Before I came to HBS, I worked in consulting. I knew that I wanted a different experience for my summer and looked at multiple leadership development programs. One stood out: Marriott’s Management Acceleration Program.

With Marriott, I’m spending my summer between Barcelona and London. In Barcelona, I gained hands-on experience in two of Marriott’s most amazing properties, the W Hotel and the Hotel Arts, which belongs to the Ritz-Carlton brand.

In the five weeks that I spent in Barcelona, I rotated multiple times between the various departments of the two hotels. It’s hard to point to a single highlight because I enjoyed so many experiences. Among them was working in a professional kitchen. That was definitely a first for me! On that day, I thought a lot about the TOM class (Technology and Operations Management), which we had during the first year at HBS. Questions such as “where is the bottleneck” and “how can we improve the capacity of our production in the kitchen” came to mind. Likewise, my experience with the housekeeping and room cleaning staff reminded me of discussions from the first year about company culture and the importance of recognizing and appreciating hard work.

During my time in Barcelona, I was able to see the operations of the hotels, understand the financial model of the hospitality industry, get to know their marketing strategies and see how crucial HR is to attracting and retaining the right talent. Finally, I experienced the excellent culture of the W Hotel and the Hotel Arts.

Now, it's time to head to London and start the second half of my internship. I'll be working at Marriott's European Headquarter and apply this newly learned knowledge while working with the corporate team.

I am excited to expand my skillset in a new geographic location and look forward to the second half of my leadership program.