Internships open minds and doors


I recently read a newsletter from SDSU’s L. Robert Payne School of Hospitality and Tourism Management (HTM). As usual, there was a lot of interesting information in it, but what stood out the most to me was an article about student internships.

HTM students get to intern at hotels and other hospitality industry organizations around the world in order to gain valuable experience that will help them down their career paths. These amazing opportunities are just one of the many factors that give SDSU’s HTM students a leg up when they graduate from college and enter the workforce.

I reached out to some of the students to learn more about their internship experiences. The following is an excerpt from Lauren Coolbaugh, an HTM senior graduating this May:

SDSU HTM student Lauren Coolbaugh at her summer internship at The Westin in Maui

“My internship in Maui at the Westin Ka’anapali Ocean Resort Villas really opened my eyes to what a career in hospitality entails.  Working in food and beverage, I learned that it is a lot of hard work, long hours, and the need for constant innovation. It was challenging at times, but so rewarding.

I was given the opportunity to not only observe and assist my managers but improve upon the operation with the projects I was given. I created marketing collateral that was distributed throughout the resort, designed advertising for the restaurants that were displayed in the shuttles and implemented a new beverage pricing structure.

One of my favorite memories from my internship occurred during my first month there. I was given the opportunity to promote one of the restaurants on property on the internet. I invited one of the top dining websites in Maui to review the restaurant. I was excited when they accepted the offer and even more shocked when they showed up and wanted to dine with me!

Doing the best I could to hide my nerves, I sat with the reviewers for almost two hours explaining the concept of the new restaurant and all that it had to offer. At first, I was intimidated by the situation but the women were really nice and put me at ease. They ended up loving the food and ambiance and wrote a rave review for the website. I never expected something like that from my internship but it was a great experience.

My internship really gave me a passion and excitement for my future in the hospitality industry.”

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Filed under College Community, Greater Good, Prospective Students, University News

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