Internship Diaries of 2020 is a series about the various categories of roles offered by companies for summer internships. We bring to you the experiences of interns from Consulting, Finance, Marketing, General Management, Product Management, Operations and E-commerce roles to understand a bit more about their work life. The articles are meant to give the reader a glimpse into the life of an intern and help the reader understand their fit in that particular role.
Contributed by: K Sruti
Picture Credits: Rishi Rathi
Edited by: Debleena Mondal
Amidst the chaos and uncertainty brought on by COVID-19, Amazon not only kept its internship offers intact but also, ensured that its interns worked on live projects with support extended to them from across the organization. Amazon found a way to deliver the IT assets to the interns, even in zones where the movement of essentials was hampered. And that is the earth’s most customer-centric company for you, where customers range from sellers to buyers to employees to interns as well! Amazon’s student programs team was always in touch with the interns since the second half of March for an internship that began more than a month later, allaying all the concerns of the interns, which became all the more critical in these extraordinary times.
I was assigned a benchmarking project in the returns and refunds domain at Amazon.in. Since the entire team was working remotely, it was decided to give me a project where I would not require team support every day of the week. However, as the internship progressed, I was working with Amazonians from eight different teams. What amazed me was the speed and extent to which I received responses from all of them. The ultimate goal of the exercise was to decrease the friction for the customer in initiating a return, tracking the return status/pickup of the product as well as receiving refund-related communication. I was expected to compare the returns experience for a customer at Amazon.in vs that at the industry, competitors to find avenues to increase self-service options for the customer on the App/Amazon.in portals. At each step, I was expected to provide the impact of suggested improvements, features as well rate its efficacy in solving the customer’s problem.
While I was treated like a full-time employee with full responsibility for the delivery of results, I could comfortably and confidently reach out to anyone for help, and a response was assured. Given that the whole office was working from home, most calls would inevitably begin with a confirmation whether the speaker was audible and occasionally have guest appearances by curious tiny tots in video meetings. The experience was not diluted in any manner since the managers and mentors would make themselves available even at unearthly hours to ensure that the deadline could be met. From my perspective, three things stood out in this experience. First is Amazon’s obsession with customers in letter and spirit. Projects at Amazon do not derive their importance from the associated revenue or profit margin. Each one undertaken is prioritized based on the number of customers who have snags in their relationship with Amazon. The essence of this principle is that no matter how minuscule the rupee-wise contribution, maybe, all customers are equally valued at Amazon. The second was Amazon’s emphasis on writing documents over making PowerPoint presentations. It is believed that the success of a PPT hinges on the delivery skills of the presenter. At the same time, a detailed document stands the tests of time, audience, and the absence of a presenter. The third was the insistence on providing an objective narrative of the project supported by numbers at every possible juncture. The use of adjectives and adverbs in a document is discouraged. The writer must provide numbers instead, to avoid clouding the judgement of the reader and steer clear of (what is referred to in common b-school student parlance as ‘globe’!) unquantifiable recommendations.
To put it in a nutshell, it may not have met the expectations of the ideal summer experience, but learnings were derived all the same.
K Sruti, Rishi and Debleena are students of the PGP 2019-21 batch at IIM Bangalore.