Former Intern Lands Prime Job at Amazon
After he graduates from Hamilton in May, David Yu will be joining Amazon as a business analyst. He interned there last summer and shares his path to that first job.
How did you become interested in pursuing a business-related career?
I’ve always been interested in a business or finance-related path. I enjoy learning about the ways that companies and industries operate, and I like the idea of working on a project and seeing it on the news.
How did you go about the job search process? Did you apply to many places besides Amazon?
I didn’t really look at tech companies in the beginning. I was mostly looking for a job in the finance industry. I [happened to notice] an Amazon application portal on LinkedIn and decided to apply. Because I was applying to so many jobs, I wasn’t really expecting to hear back, but Amazon actually got back to me within a few days.
What Hamilton classes, clubs, or experiences prepared you for this kind of career?
Statistics and the introductory courses in computer science have definitely helped me a lot. I was able to deal with a big chunk of data and understand the code that my co-workers had written. I also appreciate the government classes and my experience as a docent at the Wellin Museum, because I learned to present my ideas and projects. The New York City Program was also helpful because it taught me how to manage my time when I had to handle multiple projects at the same time.
Tell us more about your experience in the New York City Program and what you learned.
The New York City program was helpful because I learned to collaborate with colleagues and present my work to superiors through my internship at Pricap Advisors, a small investment management company. I’ve had several finance internships back in China, but I found my internship at Pricap to be extremely demanding, which was very valuable. I had to rely on my colleague for several parts of my work, but my colleague was often busy, so I learned to leave some questions in the back of my head and move ahead before I could ask for help.
Major: Economics; Minor: Government
Hometown: Ningbo, China
High School: Millbrook School
Activities: RA; student docent at the Wellin Museum
This turned out to be very helpful because at Amazon, I was often doing work that hadn’t been done previously in my group and required assistance from people in other organizations within Amazon. So leaving some problems unsolved and moving ahead was extremely important.
Presenting my work to superiors at Pricap also helped me tremendously. I learned to highlight what’s important for my superiors and react to criticism. Although the working environment at Amazon was much “cooler” and laid back than the finance firms where I interned before, the presentations were still extremely helpful.
What was it like interning at Amazon during the summer?
Before Amazon, I interned at numerous financial firms, so I was very excited that at Amazon I didn’t have to wear suits every day, and there wasn’t much sense of hierarchy (at least in my team). I was responsible for creating an automatic report system, and I had two supervisors directly supporting me. I had to write a “press release” for my project at the beginning, which is an Amazon tradition that supposedly helps you brainstorm what pain points your customers really have, but it was a painful experience for me because it forced me to plan everything out when I had very little information. But all the people, even those from other organizations within Amazon, that I reach out to for my projects had been extremely patient and helpful.
What are you most excited about as you transition to a full-time role at Amazon?
I really loved Seattle when I was there last summer. I’m also excited that I can occasionally choose to work remotely either from home or in another city (or another country) where Amazon has an office.