I hail from Genoa, Italy and I’m a part of a Dual Degree programme between ESCP (Masters in Management) and Politecnico di Torino (Masters of Science, Management and Engineering). I have interned at both Amazon in London and Accenture in Torino. 

I interned at Amazon in London as a Business Intelligence Analyst for six months after my first year at Politecnico. It was an amazing experience. I was as curious as everyone else about working in Amazon because no one really knows about the work culture there. At the same time, I was clueless as I did not know what to expect during my first day there. However a few days into the internship, I was made to feel like part of the company. I worked within a team of just 4 people, but most of my time there, I worked independently. My job was partially technical as I monitored the flow of orders inside the warehouse and most of my work was on Excel and SQL. In addition, I used new models in forecasting parcels such as VBA macros. It was an excellent place to see the practical implications of what you learn. 

Everyone at Amazon is very young. My manager was only 3 years older than me.

The culture was as a result, very international and dynamic with a lot of responsibility given to everyone working there to promote independent working.The work schedule was also very flexible in the sense that I could come in and leave at any time. I also had the possibility of working from home if required as long as the work was done. 

We were encouraged to change and innovate daily because everyone believed that change cannot happen overnight but needs to be worked on a little bit every single day. The employees were very open to experimenting new ideas and improving the overall system. One of the most important take-aways from my experience is the regular feedback that I received from my manager. The only disadvantage of working in Amazon was that I worked alone most of the time. Though it gave me immense responsibility, there were no brainstorming sessions or discussions, which is often a good solution to come up with new ideas. 

The interview process was in two steps: a logic test to assess my technical expertise, and 3 phone interviews.

I interned at Amazon because while searching for an internship, I was focused on getting one outside Italy. While searching on LinkedIn, I came across this position in London. It seemed like a good opportunity and I knew that I had to apply for it. The application procedure started with two tests: a logic test and an Excel/SQL test to measure my technical expertise. Following this was a series of 3 telephone interviews. One of these was conducted by an employee working in the warehouse and the other two were with two managers that I would work with. The surprising part about these interviews was that they were solely based on values and nothing technical. The managers wanted to see if I would be a good fit for their team even though I did not work with any of them. From what I have heard, they have now started interviewing on Skype. 

Now that I am interning at Accenture, I can say that the work environment is radically different. While Amazon follows a more individualistic structure, Accenture boosts team performance. My team in Accenture is roughly twenty people which is five times more than it was in Amazon. Accenture also follows a more disciplined approach to ideas and solutions, hence the individual contribution is relatively lower. 

This article first appeared in Thrive magazine