August 11, 2015

INTERN REPORT: "Work Hard, Have Fun, Make History"

Rachit Sachdeva, MBA candidate, holds an internship position with Amazon in Indianapolis, Indiana.

"Work hard, have fun, make history." I read this quote, which is Amazon's internal slogan, by Jeff Bezos in an article a few years ago. I remember thinking, is this another cliched motto or can a company as big as Amazon actually make its large employee base feel that they are part of something big, something cool, while having fun? Little did I know that a few years down the line, I will actually get to decide on my own.

I started my 12-week summer internship with Amazon in the beginning of June and I am based out of Indianapolis. Relocating to Indianapolis was a breeze because Amazon arranges for everything (flight, rental car and accommodations). The interview process for getting this internship was fast-paced and based on Amazon's leadership principles. The underlined words are important because I can sum-up my entire internship experience in the realm of these words. After a long quantitative test and six rounds of interviews, I found myself at Jolly Scholar on Case Western Reserve's campus, in the middle of the afternoon (did I mention that all this happened in five days’ time and I was exhausted) lying to a friend that I wasn't expecting an offer. That's when the email came :)

The only requirements before starting the internship were: 1. Learn SQL if you can 2. Don't bring any formal attire. Every intern at Amazon is allocated a project that he/she needs to work on during the duration of the internship and these projects are vetted by a committee headed by regional directors to ensure that the project should be challenging and give the intern a flavor of how things will be, when they join full time. My project is about saving on transportation cost while not compromising on the customer experience. The first few weeks of internship can be defined as data deluge, where you are trying to upload your brain with a lot of information and getting comfortable with ambiguity. By the end of week three or four, you get an idea of how you will be piloting your project and what crucial buy-ins you would need to ensure that your project is a success. At the end you have to present a whitepaper highlighting the work done on your project to a committee comprising of your location and project leadership.

One aspect that I really liked about the internship was the inherent requirement in almost all projects to work and collaborate with different teams. This helps you understand how your work is crucial to other teams and also gives you an idea of the kind of work happening outside your project area. For me the highlight of the internship was the week spent in Seattle hearing senior vice presidents talk about their journey at Amazon and the kind of crazy Amazonian thinking that went behind the project of flying drones to deliver goods to customers. I also got to meet interns from other colleges and got to hear of the interesting projects they were working on.

I would like to end on a particular note, which is so often resonated by employees here. At Amazon, there are always so many teams working on so many fascinating projects, that by the time you know of it and understand its impact, you end up feeling that it’s still your first day at Amazon.

1 comment:

  1. This is an interesting note Mr. Sachdeva. I am sure you would have enjoyed the internship to the fullest. I like the aspect of collaborative approach while doing the project at Amazon. As far as I know you, I am more than sure that you must have done it in a best possible way.
    I wish you all the best!!