Monday, November 8, 2010

Internship Profiles

A number of people had some really unique and cool internships this Summer, and Dianna Spring was one of those students. After spending Spring Quarter in Italy, Dianna returned to the Chicago area to work for Harrah's Entertainment. Here are Dianna's thoughts on her internship...

Internship in Casino Marketing (Dianna Spring ’11)


Experience prior to Booth: Marketing Analyst at a Financial Services firm, Sallie Mae for four years: promoted to Marketing Manager for Fifth Third Bank and Regions Bank after beginning career in Strategic Sales and the Management Rotational Training Program

What do you like most about the marketing career/internship that you have chosen?

Harrah’s Entertainment provides a high level of exposure to senior management through its President’s Associate Internship Program. I had a chance to fly to Vegas over the summer and meet the CEO (a former Harvard Professor) in addition to the entire senior management team. I believe the internship experience will differ widely depending on placement - property based locations will focus more on operations and customer service while corporate based internships will involve very few touch points with the customer.

Why did you choose this career/internship?

I chose this internship to diversify my resume and gain additional marketing experience at a higher level of an organization within a completely new industry. The project was rigorous as I completed mini-rotations throughout almost every area of the casino in Joliet. I actually spent time behind the lines with hourly employees in the restaurant outlets and an equal amount of time in the executive offices learning from industry veterans.

This industry requires enormous passion for the customer because it is a very consumer focused company. Harrah’s sets the bar for loyalty programs with Total Rewards. If you want exposure to this sort of analytics based loyalty program then you should learn from the best. That loyalty is also translated down to the Casino host level where they have one on one connections with their VIP customers. There are endless opportunities to learn about a broad range of marketing skills in a casino. More than I could have imagined!

What skills do you need to succeed in this field?

The first skill required is passion for the gaming industry. The other PA interns that I met in Las Vegas had actually recruited for the internship at the MBA World Poker tour in January. So if you are sure you want to work for Harrah’s I recommend networking at that event in January 2011.

It goes out without saying that you have to bring a lot of energy and enthusiasm because ultimately this is the entertainment industry first and foremost. Joliet actually has an entertainment portion of the interview process where applicants must sing or dance to show their commitment to entertaining guests (I somehow got hired without that test).

The second skill would be the ability to connect with people at all levels of an organization. For those with aspirations of becoming a general manager at a property (an essential step to succeeding in Harrah’s) it is essential to connect with the person who cleans the casino floor and the person who serves food in the restaurants. At the same time you must also have the analytical skills required to network up the ladder and connect with the executive management team at corporate. There is also a lot of creativity required to pull off successful events so I would say it comes down to a balance of being fun, analytical and creative.

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