On her first day at MIT, Shannon Lings wrote down her dream career goal; to work at the prestigious Hilton Hotel.

Seven months later, the 20-year-old has been offered a permanent front of house position at the Hilton in Auckland, following a successful 150 hour internship.

Shiju Oommen, front desk supervisor at the Hilton Auckland, said Lings earned the position because of her passion for the industry.

“She can be herself, because she’s genuinely happy to help people – not just because she’s in a customer service environment. That’s important,” said Oommen.

“The internship is a great opportunity for both the hotel and the intern.

“We get to know the intern, and coach them about what makes a memorable experience for guests. When we next have a position available, we’ll consider an intern first.”

Lings said she is excited about her new role.

“From the start I wanted to work at the Hilton,” the MIT graduate said.

“It’s such a well-known brand, and there are huge opportunities to work in its hotels in the US, Canada, Hawaii – everywhere.”

Lings said she wanted to get into the industry because she loves people.

“I love meeting people and learning where they’re from, making them smile.

“I try to learn what’s happening all over the world, so I can make guests feel comfortable away from home. The other day I was sympathising with Canadian guests about the Canucks losing. It’s about understanding that you’re the first point of contact for guests, and helping them relax.”

Lings completed two New Zealand Certificates at MIT in Accommodation (Level 3) and Hotel Reception (Level 4). She said the amount she’s learnt is incredible.

“The first day at MIT I was pretty doe-eyed and nervous, but I’ve learnt so much in that time. It’s been a journey.

“I wouldn’t be in this job if I didn’t come through the MIT programme. It has really opened doors, being able to go into work experience with knowledge of the industry. I think I’d still be looking for work if I hadn’t studied.”