Mary Karlene Cisneros applied her background in horse racing to casino and sportsbook management.
How did you get your internship and why did you choose it?
I first learned of the opportunity after seeing an advertisement online. I then asked for an internship and they interviewed me on the spot. The first thing the manager asked me was why would I want to work at the Horse Palace. My answer started to run off my tongue and I remembered what we learned about the elevator pitch from PAH 383 Pre-Internship: Building Career Readiness. I did not sound rehearsed and it was clear I knew what I wanted.
I have a background in horse racing, and I was seeking an opportunity to learn the operations of a casino and specialize in sportsbooks, which is sports wagering and specialize in thoroughbred race horses. I wanted to learn wagering and payout processes. It was important to me that I continue to learn and to obtain a paid internship.
What kind of work did you do throughout your internship?
I used my knowledge of the horse racing industry to educate the customers on wagering and explain to the customers how to use the ticket maker and wager on horses. Customers would ask questions ranging from how humane the animals were treated to how to wager on a horse race.
I did my internship at a time the casino was expanding and was incorporating a new system. With my knowledge of Excel, I was able to assist with data entry. Every employee treated me as part of the team and at the end the employees looked to me to answer questions about the new system. I woke up each day wanting to learn more about the sportsbook and what it takes to run a casino.
How has your internship experience influenced your plans for your future?
My internship has paved the way to my future career. The assistant manager took me aside to further my knowledge about customer accounts. She showed me how to do the tax paperwork for cash payables and for jackpot winners. The assistant manager introduced me to the marketing manager and to the IT department. The assistant manager saw me as teachable and when I showed interest the mentor kept giving me more opportunities to learn.
What was your favorite part of your internship?
The best part was when the slot technician experts came from Las Vegas and taught us a new players system. The new system had already been incorporated into three major casinos in Las Vegas. We were all scheduled for training and we all had to learn together, even the managers. It was such a great team building experience we were all learning and laughing together. Everyone was given time to train with the trainer and when that wasn’t enough the employees shared each other's notes and listened intently. Most importantly I got to work with a diversity of people. This was the most satisfying place to work because the employees treated everyone, even me, as part of the Horse Palace team and there were no weak links.
What advice do you have for other students as they search for their internship?
If you know what you want to specialize in I would begin looking into that career field. When searching online at a company website, look under the “careers” tab and apply for the position you want. Always email human resources and tell them how you would like to intern for the specific position they have to offer. You want to open the door to a position in a company that you’re interested in because once you are in, the only way to move is upward.