photos by Doreen Fang and Janelle Hope

On February 7th, I had accepted the offer to participate in MGM Resorts International’s internship program. I was exploring topics to cover in this month’s issue, but couldn’t resist the urge to recount my Food and Beverage internship experience. Since early June, I’ve been an intern of MGM Resorts International, committed to learning and forming experiences.

It all started in February, with a phone call from a college recruiting representative. I was offered an internship as the Food and Beverage intern with The Signature at MGM Grand. Ever since the application deadline and initial interview in November 2017, I thought this was all beyond my reach. Yet, an opportunity presented itself and opened a branch of roads.

I knew I wanted to embrace and embody this core belief: “In our eyes, entertainment is not an extracurricular—it’s a fundamental human need. Therefore, we exist to entertain the human race.” MGM Resorts International’s mission statement and culture compels me to uplift daily negative energies and seek collaborative opportunities. Under a unified company culture, I am to be the best performer that I can be, desiring daily improvements and positive social change.

I found the internship ideal for professional development, community engagement and critical thinking. I entered the internship program with one simple goal: gaining operations knowledge. This is because I want to truly understand the procedures behind industry experiences and be able to construct thought-provoking ideas.

The Hospitality Internship Program (HIP, for short) is a 10-week summer internship which provides participants with career and professional development. MGM’s college program includes customized learning plans, an information session, Corporate Social Responsibility event and outreach opportunities, Resort Knowledge days and a capstone case study project. 

Anyone interested in the internship program should be aware and keep in mind: “This internship is what you make of it. It’s your journey and you get what you put into it,” a college program manager said. In retrospect, interns are surrounded by industry leaders who provide career navigation and constructive criticism.

One such leader is assigned to each intern: An advisor who is a manager or higher within their respective department. I had the pleasure of having Ms. Doreen Fang, the Senior Hotel Operations and Food & Beverage Manager at The Signature, mentor me. She provided me insight for the office environment and shared direct constructive criticism when it was appropriate. She taught me a crucial lesson in self-development and professionalism: “Everything you do is a reflection of yourself, so be very conscientious of how you present yourself, how you act and how you speak,” Ms. Fang said.

With my advisor’s help, I was able to map a schedule that best suited my desired learning goals; it not only illustrated my path, but allowed me to communicate with the departments in advance. Instead of committing to one department within Food and Beverage, I decided to make my journey broader and rotated through Outlet Operations, Culinary & Stewarding, Catering & Banquets and Food & Beverage Administration. My first weeks were spent shadowing line-level employees and managers of each outlet: Starbucks, Delights, Delights Delivery and the pool. My activities ranged from handling the point-of-sales system, inventory management or outlet inspections. 

When it came time to rotate to back-of-house, the difference from front-of-house was almost unnoticeable since the two are closely united. It was my first step into a commercial kitchen and I had an immediate opportunity: I made my first ‘Classic Scramble’ and a ‘Chicken Pesto Sandwich’ for guests of Delights. My second task was reorganizing the walk-in cooler and counting bread inventory. I spent the last couple days with Stewarding, familiarizing myself with their cleaning supplies and surveying the property.

My tasks were detail-oriented and required prior back-of-house knowledge to which I owe to UNLV. I recognized that I lack experience in Catering, Banquets and Convention Sales. After bringing it to Ms. Fang’s attention, I observed their department and provided an external perspective to the catering/banquet team. Firstly, I needed to learn their procedures and lingo. Within two days, I had the pleasure of completing my own mock banquet event order using their booking and sales systems. Their supervisor and servers showed me their banquet areas, meeting spaces and pre-function areas.

Acquainting myself with the Food and Beverage team at The Signature has opened doors to eye-opening experiences. One of the Assistant Food and Beverage Managers invited our team to the Cîroc VS launch event at APEX Palms, where I had the pleasure of tasting a new French brandy.

To College Recruitment at MGM Resorts and the Food & Beverage Team at The Signature: thank you. I joined forty-four exceptional interns, gained the mentorship of management and engaged with a limitless number of leaders. Every moment I take the stage and live the Show.