Fellowship leads to career in hotel management

Chris Ndjungu began his senior year with a career in hotel management waiting after graduation, thanks to his summer Cornell Fellowship with Carlson Hotels Worldwide. Ndjungu experienced a range of roles at the Raddisson Hotel in downtown Salt Lake City, including a memorable week when his French skills proved critical while working in the hotel restaurant.

Chris Ndjungu
"This opportunity allowed me to learn valuable life and professional lessons…I now know that I definitely want to go into hotel management for my career, and because of this internship, I do not have to look for a job after graduation." -- Chris Ndjungu

“With Rotary International in town, we had over 30 French speakers eating with us every day,” says the Mount Rainier, Md. native. “Since most of them spoke no English and our servers did not speak any French, I waited on those guests every time they came in to eat. It felt very good to know that the ability to speak more than one language can help bridge gaps.

“In fact, the week was so busy that even the director of operations was on the floor at some point waiting on tables. I am definitely glad I had the opportunity to learn about all positions within the hotel. This way, I am sure that should a similar situation present itself in the future, I too will be able to assist just as the director of operations did.”

Ndjungu’s training included a week in the executive offices, a week in restaurant management, a week in banquet and kitchen management, and two weeks in housekeeping, and four weeks in front office management.

Along the way, he created financial reports, folded laundry, learned how executives manage room reservations and pricing, and handled customer reservations at the front desk. Ndjungu will pursue management training with Carlson after graduation, after which he will be eligible to work for any hotel in their chain.