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J.P. Polchinski ’19

Internship Spotlight: J. P. Polchinski ’19

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.

J. P. Polchinski ’19

Internship: Amazon Pathways Operations Intern at Fulfillment Center, Richmond, Virginia

Hometown:  Southington, Connecticut
Favorite Yale SOM class: Macroeconomics with Peter Schott 
Clubs and affiliations: Veteran’s Club, Ski Club, Real Estate Club
Favorite New Haven eatery: Mecha
Favorite professor: Gal Zauberman
Favorite Yale SOM community event: Coffee House

This summer I had the opportunity to work at Amazon as a Pathways operations intern. This was a unique role in which I worked on a strategic project and completed daily managerial tasks. I chose Amazon and the Pathways program because it was one of the only roles where I could interact with hourly associates, managers, and senior executives on a daily basis. This role allowed me to see the operations process up close and personal as a part of one of the fastest growing and most effective companies in the world. 

My summer project involved analyzing the inbound operations process to find the most efficient way to receive and store items. The lessons I learned in my first year at Yale SOM were invaluable to my effectiveness over this past summer. The core Operations class taught me hard skills such as how to calculate capacities to identify bottlenecks, while the Employee course offered soft skills that showed me how to motivate workers to improve morale. One of the most impressive aspects of this program was the level of autonomy I had to test out different ideas. I was surprised that even as an intern my senior managers trusted me to completely overhaul major aspects of the receiving process. The best part of working on site was that I could immediately see the impact of decisions that I made and adjust the plan accordingly to ensure it was sustainable and effective.

“The lessons I learned in my first year at Yale SOM were invaluable to my effectiveness over this past summer.” —J. P. Polchinski ’19

The Pathways summer program offered numerous chances to work alongside both junior and senior managers to solve complex problems. My mentor was a senior manager who had more than 10 years of supply chain and operations experience. We had weekly meetings in which I discussed my findings and received advice on the best way to proceed with certain aspects of the project.  I also spent one week in Seattle at the Amazon Pathways conference, where I met other MBA interns as well as full-time Amazonians. It was great to learn about alternative opportunities at Amazon and how I could work on different teams or programs in the future. 

The most unique part of this summer was the first week of the internship, known as Associate Experience Week. This was an immersive experience in which I worked in each department of the warehouse to better understand the process.  Although this was only a small taste of what Amazon associates go through, it was important to help me recognize that managers’ actions have an enormous impact on their employees.  This summer was extremely rewarding, and I look forward to sharing the lessons I’ve learned at Amazon with my contemporaries at SOM.