I interned in the Human Resources department of the Waldorf Astoria New York through Hilton Worldwide’s Corporate Property Internship program.
HOW DID YOU FIND THIS OPPORTUNITY? I was recruited for this position at the National Society of Minorities in Hospitality 2014 National Conference. The resume that I had prepped with Kim helped me to land an interview. The interview skills that I learned through different NSMH workshops, Transitions course, and general advice from Isenberg faculty and peers helped me to land the position.
WHAT HAS YOUR EXPERIENCE BEEN LIKE AND WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED? The experience was unlike anything I ever imagined. The hotel is so fast-paced that I was kind of “thrown into the fire” (in a good way) and forced to learn quickly. To put things into perspective, the Waldorf Astoria New York & Waldorf Astoria New York Towers takes up a whole city block (between 49th St and 50th St, and Park Ave and Lexington Ave.)
I rotated through each department for the first three weeks, and then I settled into HR as my home department. Being in the Human Resources department, I was actively involved in helping to keep the 1400+ employees feel taken care of and appreciated. I learned how to (1) keep up at a fast pace and (2) cater my interactions to meet the needs of individual team members. I also learned a lot about training & development, FMLA, recruitment, and labor relations (i.e. unions.)
The team at the Waldorf Astoria ensures that interns are not “just filing & getting coffee.” Yes, I did administrative work because that does need to happen in an office setting, but I also was given numerous challenging projects and responsibilities. These projects exposed me the world of HR, as well as the hospitality industry in general.
WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHER STUDENTS? I have two pieces of advice. When you start at a new place, to start becoming part of the team, just say “hi” to everyone. Upon arrival on property, multiple team members gave me this piece of advice, and I did not understand why saying hi was such a big deal. You will always run into the same people for different things. By building that friendly relationship, you help foster a happy workplace, as well as relationships that will help you in the future.
The second piece of advice is do not be scarred to ask questions. I realized that people love being able to answer questions and share their knowledge with someone else. I learned so much and gained trust from my coworkers because they knew that when I was struggling, I would not hesitate to admit that I did not know everything.