Top 10 Internship Tips: Soibi Andrew-Jaja

I sat down to talk to Soibi Andrew-Jaja, MBA ’14, about her internship with the Amazon Logistics team last summer.  She served as a Senior Program Manager who helped bridge the gap between the Technology and Operations departments.  Here are her top 10 pieces of advice:

1.  Find a cultural fit.

Amazon has a very laid back atmosphere.  They allow dogs in the office, and even have pedicure days for them.  Certain buildings had table tennis, fusbol, or Lego rooms.  The company also values family and holds many gatherings, like picnics.

2.  Communicate effectively.

Soibi worked cross-functionally, and various departments used different terminology, so she had to make sure people understood what she was talking about.  She wasn’t afraid to propose far-fetched ideas because there was an environment of constructive criticism.

3.  Handle ambiguity.

Projects are not often straightforward.  Amazon encourages the freedom to debate, which allows everyone’s point of view to be seen.

Soibi Andrew-Jaja, MBA '14

Soibi Andrew-Jaja, MBA ’14

4.  Create clearly-defined objectives.

Make sure your goals are achievable, but also have a high impact.  Amazon is a results-driven business and they want deliverables from their projects.

5.  Hold yourself accountable.

While Amazon employees don’t have specified hours, supervisors expect on them to get their work done, however they prefer to manage their time.

6.  Utilize knowledge from your classes.

Know which tools to use at what time.  Soibi drew on all of her coursework and even got in touch with SI Academy Faculty Director Barry Thomas.

Financials are always important to consider – think about payback and savings.  Soibi optimized processes to increase utilization and reduce costs.

7.  Develop credibility.

Many MBAs just talk the talk; make sure you walk the walk.  You can wax poetic about the big picture, but drilling down to the details will earn you trust.

8.  Take initiative.

If you are waiting on someone to get back to you, don’t get bored – anticipate what needs to be done next and multitask.  Be driven to challenge yourself.

9.  Be eager to learn.

It’s okay to not know everything.  You can figure lots of stuff out by reaching out to the right people.  Soibi even learned the programming language SQL in a mere 2 hours.

10.  Do something you’re passionate about.

Your primary motivation should be passion.  Don’t pursue a job just for the money.  You will be rewarded if you do something you’re truly enthusiastic and excited about.  Soibi likes to call this “finding your sweet spot.”

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David Meyer

About David Meyer

David is a first year MBA Candidate at the Tippie School of Management. Prior to joining the full-time MBA program, he worked in Research Administration at the Iowa City VA Health Care System. David holds a BBA in Marketing from the University of Iowa.