Ambition, passion and inspiration: what Marriott’s recruiters see when they meet Les Roches students

Two members of Marriott’s talent acquisition team spoke to us about why Les Roches students tend to shine and the opportunities the group can offer them.

Marriott International needs little introduction in the world of hospitality. With 30 brands and more than 8,000 properties across 139 countries, it is the world’s largest hotel company. 

Little wonder then that the Bethesda, Maryland headquartered group has formed strong ties with a school as renowned as Les Roches, employing students and graduates in its internship programs and full-time positions through a variety of different training schemes.

On a recent recruitment visit to our Marbella campus, two of the group’s Talent Acquisition Programs and University Relations Managers for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) – Lotte Bergsma and Jamie Shipp – took the time to talk to us about their relationship with Les Roches and what the group has to offer the school’s students.

Q. Why do you recruit from Les Roches? What makes our students stand out from the crowd?

Lotte Bergsma (LB): When I’m looking for people to join our Voyage graduate training program, I’m not looking for individuals who are already managers. What I want to see is enthusiasm and the ability to inspire. In my experience, Les Roches students are so ambitious and passionate about the industry and it’s really inspiring interacting with them. What also really strikes me is how open they are to hearing about opportunities and their willingness to learn. 

Jamie Shipp (JS): I have a long history with Les Roches as I’ve worked with many alumni, I’ve seen how the trainees operate and I have former colleagues who now work at Les Roches. It’s a school that’s synonymous with hospitality. We also have a great working relationship with the careers team, who make it easy for us to do our jobs well, which is always welcome. That history means I know the kind of quality the school produces and I’m really excited to be here on campus to see it first-hand. 

Q. What kind of opportunities do you offer students and what qualities should they have to succeed at Marriott?

JS: We take 3,500 students into our internship program across EMEA every year and it’s my job to connect students with our hotels in the region. We also have the Voyage Program, which is about leadership development, for which we have two intakes a year, a number of other more localized programs in the Middle East and Africa and an apprenticeship scheme in Europe. 

LB: For our Voyage Program, we are looking for our future leaders, so candidates should have passion, enthusiasm, be able to communicate clearly and have a strong teamwork ethic. Trainees will take on supervisory roles in hotels so they have the opportunity to learn in real-world settings and get feedback on their performance. We’re not necessarily looking for management experience, but we do value the ability to inspire others and bring people together to achieve things as a team. 

Q. Why should Les Roches students consider a career at Marriott?

JS: As the largest hotel group, we can and do offer opportunities all over the world. While the entire industry suffered during the pandemic, it is now bouncing back and our revenue numbers are surpassing expectations, so it’s now a great time to get into hospitality. We have ambitious growth plans in EMEA and are looking to double the number of hotels we have in the region by 2025. That means we’ll be recruiting for thousands of roles, so internships have never been more important or valuable.

LB: Marriott really is a company that puts people first and we feel that every day as employees. The way everyone takes care of each other and works as part of a team makes it feel like a family-run business. When you meet someone who has worked with Marriott, you feel that connection right away. I also appreciate the company understands it is such a big employer that it has an impact on the wider community too. 

Q. What advice would you give to students who want to be the hoteliers of the future?

LB: Travel and being flexible to working in different locations gives you a better understanding of how different people live their lives and how to connect them and bring those distinct cultures together. You grow so much as a person by doing so and that’s essential in the hospitality industry. Be inspired by working with a team and inspire others and you will achieve amazing things together.