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Checking in to a potential career

Last year, North­eastern stu­dent Sherry Lee rou­tinely walked past the Langham Hotel on Franklin Street on her way to her co-​​op with a public rela­tions firm in Boston. One day, her curiosity and pas­sion for travel led her to inquire about an intern­ship for the fall.

But her go-​​getter men­tality didn’t stop there. Last summer, the senior eco­nomics major got an inter­view on the spot with the Langham Hotel in Shanghai, while she was studying at the Chi­nese Uni­ver­sity of Hong Kong. The impromptu visit led to her second co-​​op.

From Jan­uary to June, Lee served as a guest-​​relations officer for the Langham Yangtze Bou­tique Hotel in Shanghai. She greeted guests at the front desk and gave tours to busi­ness clients inter­ested in using the hotel space for meet­ings.

“I thought it would be inter­esting to see the inner-​​workings of the hotel industry,” Lee said.

As part of the expe­ri­en­tial learning oppor­tu­nity, Lee cre­ated an action plan for the hotel to boost its rating on the travel web­site Tri­pAd­visor. To ensure that guests would be more apt to give the hotel a favor­able ranking, she met with guests indi­vid­u­ally to learn more about them and make sure their check-​​in processes ran smoothly. After their stay, she fol­lowed up via e-​​mail to ensure their expe­ri­ences were as enjoy­able as pos­sible.

The expe­ri­ence, she said, gave her the oppor­tu­nity to con­nect with people from many dif­ferent com­pa­nies around the world. Forging diverse con­nec­tions, she noted, enriched her co-​​op expe­ri­ence and global per­spec­tive.

“I learned so much on this co-​​op about the impor­tance of net­working, and I met so many people from dif­ferent types of cul­tures and indus­tries,” Lee said.

After grad­u­ating at the end of the semester, the Taiwan native hopes to work in Asia, where the hotel industry is booming. Lee, who moved to the United States in 2000, would like to per­fect her Man­darin by working and living in Asia.

“I def­i­nitely want to stay in the hotel industry, and I love the sales and mar­keting aspect,” she said. “It would also be a great oppor­tu­nity to see the world.”

– by Greg St. Martin

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