Museum, the Getty Villa, the Broad (for modern art), as well as the LACMA. Great food can be found at the Grove or Grand Central Market (which is featured in the movie  La La Land along with Griffith and Angels Flight). Across the street from the market is the architecturally famous Bradbury building, the Last Book Store (a buy/sell used-book store with awesome installations), as well as Angel’s Flight (the world’s shortest railway). Lastly, if you just want to relax on the beach there are still plenty of those around, just a short drive away on Pacific Coast Highway. These beaches include Santa Monica (and the recognizable pier), Malibu, and Venice Beach.


San Diego and Mexico

Views from the splash zone of the dolphin show at SeaWorld.
The sign at the entrance of Tijuana (also known as TJ).

An hour or two south of where I reside in Newport Beach is San Diego. Similar to the rest of these cities mentioned, there is a lot to do here as well! One of my favorite places I have been during this internship was SeaWorld. There is just something magnificent about seeing a 2 ton whale do flips! SeaWorld also has some great rides too and many other kinds of animals to observe. San Diego has a lot of Navy influence as well, so there are plenty of naval ships to see on display. For a chill beach day, you can check out Coronado Island and the famous hotel there featured in the movie Some Like It Hot. If you would like to walk around and see some neat architecture, Balboa Park is also the place for you. A good place for restaurants and drinks is anywhere in the Gaslamp Quarter and Little Italy. And lastly, I recommend to check out Tijuana, Mexico if you are in the area. It is within 30 minutes of San Diego but has so much to offer in terms of culture and authentic Mexican food. It’s also a good way to practice your Spanish:).

In general, there are still so many things in California to do, especially in “SoCal.” The food there is something else, ranging from In-N-Out burgers to the best and freshest fish you will have. Go out of your comfort zone and try poke, I guarantee you will enjoy it! California is definitely a place worth visiting. I am so grateful for my internship that has given me the opportunity to see what life is like on this side of the US!

Project SWAGS

Although I do spend quite some time out of the office doing Marriott related things, I spend a majority of time working in the office on my intern project-SWAGS.

On my first day, it was my mission to leave my impact on the office by improving it. I did not know what exactly that would entail from the get-go, so to gauge areas of improvement, I talked with each director and asked what the office needed the most help with right now. It was when I conversed with my supervisor and the GM that we determined the selling process was not as efficient as it could be.

Right now, the sales managers use “M-Drive,” which is a database containing folders for each region and property, with even more folders within that. The problem with M-Drive, however, is that there is so much information for each property, it can be difficult and time-consuming to navigate to the document you are trying to find. Due to the current drive not being the most organized, it can be hard for sales managers to locate the information the customer wants at the moment, over the phone. A lot of the files also contain a ton of information that is out of date. Ultimately, the group this effects the most are those sales managers working after hours or cross-selling properties that another person usually represents. It is difficult for them to find the information because each region also has its own section set up completely different than the rest.

In an effort to improve this, the intern team and upper management decided the best idea was to create a SharePoint in order to make each region’s properties a standardized “wiki page.” We also wanted it to have a fun acronym so we called it SWAGS which stands for Southwest Area/Group Sales. After much collaboration with my team and sales managers, we were able to narrow down the elements that were the most important for the selling process. From there, we made a template to use for each property that contained these elements and a quick glimpse of the hotel. This includes selling strategies specific to that hotel, meeting space dimensions/floor plans, catering and local restaurant menus, property photos, amenities, ownership information, etc. Making the template was a major feat since each hotel offers different things and is a different size and brand. To combat this, we decided to make a modified template for each type of property based on if it was a resort, full service, or select brand hotel.

From there, we had to scour the M-Drive to find the existing applicable information and manually input it for each page. We also had to comb through all the inaccurate and out of date information. Even after doing that we were still missing a lot of information for each property so we compiled a list of all the missing information we needed to complete the template for that hotel and then sent it to the leader of that region. After that, the leader would contact that hotel and have the property send us the missing information that we would input on the second time around.

Some properties, like resorts, are still gathering the information and will not be able to get back to us before our internship is over. To overcome this, we worked with the GM to select a cadre to carry on the project so that it can stay on track and officially launch for the entire office to use by the start of Q4. We will train the cadre on how to input the supplemental information, create pages, the process of collecting new information going forward, and how to edit the homepage. Prior to training the cadre, in order to collect the new information, we created a cadre email so properties can directly send the cadre information in the future. This will help the SharePoint remain up to date. The homepage contains resources other than property information that are useful to employees such as access to punching in/out, metric measuring tools, HR, and work-a-versaries, just to name a few. To prevent inconsistencies, only the 5 people on the cadre have access to editing it.

Since there were 3 interns and over 100 properties, this has taken a considerable amount of time thus far and is our main project. We also started with the more intensive properties to get the hard ones out of the way. This will let us end on select brand properties which share many similarities.

To break up this giant task, we also took on a philanthropy project as well. Since Marriott has a close partnership with Children’s Miracle Network, we conducted fundraisers for the annual Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC) Walk. With the money that we fundraised, we sponsored volunteers from Marriott to walk in honor of the kids. Participants in this event get to walk around and have early/discounted access to Disneyland. All proceeds benefit this hospital and its good works.  To raise money at our office we held several fundraisers including a 50/50 drawing, a trip to a Marriott in Hawaii raffle, BINGO for cool prizes, and my favorite: a penny war to pie the leader with the most money in the face (which ended up being my boss!). We also coordinated cool prizes such as free Marriott stays in San Diego, LA, and Arizona, movie tickets with candy, and even our GM’s VIP parking spot. In two weeks, we raised over $2000 to benefit this wonderful cause!

My Final Week at Chick-fil-A

Hi Buckeyes!

I am sad to say my summer with Chick-fil-A has come to a close. But, of course, if you know me, you know that I didn’t leave Chick-fil-A or the Atlanta area without a bang.

During my last week at Chick-fil-A, I implemented the processes and KPI tracking system I created, presented my final project to the entire Brand Strategy, Advertising, and Media team, and had as much fun as possible!

Here are the highlights of my last week in Atlanta:


On Monday, I presented to the Brand Strategy, Advertising and Media team. I shared about myself, my key learnings, summer fun,  and the two big projects that I worked on, Cow Appreciation Day and the In-House Creative Agency KPI tracking system.

Final Presentation in The Pulse Room

Later that day, the interns drove south of Atlanta to Dan Cathy’s (the Chairman & CEO of Chick-fil-A) house for food and fun. Upon arrival, Dan gave us a tour of the property. The home featured a variety of vegetation, a garden, running trails, bee houses (a personal favorite of mine), and ample space just for hosting guests. After our brief tour, we made our way toward the garage. We all gathered around tables, shared, in conversation, and enjoyed Fox Brothers barbecue for dinner.

Of course, if you’ve ever met Dan Cathy, you know that it wouldn’t be a proper hang out if fun wasn’t involved. After dinner, Dan invited us to explore his home more. This included ATV riding through the mud trails behind his house!

Here is a group of us interns and Dan Cathy (in the driver’s seat) after riding the ATV’s around his property

Dinner at Dan’s was easily one of the most fun opportunities that I had through this internship.


Tuesday morning I hopped on a plane with Khalilah Cooper, the Director of Service & Hospitality, to Houston, Texas for the day.

One of the great things about Chick-fil-A is that they give you the ability to use your talents and passions in multiple areas within the company. Outside of my projects, I was given the opportunity to voice my experiences in the cultural intelligence space. As Chick-fil-A is growing internationally and into diverse markets, Chick-fil-A operators have seen a need for cultural intelligence training. So, with the help of the International, Service & Hospitality, and Talent Acquisition teams, a cross-functional team was formed to create the capability of cultural intelligence.

In Houston, Chick-fil-A was conducting an operator panel to showcase some of the cultural intelligence training and gain feedback from the operators. It was very interesting listening to the things that operators were dealing with within the restaurant and the growth opportunities for Chick-fil-A.

This was a quick trip and we flew back to Atlanta that afternoon, but it was awesome to be a part of a project that will later effect all of the restaurants and the Support Center.

I couldn’t have been more thankful for people like Khalilah Cooper who saw my passion and found a way for me to use it this summer.


Wednesday afternoon the interns had a celebration on the rooftop of Ponce City Market. (If any of you have been to North Market, I would describe Ponce City Market to be like North Market but on steroids.)

Ponce City Market

OKAY SO,  HERE COMES THE FUN PART OF WEDNESDAY! That night, I bought VIP tickets for a group of us to see WHATUPRG. This show was his first headliner show and what better way to do so than to have it in his hometown. WHATUPRG (Raul Garcia) is a hip-hop artist from the Northwest side of Atlanta. His story is particularly unique to the music industry because he is a Mexican-American artist who has felt the traumatic effects of deportation in his family. When he was younger, his dad got deported to Mexico. RG is rather vocal about this immigration issue and tells the story of hope through his music.

The VIP experience was amazing. Not only were we able to meet RG, but, his family served us tacos, his mother was passing out t-shirts, and we were able to mingle with some of the other opening artists in the room. What a great way to experience the hip-hop scene in Atlanta!

For those looking to read more about WHATUPRG, here is a link to an interview in Culdasac magazine.

WHATUPRG posing in the middle. I’m on the far right. (The rest of the group may not have known his music that well but they had a ton of fun and left the concert in awe.)
RG performing “4 AM” from his album RAUL


Aklesso (one of the openers) and I


Packing day. Bleh.



Our last day 🙁

The interns had a final celebration where we reflected on our internship experiences, took our final group photos, and enjoyed each other’s company before we left to go back home.

One sweet moment at the final celebration was being voted by the intern class to be “The Mostly Likely to Save the Day.” Thanks to the 2019 Chick-fil-A Intern Class for that one, you guys are too sweet.

The White Knight Award.

Picture above: April Lemons, Diversity Recruiter at Chick-fil-A. She recruited both Kiana (pictured on right) and I from Management Leadership for Tomorrow’s Career Prep Program. Can’t thank her enough for her guidance through this summer.

2019 Intern Family (minus a few)

Well, that’s a wrap on the summer. Stay tuned for more information regarding next summer’s internship opportunities. (Some of the positions are already posted on Handshake, go check them out!)

All the best,


Wrap Up

And that’s a wrap!  Just like that, my internship is over and it’s hard to believe school is starting in just a week.  Last week, I had the opportunity to travel to Grand Rapids to present my project to some of the senior leadership team at Meijer!  I spent the past 12 weeks working on improving in stock conditions, and also learning about every aspect of retail.  It was truly rewarding working for a company that is so committed to their team members and communities.  I will never forget this invaluable experience!  I also attended an intern farewell event last Friday, where we had cake and tacos and got to say our goodbyes.  I am sad to be ending my internship at Meijer, but excited for the upcoming school year!  I will be moving into my house on Saturday, so I am starting to get everything ready to go.

Since it’s already August, I wanted to share some tips on finding an internship for the upcoming summer.  I think what’s most important is to start early.  Make a list of companies that you are interested in working for, making sure to note when your application is due or when on campus interviews are.  It can be hard to balance schoolwork with job hunting, but if you stay organized and keep track of application due dates and everything, you won’t feel as overwhelmed.  A great on-campus resource to help with interview skills is becoming QUIC certified.  I recently completed this process and found the mock interview to be incredibly useful.  I was provided much feedback at the end for areas to improve upon and felt more confident having another interview successfully completed.  Wherever your journey takes you, I hope that you find a job you are passionate about at a company you love working for.  I am so thankful for everyone I’ve met this summer and look forward to applying what I’ve learned in my third year at Ohio State.  Thank you for following along on my journey this summer—make it a great school year and GO BUCKS!