Hospitality Students Intern with Coca-Cola at London Olympics

When the international beverage giant Coca-Cola began seeking student interns for the London 2012 Olympic Games, they turned to the Cecil B. Day School of Hospitality Administration at Georgia State University.

Beginning in mid-July, selected students have had the honor of working with Coca-Cola in London leading up to and during the summer Olympic games. Students are serving as activators with the venue operations division of Coca-Cola, a worldwide partner of the London Olympic Games and the longest continuous corporate sponsor of the modern Olympic games.

Senior Jessica Levy gets into the Olympic spirit in Athlete’s Village in London.

“It’s fantastic to have students from Atlanta join us for the largest event on Earth,” said Daryl Jelinek, general manager for Coca-Cola’s London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games team. “Coca-Cola and London 2012 provide a learning environment like no other.”

The team of 19 hospitality students are representing Georgia State University — the only U.S. university involved in the Olympic Games — joining people from Russia and Brazil, the next two host countries for the winter and summer games, respectively, as well as other Coca-Cola employees from Great Britain and beyond.

“We strive to offer experiences outside the classroom for our students to apply their learning in real-world settings,” said School of Hospitality director Debby Cannon. “This internship program with Coca-Cola in London is yet another hands-on opportunity provided by the school. Allowing students the chance to roll up their sleeves and experience event management during the summer Olympic games is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity this team of Panthers will never forget.”

Internship candidates were selected through an application and interview process. Students were chosen based on academic standing, extracurricular activities, student organization involvement and volunteer experience.

“We are grateful to the Coca-Cola Co. for this opportunity,” said Robinson College of Business Dean H. Fenwick Huss, “and we are honored to have students from the Cecil B. Day School of Hospitality Administration represent the J. Mack Robinson College of Business in London during this gathering of nations.”

The Coca-Cola Co. is the world’s leading manufacturer, marketer and distributor of non-alcoholic beverages and has been a supporter of the Olympic movement since the 1928 Olympic Games in Amsterdam. As an organization, the Coca-Cola Co. shares the Olympic values, which embody the discovery of one’s abilities, the spirit of competition, the pursuit of excellence, a sense of fair play and the building of a better and more peaceful world.

“It takes many persons to make London 2012 happen, and we are pleased to have hospitality students from GSU as part of our team,” said Malcolm Plows, 2012 Olympic venue operations director for Coca-Cola Enterprises. “We need a talented, passionate, diverse workforce, and these 19 students helped us to realize that goal.”

Aug. 9, 2012