Internship Spotlight: Jill Ni ’18

What are you doing this summer? We asked rising second-year MBA students to check in from their summer internships, where they are applying the lessons of their first year at Yale SOM.

By: Jill Ni
September 29, 2017

Jill Ni ’18

Internship: Strategy and investment, JD Finance, Beijing, China
Hometown/Country: Shanghai, China
Favorite Yale SOM classes: Operations, Executive, and Sourcing and Managing Funds

I joined JD Run summer internship program of JD.com and worked on the strategy and investment team of JD Finance, a fintech business just spun out of JD group. The program recruits undergrads, master’s, PhD, and MBA students from top universities around the world. All the interns worked in different teams under various departments based on their interests, and HR arranged group events to keep everyone together.

My work on the strategy and investment team involved market research, investment analysis of a potential target and its competitors, preparation of investment memos, etc. The team works like a VC firm but focuses more on creating synergies for its existing business through investment rather than through pure financial returns. I also helped to analyze several overseas markets and assessed the feasibility of entrance, as JD.com is on the way to expanding both its e-commerce and its fintech business overseas.

We always worked until midnight because apart from the routine job, all of the interns were assigned to teams of eight to work on a side project. All of the projects were for real business needs with full-time staff working with us throughout the summer. My team’s project was to cut the cost of logistics for heavy or large-package consumer goods. The existing project team hoped to change the current logistics practice and expected us to come up with some innovative ideas. I was the only MBA on the team with no former experience in logistics or supply chains, but I found that what I’ve learned in the Operations class helped me to communicate seamlessly with the logistics majors. We built a logistics model that takes advantage of the storage space of millions of convenient stores close to our customers. We also analyzed the orders, designed the process, and suggested a management system. I really learned a lot from my smart and energetic teammates.

JD.com is an excellent representative of growing enterprises in China. It is very much like Amazon is in the U.S.: it’s a young but fast-growing company. It is strong in e-commerce but is investing a lot in the latest technologies and wants to be more than e-commerce. Big data, AI, drone, and autonomous cars are hot topics that are frequently mentioned. You won’t be surprised to see scholars and practitioners around the world come to share their studies or experience on the JD campus. There are many resources, including lectures, internal sharing, and online or in-person training, which are available to all employees, from staff at headquarter to agents in rural areas. People grow fast within the company. Many of JD’s employees are in their 20s, only a couple of years out of college but already leading a small team. The company allows people to try out new ideas and to apply their industry insights to innovation. People work really hard at JD.com and they all seem to enjoy what they are doing.

This summer internship gave the opportunity to learn different aspects of JD.com’s business. I was exposed to its investment in microfinance, the agri-finance business, JD crowdfunding, and the philanthorophy that defines the social impact of the JD Finance business. Coming from the traditional commercial banking system, it was especially exciting for me to see how these fintech innovations can serve those unbanked population.

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Jill Ni