MBA Internship Profile: eBay | TopMBA.com

MBA Internship Profile: eBay

By Nicole Willson

Updated July 8, 2019 Updated July 8, 2019

What is it like to spend your summer MBA internship working on a marketing strategy for a charity program run by a major e-commerce company? Alison Joseph attended the Yale School of Management and now works as a marketing manager for eBay for Charity. In this interview, Joseph discusses her experience in starting out at the company as an intern and offers advice for MBA interns looking to land a full-time job offer.

Alison Joseph (center); marketing manager at eBay for Charity
Tell me a bit about your background. What business school did you attend?

I have a BA from Cornell University in political science. Before business school, I worked as a grassroots campaign manager at a public affairs firm in Washington DC, where I developed an interest in leveraging technology for positive social change. I decided to attend the Yale School of Management because of its reputation for developing successful leaders across the public, private and social sectors. I believed it would be the best place for me to explore this interest and develop the skills I needed to transition into tech.

Which department did you intern in and what kind of projects did you work on?

I interned on a program called eBay for Charity (known at that time as eBay Giving Works) within eBay’s marketing organization. My main project for the summer was to develop a content marketing strategy for eBay Giving Works, which included launching a new blog for the program and making quick pivots based on early feedback and results.

Why did you decide to intern at eBay?

I decided to intern at eBay because I found a role that truly seemed like a perfect fit for my experience, interests and desired career path. My role was focused on social media and content marketing in the social impact space, which was my area of experience at the (aforementioned) public affairs firm, so I knew I would be able to add value to the team. At the same time, this job also offered me a huge opportunity for growth by positioning myself within the marketing organization of a highly respected global technology company.

What opportunities did you have to work with senior management?

As an intern and now a full-time employee, I’ve had great exposure to senior management. During my internship, I met with several leaders in the marketing and cause-marketing space at eBay and, at the end of the summer, I presented my blog and content strategy to the CMO.

eBay prides itself on its collaborative environment
What was your first impression of eBay’s corporate culture?

My first impression of eBay’s culture was that it seemed very friendly and relaxed. Relocating from Washington DC, I immediately noticed the open office spaces and casual attire, but once I got beyond the aesthetics, I realized that everyone at eBay also works hard and cares deeply about the product. Employees at eBay are extremely passionate about connecting with and serving our community of buyers and sellers – everything we do is with the goal of delivering the best experience possible for them.

What did you enjoy most about your internship?

My favorite part of the internship was how easy it felt to build relationships – not just within my team or with other interns, but also with senior leaders and future mentors across the company. As an intern, you’re encouraged to reach out to anyone in the organization who you’d like to get to know and schedule a coffee to chat, in addition to participating in official programming like the company’s Intern Conference and MBA-specific happy hours. I feel very fortunate that the internship gave me the license to build relationships with many different people to whom I remain close today.

What were some of the challenges you faced during your internship?

As an intern at a large company, one of my biggest challenges was finding my place in the organization and defining my role in the team. When I first arrived, I was anxious to get started on a project, make my voice heard and have a positive impact on the team. At the same time, I had no understanding of the way eBay was organized or where I fit into the matrix. I leaned on my manager a lot in the beginning. I asked lots of questions about the company and the team, and I worked closely with her to define my summer project, align on metrics for success, and constantly seek feedback. After a short time, I found where I fitted into the team and organization and was able to succeed during my time as an Intern.

How did interning at eBay help you grow as a professional?

When I first joined eBay as an intern, it felt very daunting to navigate such a large organization. I wondered how I would be able to stand out and make an impact in only three months. But from the start, I had opportunities to speak up in meetings and present my work to executives. The more I asked hard questions and shared my opinions, the more positive feedback I received. I quickly built relationships and gained the confidence to know I could succeed at a fast-paced global tech company.

Out of all the things you accomplished during your eBay internship, which one are you proudest of?

I am proudest of the process I built to interact with and gather feedback from our nonprofit partners. Prior to my arrival on the team, we managed our nonprofit relationships in an ad-hoc manner and were not incentivizing these partners to spread the word about our program. We facilitated donation and fundraising opportunities without asking for anything in return. When I arrived, I built a survey to gather information from nonprofits about the perceived benefits and challenges they have experienced with the program and required that they complete it, along with other promotional requirements, in order to be featured on the site. This process was a great way to gain insights about our program from key stakeholders and generate additional awareness and traffic from their supporters and find ways to make the program better based on our partners’ feedback.

What advice do you have for MBAs who are interested in interning at eBay?

To get your foot in the door, apply for a specific role that interests you and leverages your skillset. eBay is a large company and there are a wide variety of roles that might be relevant for an MBA student, but all of them require more than just a business degree for you to stand out. If you have a background in computer science, you might consider product management. If you worked in consulting before business school, you could be a good fit for the strategy team. My background in the social sector set me up perfectly for a role with the eBay for Charity team, where I had plenty of room for growth but could also jump in and start adding value immediately.

Based on your experience, what can MBAs do to improve their chances of getting a full-time job offer at the end of an internship?

I think I received an offer at the end of my summer internship for two main reasons – first, I made my manager’s life easier by adding value to the team and organization; and second, I built a solid reputation for myself with other decision-makers in the marketing organization. I became a valuable asset for my manager by taking on any project assigned to me, getting up to speed quickly, and then making it my own. I kept her informed and sought her feedback frequently, but didn’t rely on her to get things done. By carving out a place for myself in the team and building relationships with external leaders, I made it easy for my manager to make the case for giving me a full-time offer.

This article was originally published in July 2016 . It was last updated in July 2019

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Nicole is the SEO manager of TopMBA.com, as well as a contributing author. She holds a BA in history and sociology, and a master's in library science. Aside from her work for QS, Nicole is a long-time contributing editor and administrator for WikiHow.

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