A behind-the-scenes internship, as athletes go for gold at the Olympics in Rio

Editor’s Note: Alumnus Daniel Marks, BS’16 (Metro), of Morristown, N.J., lived his Olympic dream this summer as an intern at the summer games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Here’s his take on the experience:

Olympics hospitality intern 2016By Daniel Marks

I happened upon the opportunity to go to the 2016 Summer Olympics by chance, through social media. A faculty member from Fairleigh Dickinson University’s International School of Hospitality and Tourism Management posted a job listing on the Hotel Society Facebook group — detailing internships that NBC Universal opened up for college students to either work in Stamford, Conn., in broadcasting or in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in broadcasting or hospitality. Olympic stadium interior 2016I applied, and after two interviews, got a job offer to work in Rio as a hospitality guide!

While in Rio, my group of guides received NBC’s executive team, advertising clients, celebrities, and former Olympic athletes and made sure their Olympic experience was an unparalleled, luxurious adventure. Guests received tickets to go to any event they chose, a number of guided tours around the city, and plenty of food and beverages throughout each day of their stay. Our role as guides was to accompany guests to these events and tours and make sure they had an optimal Olympic experience.

Olympics opening ceremony 2016

During my internship I saw tennis players Serena Williams (USA) and Andy Murray (GB) compete on centre court during the singles matches; Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt finish first in the 100 meter sprint and complete his Olympics “Triple-Triple” (gold medals for the 100m, 200m and 4x100m in 2008, 2012 and 2016); Team USA swimmer Katie Ledecky crush the 800m freestyle swim world record by a large margin; the German women's football (soccer) team win gold over Sweden; the USA men's basketball team win gold and the opening and closing ceremonies!

Olympic stadium exterior 2016

My four years at FDU helped me greatly, from the classes to the student life; everything was relevant to my internship. My intimate and focused hospitality classes gave me the preparation to take care of our high-profile guests who had even higher expectations. Along with that, the diverse and global student body at FDU gave me valuable communication skills and worldviews, making me feel confident in a city and country I had never visited before.

Rio Olympics stadium

Now, my post-graduation plans are to use my academic knowledge of hospitality and my wealth of experience from internships to work at a luxury hotel in New York City, N.Y., specifically in the rooms division.

Photos: FDU alumnus Daniel Marks in his hospitality guide uniform on Sugarloaf Mountain, overlooking Rio; the beach volleyball stadium; Olympics 2016 opening ceremonies; centre court for the tennis matches and the Barra Olympic Park stadiums, both taken the night before the opening ceremony. (By Daniel Marks)