Bittersweet Ending

I’m officially done with my internship, and it’s such a strange feeling. This summer was a lot of things: hectic, fun, overwhelming, educational, memorable, etc. I learned so many things in the 10 weeks I spent with Amazon, and I will absolutely carry those lessons into the classroom and through my career. I feel confident in my understanding of operations as run by an Amazon fulfillment center, although I’m positive I only know a small fraction of the overall operations. Now that it’s over, I’m ready to reflect on the many things I learned about Amazon, operations management, and myself.

The biggest thing I learned about Amazon as a company is that structure and guidance is virtually nonexistent. If you want to succeed within this company, you have to be able to speak up about what you don’t know, learn to go with the flow, and be willing to fail and learn from that failure. You HAVE to be proactive about this, too, rather than just drowning and not reaching out. Through my whole internship, my biggest feedback about the program was that I didn’t know what exactly what was expected of me. By the end, I realized that there was no specific set of things I was supposed to do. If I wanted to do something, all I had to do was ask one of my seniors if I could. The answer was *always* yes. This environment forces you to take initiative, admit when you’re wrong, and speak up. Otherwise, you won’t be able to move up within the company. Another priority I noticed in Amazon is their leadership principles. This isn’t something they hide; the leadership principles are posted all over the breakrooms, conference rooms, and everywhere possible in the fulfillment center. They use these to make sure leaders develop a full understanding of their strengths and areas of opportunities (rather than weaknesses) and adjust their leadership style accordingly.

This internship was my first experience in a legitimate management position; while I’ve been in leadership positions, it’s not quite the same. Every day I learned a new lesson about management from my own experiences as well as the other managers in my building. I learned valuable communication skills as a manager: go into every conversation with an open mind and a unique answer; honesty earns trust better than sugar coating; actions really do speak louder than words; seek to understand rather than punish; dish out positive feedback as often as negative, but don’t ever skimp on the negative. I also learned that managing people means forming bonds, connections, and friendships with them. Leaving my team was so difficult, and I cried on my last day saying my goodbyes. So many more lessons came from the operations aspect of this position. I was taught balance between departments, how to plan and adjust labor, when and how to communicate about labor share across departments, how to calculate and adjust throughput, what to measure for efficiency, what roles are considered critical, and so much more. All of these are lessons that cannot be taught without the experience, and I’m so grateful for this opportunity to learn firsthand in an environment where operations thrive.

More than anything, this experience taught me a lot about myself. I gained an understanding of my abilities, but I also found where my limits are and how to recharge once I hit them. There were a couple occasions where the work was overwhelming, I was confused on my expectations, the hours were long, and I felt so unqualified for what I was doing. I remember about 4 weeks in, feeling so lost and confused in the middle of shift and trying to figure out what in the world I was supposed to do without crying from stress. After who knows how long (5 minutes? 25?) of just walking around flustered, I sat down and wrote down a plan for what I was supposed to be doing. I browsed through the website that populates feedback, and wrote down a plan on how to do that. I consulted the Process Assistants (at this point I was still apprehensive to ask a manager for help) and finally just started doing the task. Once I did that, my reaction seemed so dramatic for such a menial task. I realized my barrier was not knowing the exact process. So from then on out, I made sure to have someone walk me through how to do a task when given a new one. It was also very difficult for me to ask for help at first, which is a pretty common setback. We all want to be perfect! Once I got over that, the internship felt so simple. Everyone was willing to help me, I just had to ask. I had a really great mentor, and she’d answer any question I could possibly think of…even when she was super busy. Again, all I ever had to do was ask. Issues like these helped me to understand my barriers and determine root causes, which I know will be helpful for the rest of my life.

This internship taught me so many valuable lessons and allowed me to grow both professionally and personally. Going in, I had no idea it would make such a huge difference on my life and perspective. And I definitely had no idea I’d be so upset to leave! While I am happy to be home with my parents, heading back to OSU soon, and finally sleeping in, I’ll be missing my Amazon coworkers so much. I know I’ll be spending a lot of time reflecting on this internship.

So, just like that…it’s over! Summer (almost), internship, blog, all done. As always, #GoBucks, but for anyone interested in learning more about Amazon and my experience, feel free to contact me: shreve.57. 🙂

7 Must-Sees in Mass and RI

Now that I’ve spent almost 6 weeks out in New England, I’ve had lots of time to explore the area. Although I’ve only stayed in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, there are endless opportunities to explore and sightsee right around me! Here are some of my favorite must-sees from the area (most of which are free):

1. Boston Public Garden

When I went to visit Boston for the first time, everyone told me to visit Boston Common. It’s a neat little area, very historical, but the Boston Public Garden absolutely blew me away. It is absolutely gorgeous! There’s trees and wildlife and tourists and music and water and everything else you might want in a park…smack dab in the middle of Boston. It’s pretty small (think, a fraction of Central Park in NYC), but way worth the stroll through just to look.


2. Fenway Park

I’m not a huge baseball fan, and I halfheartedly root for the Red Sox because I’ve always wanted to live in Boston. That being said, Fenway Park is easily #2 on this list for so many reasons. The history in this field – the oldest in the MLB – is so obvious. It’s actual a historical landmark, and the upkeep of it was very interesting. The best part is that very little has changed in the last century, as Boston loves their history. My family and I took the 60 minute tour, and it was well worth it!


3. Newbury Street

Newbury Street is adjacent to the Boston Public Garden, and it’s a really great area to walk through. Basically it’s home to high end fashion shops, cute cafes, and niche little boutiques. It’s long enough and pretty enough that you could spend an hour just window shopping down the street. Some of my favorite stops were the antique/jewelry shops that are sometimes hidden amongst all the other storefronts. It’s also nestled right beside Beacon Hill, the most historic Boston neighborhood, which gives it great architecture to take in while you walk!

4. “Mile of History” 

This is a walk down Benefit Street in Providence, one block over from Brown University. It’s a hill full of beautiful architecture, and most of the houses have plaques denoting their original owners along with the year it was built. This is a beautiful neighborhood, and at every intersection you can see a peek of the canal running alongside it. Even if you’re not into history and don’t know who these people are, it’s such a cute street that it’s still worth it. You’ll also find the Athaeneum, a beautiful public library that Brown students use a lot for studying. It has close ties with Edgar Allen Poe and a super neat aesthetic, and it’s worth a stop to take a look around.


5. Boston Esplanade/Beacon Hill

The Esplanade is a gorgeous little park right on the Charles River Basin in Boston. It’s such a relaxing area and gives you great views of the city while surrounded by nature! Lots of people walk, run, bike, skate, etc. along the little path through the Esplanade, and you’re sure to see tons of sailboats in the water on a nice day. After a long morning of touring Boston, this is a great place to go and relax while still taking in the sights and sounds of the city. It’s also right beside Beacon Hill, which I mentioned earlier. Beacon Hill is just a neighborhood in Boston, but it has the iconic brick townhouses that are beautiful and so historical. It’s worth it just to walk through the area to look at all the beautiful houses.

6. Providence Downcity

I’m a sucker for old fashioned architecture, and Providence is the perfect city for that! I was so taken aback by its looks that I even looked up some history on it. Providence was a poor city in the late 1900s when other U.S. cities were redesigning their buildings (think NYC skyscrapers) and tearing down the older ones. Since Providence couldn’t afford to do that, their buildings are now these gorgeous pieces of history! Downcity is an area of Providence that doubles as the downtown and historic district of the city. It’s really neat to walk through here on a weekday and see all the modern professionals walk out of buildings that remind you of the 1950s. I especially love the Providence Performing Arts Theater (still functioning!) that looks like it’s for a movie set.

7. Newport, RI 

Newport. That’s it, that’s the whole suggestion. This whole city is just gorgeous. It’s known for its mansions – which are able to be toured if you want – and its cliff walk. The mansions are neat, especially those on Bellevue Ave, but the cliff walk took my breath away. The view of Narragansett Bay from these cliffs is incredible! The rest of Newport is also so cute. There’s a line of shops, restaurants, and cafes running right along the harbor where you can find cute hidden gems. I found a homemade ceramics shop and a cafĂ© that serves a delicious s’mores drink. Along Bellevue Ave is the International Tennis Hall of Fame, Audrain’s Automobile Museum (I highly recommend), and a ton of other shops and cafes. Not to mention Easton’s Beach, which is really nice and has its own aquarium for injured/sick sea animals.

Lastly, some honorable mentions: Freedom Trail in Boston; Prospect Terrace in Providence; Brown University Rooftop Conservatory.

No matter what you do, this area is so fun to explore. If you’re from the Midwest like me, the geography alone here will blow your mind! The best advice I can give for someone in a situation like mine (moving out here and knowing no one) is to branch out and explore places by yourself. It’s great to just be able to take in the sights and sounds, plus you’re a great tour guide when someone comes to visit! I can’t wait to explore the rest of New England as my summer goes on.

From Internship to Senior Year

Transitioning back to school was easy for me, but I was extremely busy. I had to cut my internship a couple days short in order to be back for work at Ohio State helping the Early Arrival Program for incoming freshman. On my last day, Wednesday, August 16th, we had our final presentations in our intern project groups. We presented to over 60 people and then had lunch. Afterwards, we took pictures as a group and said our goodbyes.

Finance Interns in North Carolina
My Intern Project Group After Final Presentations

I drove back to the house I was staying in and finished packing and loading my things into my car with the help of my mom and her friend who flew in two nights before. We didn’t get back to Columbus until 11:30 PM that night, and I had to be at work at 8 AM the next morning. I worked the next few days and had one day of break before school started again. I was so busy during the past 3 weeks that I didn’t even have a chance to sit down and watch TV or Netflix. It wasn’t until this past weekend that I felt that I was able to catch up on school work, unpacking, and seeing friends. Thankfully I should not have that tight of a turn around again.

I had a great summer working for Cisco. About halfway through my internship I decided that if I were to receive a full-time offer, I would want it to be at the headquarter office in San Jose, California. I expressed this to my program manager in our weekly check-ins and told her the reasons why I felt this way. Last week I received a call with my offer to work with Cisco and I accepted! I am looking forward to starting my career in Silicon Valley and living in California, which is somewhere I never thought I would end up because it is so far away.


Looking back I had some great experiences this summer. I want to share a few funny stories, things I found cool at Cisco, and tips for your internship. I hope you have enjoyed reading!

-On my first day with my finance team I wore a cute new shirt I had bought. Upon getting out of my car, my roommate pointed out that the tag was still on the shirt. This tag was not any tag, it was a thick cardboard tag with a string attaching it to my shirt. We weren’t able to rip it off or get it off with my keys. I went into the break room in the office and couldn’t find any scissors. Then, I went to my desk where my manager introduced me to a guy on the team and I asked them if they knew where scissors were, to which they shook their heads. I explained my tag situation and the guy I just met said he had a pocket knife. So he sawed the tag of, to which I said “nice to meet you”.  Maybe it was embarrassing, but it was funny to us.

-Our office has automatic desks that go up and down to adjust to your height or if you want to stand and work. Our laptops are our computers and we take them home with us every day. We also don’t have assigned desks, though most people sit at the same desks every day. Free coffee and iced coffee became a great perk to have on the long work days when I needed a boost of energy.

-Having a roommate that has to go to work at the same time as you is great. One day my phone was constantly dying for no reason and it decided to die overnight leaving me without an alarm. My roommate knocked on my door five minutes before we were supposed to leave to check if I was up. Without her, who knows when I would have woken up that morning.

-During a Durham Bulls baseball game that all of Cisco finance was invited to, we got souvenir mason jars with our drinks. The game was so hot that we went to find shade, but I realized I forgot my mason jar. I went back to grab it and when I came up the stairs some first years in the rotational program asked what I was doing. I put my cup up to show them while saying I forgot my cup, but as I did that the last bits of my drink splashed out onto my face and shirt. We all laughed so hard, and it started an hour long conversation in which I got to know the first years better.  *If you are underage, never drink alcohol at a company event.

-Keep a running track of what you do and who you talk to during your internship, even down to the small things you think don’t mean anything. This will come in handy if you have an exit interview or an interview with another company. It also helps when you update your resume.

-Cisco has many creativity rooms that are filled with things from a golf putting room, to a TV room, to massage chairs. I definitely wish I took advantage of these more, but I was busy working!

Golf Room
Cabana Room
Lounge in the Cabana Room
Game Room

Internship Wrap-Up and Reflection

As the last few weeks of August near, the Ohio State campus becomes busy again as students return for a new year. And just like that, another summer has come and gone!

During the final days of my internship at Cardinal Health, the whirlwind of project wrap-up, final presentation prep, and full-time interviews all caused me to stop and think about my summer experience. It’s easy to notice if you like coming to work every day, but going a bit deeper may be useful in your future career search.

Here are a few questions worth pondering:

Do I like the work I am doing?

Think about the technical aspects of your summer job. An internship is a great way to get a glimpse of how skills transfer from classroom to workplace. If you didn’t love your summer work, what would make it better? For example, I really enjoyed the writing aspect of my intern role but would have liked to see more data analytics incorporated. Use this insight when evaluating future positions.

Do I like the company where I am working?

It’s often hard to describe company culture until you have lived it. After working for a company over the summer, did you identify with the core values? As my internship progressed, I was able to pinpoint certain things about Cardinal Health that I really appreciated. For example, other employees were highly open to networking, which helped me build a strong network and learn about the company.

Do I like the city I am working in?

Location is key! Enjoying your job is important, but what do you do outside of work? I have been at Ohio State for three years, but this was my first summer living in Columbus without the responsibilities of classwork. It was a completely different experience! I finally got to explore the city—museums, parks, plenty of new restaurants—which made it easier to imagine living here with a full-time job after graduation.

What did I learn in this position?

When you add a job or internship to your resume, what are your bullet points? This doesn’t have to be anything formal, but it can be useful to write down all of the accomplishments or tasks completed during an internship. Think about the technical skills, such as learning a new software program or understanding an operational process. Don’t forget the soft skills too; if you frequently worked on teams during your job, make sure to use those new or improved skills in classes with group work.

A Relatively Normal Internship Day

Thankfully most of my days at Cisco have variation. With the multiple projects I work on, to the different events that happen, I am almost always busy. I will walk you through a relatively normal day of my internship.

6:30 am   I try to wake up early, though lately the snooze button has gotten the best of me. I get ready for the day and make breakfast which has consisted of eggs, bacon, toast and orange juice. It is great eating breakfast like this in the morning, because it is not something I would never take the time to do at home.

7:30 am  I leave to drive to work around this time if my roommate and I are ready. It takes about 20-25 minutes to drive from our home in Durham to Cisco.

8:00am   I arrive at work early because my roommate that I drive, who does not have a car, wants to get to work at 8. My team usually does not get in until 8:30-9am, though the past week or so they have been in earlier because it was our year-end close on July 29th.  When I get into the office, I usually go over my emails first to see if there is anything important or anything someone has asked me to do. About half of the days there is something in my inbox that is of relevance to me. After checking my emails, I check my calendar to see what I have to do that day, and then I grab coffee from the break room.

9:00 am  More people trickle into the office and I am working on my project for my Sales and Services Finance team. I have done a few different excel projects that lasted over a few weeks, along with a project on compliance. I usually ask my manager if there is anything she needs from me, and, if not, I continue to work on my projects.

11:00 am We also have an intern team project that we complete for the company that is not finance-specific, like our job. There are 4 of us in a group and we meet to work on our project outside of our meetings without our project manager and mentor. We try to get as much done as we can and set up the schedule for how our meeting will go later.

12:00pm Most interns and rotational program employees go to lunch. We have to walk for five minutes to get to the closest cafeteria which is two buildings over. Every once in awhile we go out to a restaurant for lunch.

1:00 pm  When I get back from lunch, I either work on my projects or have a meeting with my intern project team. We meet for an hour, two days a week, so that our manager and mentor can make sure we are still on track and help us where we need guidance.

2:00 pm  As an intern, people want to meet and talk to you. A lot of the interns set up meetings with other interns’ managers and people in the rotational program. I set up meetings with managers whose positions are interesting to me, people in the rotational program I have not had the time to get to know yet, and people in the San Jose office because I am interested in moving to that office. I am not someone who can set up meetings with everyone just for the sake of networking. To network well, it is important to get something out of your meeting. If it gets to the point where you have so many meetings that you are not learning something or able to keep people separate in your mind, you may be meeting too many people in too short of a time.

3:00 pm  At this point, I will go back to my desk and write down what my meeting was about and what I learned. Then, I will finish my projects for the day.

4:00 pm I will wrap up my work and ask my boss if there is anything else I can help with. I usually end up catching up with some people on my team that have been busy working all day.

4:30 pm I go to Cisco’s gym which is really nice and cheap for employees. There are a lot of work out classes that I enjoy going to like Tabata, Cardio Kickboxing and Barre. It is a great way to end the work day and get moving after being stagnant most of the day.

6:00 pm Finally home for the day!

My intern project team after our training presentation