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Diary of a Former Amazon Intern

An Amazonian tells us what it's like to be an intern at one of the most popular companies on the planet.
Diary of a Former Amazon Intern

It's been 23 years since Jeff Bezos founded , during which time the company has come to dominate almost every industry it's been in. First it was books, then e-commerce in general. This was followed by the world's most popular e-reader, the Kindle, followed by music and video streaming services, original content, web hosting, smart home technology like the Echo, and most recently, groceries with the takeover of Whole Foods. With all this in mind, it's no surprise why Fast Company chose Amazon as the world's most innovative company in 2017.

It's also no wonder why Amazon is one of the most popular companies on the planet for people looking for an internship. The sheer variety of industries the company operates in means that Amazon is more likely to offer you a career in your chosen field—whatever that is. For Lucia Magot , a final year business and management student in the UK, her field of work is project management and she managed to get a coveted internship at Amazon doing just that. Here's what her experience was like.

Internship at Amazon

I worked as an intern in the recruitment group and was based in the London office. I was later informed that I was one of the youngest employees at Amazon Europe.
As part of my 4 year undergraduate program in the UK, I was required to complete an accommodation year (an internship year) in my third year; which I started in London, then in Miami, Singapore and Lima. My last and fifth internship this academic year was at Amazon, which I completed at the age of 21. My internship started in the summer of 2016.

On how she found out about the internship at Amazon

From a young age, I have always been passionate about business and technology. I was aware of where to find internship opportunities at leading technology companies before I went to college. I often browsed the message boards of these companies and compiled tables of the best features that I considered appropriate for my professional purposes.

In 2015, I found a job on the Amazon job portal. My core experience in business and technology is in product management, marketing and consulting. However, I applied for this particular role because I wanted to know how a leading company like Amazon hires the best people in today's global marketplace.

About the Amazon interview process

The Amazon internship application process consists of the following steps:

  • Upload your resume and cover letters for the position you are interested in
  • Take the online numerical and reasoning assessment that Amazon emails to you. This will take you about an hour (if successful, candidates will be contacted for an initial telephone interview)
  • First phone interview with staff (about 30 minutes)
  • Second phone interview with your team members (about 30 minutes)
  • Center for Personal Evaluation
  • Email confirmation if successful

I would advise all candidates to prepare by taking a close look at the role, responsibilities, and qualities they have demonstrated in previous professional experience that may confirm or show that they can do the job. I made over 40 cards with this information and practiced the answers with friends.

On the Qualities That Helped Her Get an Amazon Internship

Amazon is looking for professionals who have the 14 principles of leadership on which the organization is founded. During one of my weekly one-to-one meetings with my manager, he told me that he knew he wanted to work with me from the moment we completed our first phone interview. I think my enthusiasm for the company, which he could pick up on the energy in my voice, and the unique questions I asked him, were key factors in his decision.

Many of the questions I was asked were based on examples from my professional and academic life that demonstrated what I do and that I have strong business judgment and sensitivity to ensure customer satisfaction.
During my internship, I discovered that all Amazons have certain things in common, such as being data-driven, big thinkers, and proven leaders. Innovation is a key component in Amazon's culture, so an interest in how things work and how things can be improved are the qualities they look for in new hires.

The average workday of an Amazon intern

Amazon's fast environment and culture is unique, and no day is ever the same. This requires employees who are adaptable to change, perform well under stressful conditions, and are flexible. I constantly hear employees say that it's only the first day at Amazon, which creates indescribable energy in the work environment. You believe that the best is yet to come and that you can contribute to the company's future success.

During my internship, I was responsible for a continuous improvement project involving the hiring of new engineers and IT professionals at Amazon. So my days consisted of arranging meetings with the talent acquisition teams and reviewing their hiring process and coming up with suggestions on how they could improve it.

In addition, I analyzed data from previous employee surveys and other sources to understand specific areas for improvement in my department. Aside from that, my days also revolved around research, finding technology tools that could make processes more efficient, and arranging meetings with different teams to encourage collaboration in the future.

At the end of the internship, I had to present the results of my project and recommendations to senior management. Amazonians across the board have been incredibly supportive and available throughout my progress on the project. From beginning to end, I knew that I could count on them to answer questions, no matter how trivial they seemed to me. Before my last presentation, my mentor and colleagues from different teams volunteered to listen to my presentation and offered me meaningful feedback.

Although the typical schedule was from 9 am to 6 pm. I often stayed later, not because I was told, but because I wanted to take advantage of the many online training courses available for Amazons. Other perks that employees and interns can take advantage of include lunchtime yoga classes, as well as social and professional development opportunities hosted by Amazons, such as speed chat, women's lunch, and Amazon fashion tours.

On some of her best experiences as an Amazon intern

One of my main goals as an intern was to learn how to make connections between different teams in order to make our work more efficient. I scheduled meetings with at least five employees every week from different areas of the company to learn about their roles and how they got there. These meetings allowed me to understand how Amazon works as an organization and were critical to my understanding of the company's vision.

One of the most memorable anecdotes came during a professional development event when I was able to meet and talk with Mr. Douglas Gurr, Amazon's UK Country Manager. The fact that the intern could ask him questions and ask him to stay to answer is indicative of what type of organization Amazon is. No questions is a bad question and all comments are welcome in their open environment. None of this would have been possible without the support of my manager, who enthusiastically inspired me to achieve my networking goals.

On whether Amazon can improve its internship experience

This internship was one of the richest experiences of my life and I wouldn't change a thing. At Amazon, I was involved in meaningful work, and my initiatives were seen as a valuable contribution to the development of the company. Amazon instilled in me certain principles that I will follow wherever I go. For example, I learned a back-to-back approach that puts customer needs ahead of everything else. This method should be shown in every proposed discussion, document, or presentation.

On my last day, my team presented me with a huge gift filled with hand-picked gifts and handwritten cards signed by all my colleagues. After that, I had a wonderful farewell party. My time at Amazon has shown me that warmth and gratitude can be found at a leading technology company.

About the long-term benefits of an internship at Amazon

Amazon allowed me to develop a set of skills such as data analysis, report writing, and presentation; which I carried over into my last year at university. Thanks to my heightened skills and work ethic, I have received numerous job offers from top technology firms and consulting companies.

My time at Amazon allowed me to develop and strengthen relationships with an army of mentors in the technology sector that I remain in contact with today. I have had the opportunity to see first hand that there is a talent vacuum in the tech sector and as such I am now working on a project that will share with university students in the UK and Latin America the many opportunities that exist in this area.

Amazon taught me that in order to build a new and better business, you must celebrate and celebrate experimentation.

What Others Can Do to Get an Amazon Internship

Read Jeff Bezos' letters to shareholders from 1997 to get an idea of ​​the culture and whether you're the right fit for the company. Know what you value and where you can add value.

Explore the 14 Leadership Principles and draw on anecdotes from your academic and professional background to reinforce each one.

Be proud of your diversity. I am Peruvian and when I was thinking about applying, many people told me that I am too ambitious and I think that if you never try, you will never know. At Amazon, I met people from all walks of life and found that the company values ​​the authenticity and diversity of candidates. Don't be afraid to fail and apply.