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The Collins College Of Hospitality Management

Student Gets Her Pick of Internships

Julie Park had her choice of four offers

Julie Park

Collins College junior Julie Park was in an enviable position. She not only had a summer internship lined up, she had offers from four of the largest, most prestigious hotel brands in the region.

Residence Inn by Marriott in Newport Beach. Starwood for Westin in downtown Seattle. Hilton Anaheim. Hyatt Regency Orange County.

All she had to do was choose.

After narrowing her choices to Marriott and Hyatt, Park turned to Ann Lara, the college’s career services coordinator, to help her decide.

Lara works directly with Collins College students to provide advice and resources to help them make important career decisions. She connects with employers to develop networking, internship and job opportunities for students. And, she offers career readiness services like resume writing tips and mock interviews.

When Park met with her, Lara suggested she research the different company cultures to determine which one would be the best fit for her professionally.

“An internship is really a trial run to see if the company is somewhere she would want to work permanently,” Lara said. “It’s easier to make the right decision the first time.”

Lara encouraged Park to contact alumni of The Collins College, which is well represented at both hotel chains, and ask them about what they like about their respective employers. Together, they filled out a worksheet designed to match student interests with company cultures.

“Ann was the one who really helped me out,” Park said. “I was so torn in the beginning between Marriott and Hyatt because both companies had a lot to offer me and room for me to move up.”

In the end, Park chose Hyatt primarily because of the relationship she had built with Nicole Watase, the human resources recruiter, and others she had met. Unlike some other companies, that made an offer and that was that, multiple Hyatt representatives called and emailed Park asking if she had made a decision and offering to answer any questions she might have.

“All the people I interviewed with, I could see it when they talked to me, just showed how much they loved the company and how passionate they were about the brand and providing quality customer service,” Park said.

Watase met Park when Watase was on campus recruiting students for some open food and beverage positions. Hyatt had not started hiring summer interns so she told Park to keep in touch.

“We started to communicate pretty regularly,” Watase said.

When the corporate office started recruiting for summer interns, Watase passed along Park’s name. Watase was impressed with Park’s demeanor and experience, including her current position  as resident advisor for Housing Services at Cal Poly Pomona.

“She was very straightforward,” Watase said. “She made eye contact from the beginning and never looked away. She was very confident and came across very positive.”

After several interviews, Park was offered a 10-week corporate division internship dividing her time between the front desk and housekeeping.

“I’m excited to work for Hyatt over the summer,” Park said. “I want to learn as much as I can about the company and working for a hotel. I love hospitality, and I’m looking forward to starting my career off right.”

This story originally appeared in the 2014 spring issue of Collins magazine.