Hospitality Management student ‘almost a different person’ after Hershey internship
Emily Mitnick, a Hospitality Management major at York College of Pennsylvania, recently spent her summer as a guest relations intern at the Hotel Hershey.
Along with the Hotel Hershey, Hershey Entertainment & Resorts owns/operates several businesses, including Hersheypark, Hershey Country Club, Hersheypark Stadium and the Giant Center.
Emily understood the magnitude of this opportunity during the internship’s interview process, and it became even more apparent last summer while living with five other Hershey student interns who came from much bigger colleges, including Penn State University, Ohio State University and University of Missouri.
“Just because you go to a small school doesn't mean you are limited to small opportunities,” she says. “You still have access to the large opportunities that students have at large state schools.”
The interview process
Emily transferred from Shippensburg University into York College’s Hospitality Management program in 2015. The program requires students to complete three work experiences during their academic careers.
Emily learned of the Hershey internship opportunity from recruiters who visited York College in October 2016, and she applied immediately.
After hearing back from the company a couple of weeks later, she went through a three-part interview process.
First, a video interview required her to submit two-minute, on-the-spot answers to various questions.
Then, after a phone interview with a manager at Hershey, she received an invitation for the final stage: an on-site interview. This included a networking dinner with various managers followed by a long day of 11 20-minute interviews with various employees from the Hotel Hershey and Hershey Lodge.
“The interview process was intense,” she says. “I have never been through anything like that before.”
Ultimately, the company chose Emily as one of about 50 students worldwide to intern with Hershey Entertainment & Resorts that summer, including two other York College students.
Learning the ropes
Once she nailed down the internship, Emily says it was far from a walk in the park. Rather than handle the grunt work and fetch coffees for employees, she learned on the job and had real responsibility while making important decisions along the way.
Her primary duty as a guest relations intern involved handling reservations for VIP hotel guests. Emily greeted the guests upon their arrival, answered questions, made necessary reservation changes and handled several of the guests’ needs during their stay.
She also learned a lot during shadowing sessions with the hotels guest relations manager. Emily experienced several other areas of the hotel during shadowing sessions with housekeeping, concierge, reservations, and operators.
Throughout the experience, she says she developed several hospitality management skills. She gained a lot of confidence in herself and learned a great deal about leadership and problem solving.
“I returned in August almost a different person from who I was before the internship,” she says.
Prepared for the road ahead
Emily’s experience inspired her to pursue a career in resort lodging after she graduates.
“I'm so blessed to have such an amazing opportunity from York College.”
The size of the school is an aspect that Emily appreciated throughout her time at York College — something from which students of all majors can benefit.