What does it take to get a job, right out of graduate school, at one of the best places to work in America?
If you’re Heidi Wolf, a native of Lancaster, Pa., you study International Business and Spanish as an undergraduate, work for a short time as a marketing intern and sales representative, then take a big leap and move to Barcelona for nine months to teach English as a second language.
Then, in 2020, you enroll in the Master’s in Human Resources Management program at Georgetown University, land an internship through the program at Marriott International, and, about a year after graduating, get hired by the company as a Program Specialist.
“It’s a very warm and open culture,” Wolf says of the company, whose global headquarters is in Bethesda, Md. “People are always saying, ‘If you want to network, or learn about my job, or job shadow, just send me an email on my calendar.’ And they actually do that. I try to do that once a month.”
Marriott consistently ranks as one of the top places to work in the United States. And much of the reason has to do with its culture, which extends throughout the company but is especially evident in human resources.
Wolf is currently a generalist, working in a variety of areas, including compensation, benefits, recruiting, and—one of her favorite activities—onboarding.
“I think it’s rewarding because it’s a remote job, so we have to be really creative with how to make it, like, super exciting,” Wolf says. “You’re part of the culture even though you’re at home, and it’s nice because they do seem happy. And we make the orientation kind of fun, and ask our questions as they get settled in.”
She says her Georgetown instructors prepared her well for the job.
“I love the professors—you could tell this was something they did because they were passionate about teaching,” Wolf says. “And they had such great real-world experience.”
Wolf also liked the program’s emphasis on doing real-world work with companies and other customers. During her internship at Marriott, which was focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programs, she helped launch initiatives with Marriott and participated in discussions with McDonald’s and Disney about their approaches to DEI.
While her current job is gratifying, it is also complex and challenging, especially when it comes to keeping up with varying state employment laws and policies.
“It’s definitely a lot to keep track of,” she says.
The reward comes from working in a field that requires both business skills and creativity.
“Also, it’s very humanistic,” Wolf says. “I get to interact with associates all the time, especially with leaders. I feel like I’ve gotten to know them really well.”