By Natalia Corredor, MBA’23
Today was my Day 1 at Amazon, and though it went virtually without hiccups, I want to share some details that helped me feel prepared for the big day.
Become comfortable with ambiguity. Quickly.
I learned at a Graduate Career Services meeting that very few people, myself included, knew the details of their internship project. Picture a Mean Girls (2004) “raise your hand if you’ve been personally victimized by Regina George” moment. Some people had yet to meet their manager, receive a start date, or confirm an internship location. I pinged Amazon’s Student Program’s team to get timeline expectations for when I could expect to connect with my manager, connected with former interns and learned about their onboarding experience, and reminded myself that they hired me as an intern because I am capable and gritty. I received my project’s title late last week and my manager walked me through the high-level details this afternoon. I’m happy that I didn’t add any unnecessary stress leading up to today!
Take courses that will prepare you for the internship.
This is easier said than done because relevant courses may not line up with some companies’ recruiting timelines and because of project-related ambiguity once an internship is secured. Nonetheless, I knew that quant was an area of opportunity for me and that Amazon was one of my top companies before even stepping foot on campus, so I chose classes accordingly.
Professor John Hill’s Quant course during the Core Curriculum set a great foundation for me moving into the remainder of the school year. I took Spreadsheet Modeling with Professor Rod Parker as soon as we could choose electives. It took me some time to understand the assignments, but I leaned on my classmates and leveraged Professor Parker’s office hours to build my skills and confidence. For my second term, I took Professor Shibo Li’s CRM and Digital Analytics course and Professor Kinser’s Cloud Analytics course. To quote the viral meme, “I was in Microsoft Excel fighting for my life.” All jokes aside, I became more comfortable with large data sets, practiced SQL querying, and even built dashboards on Power BI!
It’s public knowledge that Amazon, among other companies, opts for written documents instead of using PowerPoints. Professor Josh Gildea made every student in his Business Marketing class aware of the importance of writing memos that were logical, concise, and influenced by data. Our case write-ups were 1-page documents with appendices, and he is by no means a generous grader! Because of these case writeups, I feel confident in my ability to synthesize information, construct logical recommendations, and build models of supporting data.
Although I didn’t know the specific skills required of me this summer, I was intentional about entering the internship a well-rounded professional. Thanks to the instruction of my professors at Kelley I was able to do just that.
Look for your summer housing as soon as possible and know your non-negotiables.
Finding a furnished apartment in Seattle for the summer, and I assume most major U.S. cities, is a nightmare. I had my non-negotiables: I wanted to rent an apartment and not a room, AirBnB prices are incredibly expensive and the prices I came across exceeded my housing stipend. Furnishedfinder.com offers great options, but owners and property managers understandably prefer renters who can stay for longer periods and can move in as soon as their unit becomes available. There were Facebook pages that were renting individual rooms, but that wasn’t what I was looking for. I ultimately found my apartment on homeexchange.com just three weeks before my move. It bears repeating: if you are not provided corporate housing, I recommend you start this process ASAP.
Have a networking plan!
One thing that I was constantly reminded about leading up to the summer internship is how important networking continues to be. As I thought of my goals for the summer and post-MBA, I wanted to make sure that I rounded out the possible network of Amazonians that I spoke with. I created a spreadsheet to track all my interactions with people, their roles, and something we had in common. Through some trusty LinkedIn research, I organized a preliminary list of people I wanted to talk to by first looking at Kelley alums, The Consortium for Graduate Study in Management alumni, and finally individuals in unique areas of interest. Having this initial spreadsheet to organize my networking engagements took away much of the stress of wondering how to navigate such a large organization.
Leverage current and former Kelley interns.
The Amazon Interns for the class of 2022 had a very different experience given they had remote internships. They were incredibly helpful for recruiting, interviewing, and for setting expectations about the overall internship. I started 1 to 2 weeks after most of my fellow Kelley Amazonians and they helped me navigate some on-site work questions I didn’t know I had. I arrived in Seattle last Thursday and Rav Riar (’23) conveniently hosted a dinner for the Kelleys in Seattle. The Kelley Amazonians walked me through their Day 1 experience and offered great tips. Today was my first time using a security key and thanks to Cody Webster (’23) I knew that I needed to hold the side for a few seconds when the set-up screen instructed me to “touch it”. I was planning for my morning commute to include a Starbucks stop when Tanushree Mitra (’23) informed me that the 2nd floor in our building offers free specialty coffees. I was telling someone about how I planned to buy my Orca Transit Card the weekend before my Day 1 when Aman Arora (’23) told me that Amazon offered it free of charge to interns and that I would have the opportunity to sign up for it during my first or second day. Needless to say, my friends made my transition into the workplace easier than I could have imagined.
If you can, make time to travel before/after your internship.
The internship is 12 weeks of fast-paced learning and putting your best foot forward every single day. After already going through 9 months of that in the first year of the MBA program, I thought some vacation time would help replenish my energy. After the school year ended, I spent almost two weeks traveling around the country. I saw one of my best friends get married in the Bay Area, explored the Everglades on an RV trip, and went to Disneyland in Los Angeles for the first time! I also got plenty of R&R being home with family just before flying out to Seattle and felt that I really was able to bring my best self on my first day. Once the internship ends, I plan on sneaking in a trip before kicking off my second year of the MBA program.
I hope these suggestions help and I’m happy to answer any questions you may have regarding my experience leading up to my Day 1 at Amazon!