A few months ago, a book about Amazon and its founder called ‘The Everything Store‘ was released. Written by Businessweek’s Brad Stone, the book talked about how Jeff Bezos morphed the book seller into a retail giant. That title is certainly accurate since Amazon can deliver anything to customers all over the world.
However, does Amazon have everything a prospective student would want in an internship? We found a discussion thread on Quora where current and past interns dished on what it was like working at the company.
Responses were generally mixed but alot of the participants in the discussion chose to keep themselves anonymous.These are some of the best comments that you need to read
Projects Will Actually Have A Purpose
Unfortunately, many internships force students to do menial tasks like get coffee or pick up dry cleaning. Fortunately, that’s not the case when interning for Amazon. According to current intern JJ Liu, the projects that are assigned actually have a purpose for your resume. Here’s what he had to say:
“The intern projects at Amazon tend to be of fairly high quality and significance. This is a great facet of Amazon internships, and something that many people here highlight as a unique plus. I remember my interviewer stressing that interns complete meaningful work, and after coming here, I definitely see the truth in his words. In addition to my manager and mentor discussing options for my project, the entire team weighed in and contributed their thoughts on the relevance/usability/difficulty of the suggestions. They even explicitly considered how significant each possibility would be for full-timers, using tangible impact as a factor to weed out less significant contenders. In talking with other interns, this careful deliberation process is common and results in meaningful projects for most interns, which feels exciting. So if you are concerned about the significance of what you work on at an internship, Amazon does a good job in that area.”
There Won’t Be Many Social Events For Interns But That’s Not Bad
JJ Liu admitted that there could have been more bonding events for interns to take advantage of everything Seattle had to offer but the relaxed company culture made up for that.
“In my experience, Amazon working culture is quite casual and easygoing. But this doesn’t mean people don’t work hard; some work 12 hour days regularly, and people are almost always very busy with many tasks to do. In general, however, they still find time to relax and have a good time. I had to switch teams during my internship, but both have their own ways of having fun, such as some form of social “hangout” event on Friday afternoons. The people are very talented, as well. The specific dynamics of each team can vary; for example, my first team members often socialized outside of work, but that doesn’t seem to be the case with my second team. My second team, however, has random Nerf gun fights, which didn’t happen in my previous team. However, one cross-team constant seems to be the presence of foosball tables in all of the break rooms and the ongoing foosball games. Oh, and on my new floor, people also bring their dogs in :)”
You’ll Need To Promote Yourself As Much As Possible
While most of these commenters agreed that this was a great place to build your work portfolio, they also advise incoming applicants to be prepared to sell themselves as much as possible. One anonymous participant wrote that it was “too structured” working there.
“My mentor spent only 5 hours with me over 12 weeks, even though I asked for his help on some very Amazon-specific stuff, and many occasions. My manager felt I was given enough help and support, and I clearly was not, which came as a surprise to me.”
That same post still recommended the internship for interested students.
“I think I got a chance to learn a lot here. The scale that Amazon works at is just amazing, especially for someone who is studying and has very little industry experience.”
Be Prepared To Have Thick Skin
Another anonymous commenter divulged that you’ll need to have some thick skin to handle your tenure there.
“My experience had been horrible. A nightmare in short.If you want your internship to not to suck as mine.
Please follow some pointers:
1. Be eternally perky.
2.Advertise yourself shamelessly.
3.Managers don’t give a damn about you.All they care is you are delivering some thing or not.
4.Get yourself mentally prepared for some de-motivational speeches.
5.Don’t get dejected by the code monkey projects they give you.”
Amazon sounds like it will challenge students and will give them fulfilling work to do. Although the corporate culture could challenge some applicants, it would be an excellent company to have on your resume. A challenging internship will be perfect for preparing students for the real world. However, the Amazon internship sounds like it would be suited for aspiring web designers. The thread never explained how you could apply for one of these jobs but you should check the company website frequently.
Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through his personal investment company Bezos Expeditions.