Alumni Spotlight: Samantha Munzer Builds a Career with Marriott

Posted: Tuesday, December 1st 2015 at 9:46 AM

Samantha Munzer, a 2014 graduate of the School of Hotel and Restaurant Management at NAU, has found an exciting career with Marriott International. Through hard work and dedication, and with a foundational education from NAU, Munzer has achieved her goals and made a name for herself in the hospitality industry. Only a year after her graduation, she has received a promotion to a management position with Marriott.

She recognizes the positive impact that her involvement in student clubs and activities on campus had on her preparedness for professional life. She was an Orientation Leader at NAU, and was also active in the SHRM department.

“I was involved with Hospitality Entrepreneurs for all 4 years I was at NAU. This gave me the amazing opportunity to meet with entrepreneurs who worked in numerous disciplines from food and beverage; to event management; and bed and breakfast management,” she says.

Munzer also made professional strides during her time at NAU.

“I had the opportunity to do two internships with Marriott during my schooling. My first internship was with a Vacation Club property for 9 months during the spring semester and summer of my sophomore year. This was focused around housekeeping, front office, and recreation. The second internship was at a JW Marriott property, for recreation. These really helped me decide that hospitality was the right field for me, and I was able to move forward and set career goals for myself,” she says.

After her graduation, she continued to take the necessary steps to achieve her goal of a career in the hospitality industry.

“I took a leap of faith and moved out to San Antonio, Texas. After being born and raised in Arizona, it was quite the change, and I’m so glad I took the chance. I accepted a position with Marriott as part of their Voyage management training program, which is 12—18 months long,” Munzer says.

She got a well-rounded experience with Marriott.

“My program was filled with online modules, shadowing of other departments, and then managing the different room operations disciplines in the hotel. I started my time with managing the At Your Service department, moved to housekeeping management, and then concluded with front desk management training. Once I was part of the front desk portion of my training, I was overseeing front desk, bell stand, concierge lounge, and At Your Service,” Munzer recalls.

Throughout her time in the training program, she saw the hotel go through a rooms renovation, a façade renovation, a front driveway renovation, and a housekeeping transition to using iPads for their cleaning assignments, after years of using paper to track all work progress.

“These changes gave me the chance to really develop my problem resolution skills, and find new ways to creatively diffuse situations,” she says.

With all of that important training as a foot in the door, Munzer was able to move forward toward a career she loved.

“This past month I interviewed for, and then accepted the position of Front Desk Manager. When I first started the job, I was told that the chance of having a position open up at my training property was almost impossible. Turns out I was in the right place at the right time, and after over a year at the property, I qualified for the promotion. I have a majority of the same day-to-day management tasks, but now I work more with financials and ensuring that our team and guests are taken care of,” she says.

Munzer has a few tips for current students hoping to break into the hospitality industry.

“While in college, make sure you take advantage of career fairs and any information you can get from industry professionals who come to your classes. Aside from learning about the disciplines they work in, and their experiences, networking is key! If you have the chance to do an internship, take advantage of the learning opportunity. The hospitality industry is something that you need to feel very passionately about in order to fully succeed,” she advises.

As for her time at NAU, Munzer has nothing but fond memories and a huge appreciation.

“Studying at NAU was an amazing experience; those four years were incredible. The campus, the people, the professors, and the whole time I was in Flagstaff—I felt that I belonged, and that it would one day shape who I was to become,” she says.

Categories: 2015 fall 2015 alumni spotlight samantha munzer marriott shrm alumni