Work Hard, Play Harder – My Internship Experience At eBay – Manthan From IIFT
With a strong yearning to discover more about e-commerce, I was overjoyed beyond words to have bagged an opportunity to intern with eBay India. The fact that I would get to work at the Mumbai Business Head Office of the oldest e-commerce company in India was the icing on the cake. I was getting a seat next to the directors and producers in order to observe how the grand movie actually shapes itself and it changed the way I used to think about ecommerce in India.
A fortnight before we were to start the 2 month journey, a list of probable projects was shared with us and a conference call was arranged to explain the nuances of every project that was designed to be implemented very soon during or after the stint. We were also given a choice to select a project based on our interests. That, a company provides interns a choice to choose the project they want to work on was seldom heard of.
On the first day at office, we had a small session scheduled with the Managing Director (India) and although I had expected that employees won’t be dressed in blazers, ties and suits, seeing him enter in a jeans and polo shirt attire was a pleasant surprise. A man with immense experience, he briefed us about model and strategy followed by ebay so far and how the newer legislations would have an impact on the e-commerce sector. We had sessions with various business heads and got deeper insights into the existing questions surrounding e-commerce as well as the nuances of the business conducted at eBay India, which was quite different to the competitors.
Soon, we were introduced to our mentors and the moment I found out that my project is with the Imports team, the excitement and curiosity had breached the brim. E-commerce and imports had a very rare connection. The best part about working at ebay was the freedom and experimental approach that it follows through its 70-20-10 which was stressed upon by my mentor – you learn 70% through challenges, experimentation and practice, 20% through social exposure with fellow interns and employees and 10% through structured presentations. I found that everyone at eBay is learning and has an open mind to every question or theory.
Soon, I met a lot of offline and online sellers to gauge their affinity towards a certain sector and how do they tally with the business generated from the respective categories. By the midterm review, a 1 slider presentation took up more than a half an hour with Q&A from the leadership team and their insights pinpointed the goal that I needed to reach. Again, they left it to me to approach anyway that I would deem fit. That really boosted my morale along with constant visits to different backend centres with my mentor to really help me understand the chain of work and the pain points in implementation of various strategies and tasks.
All the interns shared a great deal about the projects and I suddenly found myself thinking about different issues faced in other projects simultaneously with my own. This exercise helped us a great deal and further sharpened our knowledge. All the mentors too were very supportive and would take some time every day to review the progress made. It is difficult to say that the situation could have been the same in any other organization.
The stint ended with a grand dinner with the leadership team and there were a lot of takeaways from the programme. If someone would have mentioned the amount of work that I could accomplish in the time at our disposal before the start of our internship, I would have had serious doubts about my capabilities but they made it look a lot easier than it was.
The Town hall meetings and foosball games at ebay will certainly be missed. They certainly brought more freshness to the work. eBay helped me find the balance between smart and hard work.
About the Author:
Manthan Vijay Shah, student of MBA (IB) 2015-17 batch at Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (I.I.F.T.), Delhi.