During my sophomore year, and still undecided in terms of my major, I got a job at one of our campus Dining Commons. The foodservice industry intrigued me because I really like being able to help people and the industry seemed high-energy and fast-paced. I decided to take some classes in the School of Hospitality Management to make sure this was a career path I truly wanted to pursue.
I’ve always loved Olive Garden and knew that Darden was a leading company in the industry, so I made it a goal to try to get my foot in the door early on while still in school. The summer after my sophomore year, I got a job as a dishwasher at Olive Garden to help me gain experience with the company and the industry. I’m really happy I got this opportunity so early on. This helped me feel confident in my decision to declare my major my junior year.
My senior year, the Darden campus recruiting team came to visit Penn State so I got to learn more about pursuing additional opportunities within Darden. It was great to meet and establish additional connections with other Darden employees. From my experience working at Olive Garden, I knew I had found a company with a good culture that fosters growth opportunities. I’m excited that I was offered the opportunity to enroll in Darden’s Manager in Training (MIT) program after graduation. I am now starting my training at the Cranberry Township LongHorn Steakhouse, where I’ll be able to apply my restaurant experience and my education as I continue to learn and grow into a restaurant manager. I’m excited to develop my leadership skills and gain more operations knowledge. I’ll also get to experience a different restaurant brand within Darden.
I’m happy I decided to get the field experience first at Olive Garden and was able to work my way up to a Manager in Training. My experiences working in the restaurant early on has helped prepare me for these additional opportunities. I hope to keep growing my career within the Darden family and continuing to learn.