mba internship blog

The purpose of this blog is to share more about the MBA internship experience with prospective and admitted Stern MBA students interested in technology. Please reach out to sta@stern.nyu if you wish to learn more. 

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Matt Cowsert

Co-President of STA (2017-2018) 
Future Amazonian, 
Senior Product Manager of Technical Products

Job Before Stern
Before Stern, I spent seven years in the U.S. Army in various operations (Infantry) and budget management (Finance) roles. I lived in Georgia, California, South Carolina, Hawaii, and Afghanistan while managing teams ranging from two to one-hundred fifty. Regardless of my positions, I spent most of my time creating environments for others to do their best work and designing/implementing process improvements.

Helpful Advice During the Recruiting Process
For each firm, figure out what is table stakes (low variance, everyone must do it) and what you can do to set yourself apart (high variance- your story, motivations for working there, understanding of their business). Understanding from the beginning which firms are high-touch (coffee chats, thank you notes, private events), and which firms are low-touch (resume drop, informational interviews for your benefit only) will allow you to align your efforts appropriately.

Role Over the Summer
This past summer, I was a Senior Product Manager at Amazon, working within their Consumer Engagement organization. To be successful, I needed to work with and understand our engineering, design, and partner teams. To understand the perspective of our engineers, I learned the underlying services that our product depended on (by diagramming our services architecture) and what services were necessary for future growth (i.e., dependencies, lateral uses of existing APIs). I used wireframing tools (Balsamiq) to create low-fidelity mock-ups of new experiences to review with our design team. Lastly, I used SQL to extract customer insights, inform experiment design, and confirm my assumptions when working with partner teams.

Favorite Project Over the Summer
My primary project was to integrate brands (sellers and manufacturers) into an chat service while maintaining the trust that customers expect from Amazon. Other projects I worked on included designing new ways to use our customer data to increase the value of our service and figuring out when to elicit feedback from users. I did not have a favorite, but I enjoyed the autonomy to explore, experiment, and implement innovative ideas through the “adding customer value” lens.

Returning Upon Graduation? Why?
I am returning to Amazon post-graduation as a Senior Product Manager of Technical Products! There are so many reasons why I am happy to be returning to Amazon, but a few that top my list include:
(1)   My team and my manager were inviting, helpful, and challenged me to grow
(2)   The results I was able to deliver over a 12 week period positively impacted the future of the product
(3)   I enjoyed the clarity of written communication and debate vs. slide decks and presentations
Ultimately, I felt that Amazon gave me the best opportunity to leverage my strengths and I am excited for the chance to contribute to Amazon’s future growth.

Kathie yang

Salesforce, Business Strategy MBA Intern (2017)

Jobs Before Stern
Before Stern, I worked for Sephora managing the eCommerce/digital analytics team. That experience taught me skills in structured thinking and analysis, innovative marketing, and what challenges the digital world was facing. I also helped with projects like our augmented reality feature on the iPhone app, which kickstarted my tech career goals.

Helpful Advice During the Recruiting Process
To not stress! I started my internship search late (in February) because I knew I wanted to do something in retail or tech. By then, more than half the class had already secured internships, but I kept in mind that it had to do with the industry and took my time looking for opportunities that I knew I'd be excited for. Sure enough, I kept seeing new internships being posted throughout the spring, and secured mine in late April.

Role Over the Summer
I interned in Business Analytics/Strategy for Salesforce's Retail Customer Portfolio, which basically means my team works with Salesforce's retail and CPG customers to ensure they're fully utilizing the platform to solve their business challenges. My role was to analyze opportunities to increase our customer engagement, identify customer trends to decide what events and products we should grow, and develop strategy playbooks for the Customer Success team to implement.

Can you tell us about your favorite project over the summer?
I really liked that my manager assigned me to projects where I could integrate my retail background and knowledge. For one project, I worked on a marketing training program and developed value propositions for the Marketing Cloud product so that our retail team could better communicate to their marketing users. I collaborated with product managers, researched our customers, and interviewed our customer-facing teams. My retail experience was useful because I had insights into what retailers were struggling with, main challenges that they were looking to solve with CRM software, and even keywords that would resonate with them. I incorporated all this into a complete training that focused on how our products could drive value to solve each one of these business challenges.

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David wolitzer

IBM, Product Management Intern (2017)

Jobs Before Stern
Before Stern, I was a Product Manager at a start-up social media management company. We developed our own technology to help real estate agents and franchisees keep their social media profiles active. There is never a dull moment as a Product Manager in the fast-paced start-up environment. One moment I would be working with the engineering team to improve our on-boarding process and the next I was acting as a customer service representative. I really enjoyed my role, but felt I needed more exposure to other aspects of business like strategy and operations which is why I came to Stern.

Helpful Advice During the Recruiting Process
Track all your interactions with companies and the status of your applications. I applied to a lot of companies which meant I had a lot of conversations. It is impossible to remember who you talked to, what they said, and follow-up with them if you are not keeping a log of everything. During the process I was using notepads to take notes while at events, writing information on business cards, and then putting it all in a spreadsheet. There is a lot of information to keep track. This lesson actually inspired a product I am working on now at Stern, TrackED, which brings the notepad and excel tracker into a single mobile application..

Role Over the Summer
This past summer, I was an Extreme Blue Product Management Intern at IBM in Durham, NC. The Extreme Blue program at IBM is unique, as far as MBA internships go. I worked as a member of a four person team comprised of one MBA intern, the Product Manager, and three undergraduate/masters engineering interns. The team is sponsored by an IBM business unit and your job is to create a product from scratch.  It was a great experience working with the engineering interns as I learned from them just as much as I learned from my advisors in the business unit. Each week of the internship was chronicled by a different team on the Extreme Blue blog so you can learn more about my time at IBM here:

Can you tell us about your favorite project over the summer?
My project for the summer was to create a brand new product in ten weeks, a daunting and exhilarating task. My team, Bumblebee, created a proactive AI for chat applications. The best part of the project is that as a team, we had no bosses. The business unit was there to advise us, but it was up to us to determine what needs to be worked on and how to achieve our goals. As the MBA intern, the project felt like all my business school classes wrapped up into one big intensive. I did market sizing, product roadmapping, user research, design, and more. The summer culminated in presenting and demoing the product to a theater full of IBM executives at the Extreme Blue expo at IBM Headquarters in New York. The expo was a great opportunity to reflect on the summer and see all my hard work pay off.