My Summer Internship: Alyssa Calderon

This summer, students from the University of Delaware’s Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics discovered new avenues for professional preparation and practical hands-on experience. Lerner College students pursued an array of remote, in person or hybrid internships, externships and other professional development opportunities. From MBA scholars to undergraduates entering their second year at UD, students across a spectrum of Lerner programs shared their experiences accomplishing an assortment of projects.

Each profile of our “My Summer Internship” series will provide a glimpse into one of these unique experiences and how students applied knowledge from their studies to be successful in the real-world.

Alyssa Calderon, class of 2024 hospitality business management major and event management minor, spent her summer as an events intern at Major Food Group.

Lerner: How did you find out about this internship? Why did you pursue it?

Calderon: I was searching LinkedIn for a potential summer internship and came across the job speculation. It peaked my interest and seemed like a program that would further my career and allow me to learn from the industry’s greatest leaders. The emphasis on hands-on experience really caught my attention and led me to applying.

Lerner: What was the most exciting task or project that you completed?

Calderon: The most exciting task that I completed was being able to attend walkthroughs with event clients. It was so interesting to see the visions they had for their events and how the company could make that come to fruition. Being able to join a member of the events team as they met clients before they booked their event as well as during the planning process helped me to see how these events really come to life and how so many different types of events can be produced in the exact same spaces.

Lerner: What did you learn from the internship that you think you would not have learned elsewhere?

Calderon: I learned so many important tidbits throughout the summer that I am sure I would not have learned otherwise. Gaining customer service skills needed to email back and forth with guests was crucial when booking and planning their events. Sometimes things don’t always go as planned, so being able to be transparent with guests was very important when confirming the details of their events. I also learned what it takes to put on such large scale events for high profile clients. So much happens behind the scenes before, during, and after the events, so it was truly incredible to see events from start to finish.

Lerner: What is an example of a time where you were able to apply what you’ve learned at Lerner to your role?

Calderon: A time I was able to apply what I’ve learned at Lerner to my role was when I was continuously refilling the buffet stations at an event since the guests rushed towards the food when it opened. Being able to plate food and bring them out to the floor quickly was something I learned in HOSP489 (dinner lab) and I can definitely say I wouldn’t have been as efficient while doing this at work if it hadn’t been for that course. Being an Aramark Scholar for lunch lab, I am frequently put in the position of refilling the food on the buffet as well. It doesn’t look good to have food stations that are empty or have little to no food in them, so constantly monitoring this was something I was used to.

Lerner: Did you face any challenges during your internship? If so, what was the issue and how did you overcome it?

Calderon: There were a few minor issues here and there that had to do with front- and back-of-house communication. One instance in particular was when the event host confirmed a certain number of guests before the event began, but over 100 more guests arrived. This led to the kitchen having to portion out the food differently so that it could accommodate the additional guests. Everything went great after this hiccup was solved and the guests seemed to have enjoyed their experience.

Lerner: What are your career plans, and how do you think the internship will push you closer to your professional goals?

Calderon: After I graduate, I hope to land a role in the event planning industry in New York City and I can definitely say my internship set me up for success in doing so. I feel so much more ready to enter the field after gaining such invaluable experience this summer. They opened my eyes to what it is like to work with clients and vendors throughout the planning process and how to satisfy everyone’s needs and expectations.

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