Albion senior Craig Stangland is one of the 48 interns chosen this summer from more than 1,000 applicants to the Las Vegas MGM Grand's Hospitality Internship program. Stangland is the only economics and management major in the group of mostly hospitality- and hotel-management students.

Within the first few weeks of my first year at Albion College I set two primary goals: to study abroad in Australia and to participate in the Hospitality Internship Program at MGM MIRAGE. I am overjoyed that I have had the opportunity to do both. My time in Australia taught me more than I ever could have imagined, while my time here in Las Vegas working at MGM Grand has given me the experience to excel. I can't express how happy I am with my choice of goals, and that I got to live out my goals.

Craig Stangland, '09, in front of the Las Vegas MGM GrandI am currently working with Room Inventory, dealing with the allocation and operation of the suites here at MGM Grand. The main task of Room Inventory is to maximize occupancy, while attempting to never over-book a certain type of room. We run over six reports each day, followed by three audits, to ensure accuracy. These reports are critical to the operation of the hotel; revenue is maximized by ensuring that room use and guest satisfaction are maximized, two things all employees at MGM Grand are responsible for.

I recently completed five weeks in Group Reservations. Group Reservations, working with entertainers and their crews and fans, conventions, wholesalers (airlines and other package deal sellers), weddings and small groups. The most interesting thing about working with reservations was the sheer volume that MGM Grand handles. With 5,044 rooms including over 600 suites, three condo towers and an all inclusive mansion which hosts 30 extreme luxury rooms, things can get hectic. Within five minutes, reservations can book over 500 rooms.

The level of detail is also immaculate. Every employee in reservations must be ready and able to answer any question, ranging from the size of the casino floor to harder questions such as how many 25-cent video poker machines are located near a guest’s room. Reservations plays a vital role in the success of the resort. If people are not booked in rooms, the entire resort suffers from dining, to shows, to the casino.

I am also working on a Viral Marketing Project, which incorporates blogging and social websites (Facebook, MySpace) to increase revenue for the resort. The project has brought in over $40,000, which has caught the eye of MGM Grand's President of Hotel Operations, MGM Grand's CFO, and even Gamal Aziz, President and COO of MGM Grand. My team and I are currently working on an analysis of the project to determine our target audience so we can focus more emphasis on that market.

I have visited multiple casinos and clubs. My favorite casino would have to be Luxor, with its amazing architecture. It is a legitimate pyramid in the middle Las Vegas, and only in Las Vegas would you see such a thing.

My favorite part of living in Las Vegas is that the town never sleeps. At any point in time you can go find something to do. One of my favorite things to do is walk the strip, look at all the different casinos, and watch all the people. The different architecture is out of this world, and until you see some of the places, you can not realize the size of them

One of the two worst things about Las Vegas is the heat. Nighttime lows are in the lower 80's, with highs in the 100's, if not the 110's. While many might consider Las Vegas a "dry heat" city, once you get above 105, it really does not matter what the humidity is, it is plain and simply hot. Rain is also not a factor, as I have yet to see one rain drop in the two months I have been here so far. The second worst thing is traffic. Here is a tip for anyone planning to visit Las Vegas, avoid driving on the strip at all cost. It can take up to 45 minutes to move one block.

Albion College has prepared me for this internship in a variety of ways. First and foremost is the depth and width of knowledge I can bring to any task or project. The Liberal Arts experience has taught me that there is always more than one way to reach an answer, and all avenues must be looked at. The level of detail required in my job is easy for me thanks to Albion's demand for detail. There are multiple other ways in which Albion has prepared me which ranges from knowledge, to work ethic, to professionalism, all which I can attribute to Albion College.

My next goal is to be accepted into the Management Associate Program (MAP) here at MGM MIRAGE. MAP is a six-month, hands-on program designed to create future managers within MGM Mirage. The program is one of the best ways to begin your career at MGM MIRAGE, but the program is also one of the most selective programs in this industry.

I encourage all Albion students to participate in an internship. Internships are one of the easiest ways to begin your professional network, beef up your resume, gain experience, and most importantly find out if a certain company or even industry is right for you. Without my two internships, I would have not known what departments excite me the most, and which companies I wish to work for upon graduation. I have been fortunate enough to study abroad in Australia (Fall of 2007), participate in an internship in Australia, and participate in my current program. Every opportunity is possible, you just need to have the determination to go after your goals.