Student: Jesse Silberberg, MBA 15
Internship: Senior Product Manager with Amazon’s Kindle Education group. “We are responsible for building eTextbook functionality for Kindle, and study features including Flashcards, X-Ray and Notebook. I’m focused on making Kindle an even more powerful tool for students.
Amazon because: “I came into Haas with a passion for education, innovation and technology, and I’m getting to work on all three at once. I was excited to get experience working in product management, which involves interfacing with folks across different functions, including business, engineering and UX. In addition, Amazon has a reputation for giving interns ownership of really meaningful projects, and I was also excited to push myself to deliver something that would make a difference for the company and its customers over the course of my 11 weeks here this summer.”
Thrilled about: “Outside of my core project, I’ve had the chance to interact with the company’s most senior leaders, each of whom spend an hour with the MBA group talking about their experiences and answering questions in an informal setting. I’ve learned a lot from how they’ve approached their careers and solved challenges of a huge scale. It’s great motivation to push myself on what I can achieve as a leader.”
Highlight so far: “In the third week of my internship I had an hour to present my early thinking at a weekly meeting of product managers from across the Kindle group. They were supportive of what I was working on at a high level, but dug into the holes in my argument in a really constructive way. Their feedback helped me figure out the right questions to answer far more quickly than if I was working through the challenge on my own.”
Inside Amazon: “Amazon takes a lot of pride in its Leadership Principles, and uses them to make decisions on a daily basis. My favorites are “Think Big”, “Bias for Action,” and “Have Backbone; Disagree and Commit.” They give everyone at the company, including interns, the grounds for taking a stand on a big idea, and it makes the work that much more exciting.”
Applied learning: “Everything Amazon does is in service of its customers, so for my project I wanted to get input from customers as quickly as possible. I held a focus group with students and brought some Haas flair to its execution, using design thinking tactics (and Post It notes) to push participants to really think outside of the box.”
Advancing career goals by: “From an exposure perspective, I had worked for an early stage ed-tech startup before school, and it’s great to work this summer for a much larger company to compare and contrast the two experiences. From a skill perspective, I’m flexing a lot of different muscles—customer interviews, survey design, data analysis, feature scoping—and getting feedback on my work from product managers, designers and developers. To sum it up, I’m doing— and learning—a ton.”