Isenberg Hospitality Students Gain Exposure to Leading Hotel Corporation and Executives

January 22, 2014

The Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management (HTM) at Isenberg in partnership with Marriott International, Inc. introduced high-performing, high-potential HTM students to a unique experiential learning opportunity. On October 10, 2013, 15 students traveled with their instructor and HTM Department Head, Dr. Haemoon Oh, to Marriott Headquarters in Bethesda, Maryland, where several senior executives spoke to the students regarding Marriott's Voyage training program and other leadership topics. The students also spent time at the award-winning Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel for a full day of property immersion and training.  "At Isenberg, we make it a priority to integrate hands-on experience into our curriculum as it helps our students prepare for a long-term leadership career," says Dr. Oh.


The students' three-day visit to the D.C./Bethesda area included presentations from key executives at the Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel, as well as an entire day at Marriott Headquarters in Bethesda. Students received a rare behind-the-scenes view at the Innovation Lab, where Marriott tests new concepts that have not been released to the public. They also had presentations in the executive conference room. "Not only did I learn about Marriott as a company, but I also was able to learn how to succeed within the industry," said HTM major Alexandra Haddad. "In order to move up in a company, you have to go beyond expectations and commit to being the best," said fellow HTM major Sam Roccapriore. In addition to executive presentations, students learned about Marriott's annual "JW Awards of Excellence" program, which recognizes employees at all levels across the globe. The students also learned about Marriott's history, from an A&W root beer restaurant in Washington D.C to a global lodging company operating 3800 hotels in 74 countries.


The Marriott visit was enriched by key members of the University Relations Department who work closely with UMass Amherst HTM and with the help of Denise Durgin, an HTM alumna and Director of Sales and Marketing at the Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel. "It was exciting to give back to these ambitious students with a keen look "behind the scenes" at Marriott International from the lens of our corporate headquarters to what it is like to work at a hotel once you graduate from the HTM program," she observed. "It was important to let the students see what an amazing, diverse company Marriott is as well as have the students hear about the outstanding Voyage training program that Marriott has developed for college graduates who are accepted into this training program."  


The visit was part of Global Hospitality Leadership, a three-credit, upper-level elective course in Isenberg's highly ranked HTM program. Now in its third year, the course includes talks, presentations and visits from industry leaders and alumni. "This is one of our finest examples of collaborations with corporate partnerships and alumni engagement. We want to continue working with companies and executives in preparing our students better," said Professor Oh. "It makes a huge difference for the students."  High potential HTM students agree. "Overall, the trip that Dr. Oh planned was an incredible learning experience. As a hospitality major, hands-on experience is the best way to prepare yourself for what is to come in the future," said class participant Alexandra Haddad. 


About Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel:

Situated at the 28th block of South Potomac Avenue in Arlington, just south of the Crystal City dining and business districts, the hotel is minutes from the offices of PBS, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and government agencies like the Pentagon and EPA. Conveniently located a ½ mile from Reagan National Airport and near the Crystal City Metro Station on the Yellow and Blue lines, the hotels provide complimentary shuttle service to and from the airport and metro station. Guests are also within minutes from national and local attractions such as the Arlington National Cemetery, The Smithsonian Institute, The Kennedy Center and the National Mall.