Nguyen Cao

Major: Event Management
Company/Organization: The Des Moines Heritage Center
Company/Organization website:
Destination: Des Moines, Iowa
Timeframe: Summer 2023
Advisor/Coordinator Email:


During my internship, my responsibilities are attending tours with my manager, attending board meetings, and intake meetings. I would help my manager take notes during the intake meetings with clients. I was also responsible for room set-ups for each event, whether a business event, ceremony, or reception. I'm also responsible for keeping the venue clean by gardening, moping, and checking the bathroom. All to make sure that the facility is ready in its best condition for the clients. I'm also responsible for ordering supplies the venue may need and being there during each event. I would also stay to close the event or sometimes open the event, and sometimes I'm also responsible for managing an event on my own.


My greatest accomplishment during my internship would be gaining experience in the industry and seeing its glamorous and non-glamorous sides. Through this, I realized what my passion was and how things operate at a venue, and many of my questions about the industry were answered as well. I also created connections with my team, caterers, and vendors we work with in each event. Getting my name out and connections will always be helpful in the future.

Learning experience

The greatest lesson I learned from my experience is that sometimes it is better to do the more labor-heavy part of the job so then later on, it'll make my job easier. Because one time, I didn't stack the chairs up because I took more work without realizing that the next day I would have to do setup and move tables around, which would result in stacking the chairs. Doing it earlier would have saved time the next day. Through this, I learned to pay attention to detail; I noticed the little things that would improve our customer experience at the venue. These would provide a tray of things a bride party may need during their wedding day. I also learned to think ahead in the future of what things could do now that could help make the work better or help improve the venue.

What advice would you give?

One piece of advice I would give future students is to come into your internship with an open mind because you won't know what is waiting for them to accomplish. Even if the internship is not your top choice, still try to enjoy your time at your internship place. Come into the internship with a positive attitude and a willing-to-learn mindset, and be ready for anything that you may do at the internship because there will be tasks that you may not expect to do during your internship, but you might end up doing and take everything as a lesson.

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