How Amazon interns are building the future, from home
Amazon welcomed its largest intern class ever in 2020, with more than 8,000 interns from 37 countries. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Amazon created a virtual program to prioritize their health and safety while offering an experience to work with Amazonians around the world.
Did you know July 30, 2020 is Intern Day? To mark the day, we caught up with some of our interns around the world—from São Paulo to Los Angeles to Milan—to learn about their experiences at Amazon.
Building community remotely
Team building and social bonding are key to a positive internship experience. Without the benefit of face-to-face interactions, Amazonians developed virtual events, Chime groups, coffee chats, and other ways to stay connected while working remotely, all with input from interns.
Michelle Leal, a LATAM Amazon Web Services (AWS) field marketing intern working from São Paulo, feels a strong sense of unity with her team, and has taken advantage of the virtual executive speaker series and fireside chats with senior leaders at Amazon. She says that these events are great for professional development, as well as meeting and networking with interns outside of her direct team.
Leal (pictured above) made it her goal to work at Amazon four years ago. "It is actually like living a dream to me, and I am really grateful for this opportunity. Amazon is the kind of company I want to stay at for many years."
Cidnei Rucker, an intern on the inbound demand generation sales team at AWS working remotely from Atlanta, Georgia has also built a strong community while collaborating on important projects, including sales presentations.
"The internship has been a breath of fresh air during the chaos of 2020," said Rucker. "My favorite part has been connecting with people within the AWS community. Whether it's attending a speaker series, hopping on a Chime with my peers or emailing AWS hires for advice, everyone has been open and willing to support my success as an intern."
In addition to connecting with their colleagues virtually, Amazon interns are adapting to working remotely in creative ways, such as using commuting time to exercise, taking regular music breaks, and designating comfortable workspaces.
A Day One mindset
At Amazon, we're obsessed with innovating for our customers and always keeping a Day One mindset. Innovating can be ambiguous, so we look for candidates who are curious, comfortable with change, and able to make high-judgment decisions.
As an engineering and law student, Rameen Malik was interested in the intersection between technology and the law and was looking for an opportunity that could engage both those sides.
"Amazon provided me exactly that," said Malik, a public policy intern for APAC and Japan. "My favorite part of my internship so far was being a part of the new Robotics FC launch in Western Sydney. I had the opportunity to witness a press conference involving some truly inspirational female leaders, including Karen Andrews, the Federal Minister for Industry, Science, and Technology and the Premier of NSW, Gladys Berejiklian."
Malik has also enjoyed the communities she has found during her time at Amazon. "I have thoroughly enjoyed Amazon's affinity groups, especially Asians@Amazon and Amazon Women in Engineering. They provide safe spaces where we can talk about the issues affecting our communities and take tangible action to address them."
Halfway across the world in Milan, intern Enrico Tartarotti is innovating in support of Amazon's global customer base. "What fascinates me about Amazon is the scale at which it operates. Any decision or action that you take will impact hundreds of thousands (or even millions) of people, so you really have the opportunity to create something that has an impact in your country and makes the lives of customers easier," said Tartarotti.
As a vendor management Intern on the Kindle team, Tartarotti is supporting both his Italian and Spanish colleagues by developing internal tools to streamline processes and helping to launch a new marketing campaign for Kindle Unlimited. "Forget the 'bring coffee and make copies' internship," said Tartarotti. "I was given responsibilities and opportunities to get involved in multiple projects from day one and really feel like part of the team."
Nitin Durai Ramnath, an MBA intern based in Barcelona, working for the German AWS enterprise insurance sales team headquartered in Munich, is excited by the level of importance given to the projects he's supporting. "Every stakeholder of my project tells me that they see great value in the project I am doing, and that they look forward to seeing the results I deliver," he said.
Ramnath was immediately struck by Amazon's culture that values great ideas. "I found this prevalent in Amazonians across the board, irrespective of team or geography," he said. "The principles and culture of Amazon ensure that nothing comes in the way of meritocracy."
Embodying Amazon's Leadership Principles from home
Amazon's Leadership Principles serve as the foundation for how we work—even remotely. Amazon employees use the 14 principles, every day, whether they're discussing ideas for new projects, deciding on the best solution for a customer's problem, or interviewing candidates.
Isha Brown, a student intern from Western Governors University, has spent her internship learning the ins and outs of AWS as a business operations intern. She was first drawn to Amazon after watching a video of Jeff Bezos speaking about Customer Obsession, one of Amazon's Leadership Principles. For Brown, one of the most rewarding aspects of her internship has been seeing her commitment to Amazon's Leadership Principles support business development.
"I'm working on a project to optimize demand fulfillment in Data Centers, and it's allowed me the opportunity to learn about infrastructure," she said. "I'm proud of how my intern project is coming along and know that it's being used by the team to solve problems for our customers."
Sahej Arora was also inspired to apply to Amazon because of a particular leadership principle: Insist on the Highest Standards. Arora, a student at UC Irvine, is part of the global delivery services operations finance team. To challenge herself to live up to the leadership principle, which drew her to Amazon, Arora regularly schedules meetings with her manager to gain a fresh perspective on her projects.
"During these meetings, my manager teaches me how to look at data from different angles, identify trends in numbers, challenge assumptions, and determine how to leverage the information to drive meaningful change," she said. "These discussions have definitely been one of the main highlights of my internship so far."
Head to Amazon.jobs for more information. Roles for students are generally posted in late summer or early autumn, so if you don’t see something that’s a fit, check back.