What did you do this past summer? We asked rising second-year MBA students to check in from their summer internships, where they applied the lessons of their first year at Yale SOM.
Jordan Woll ’20
Internship: Wayfair, Boston, Massachusetts
Hometown: Elmhurst, Illinois
Favorite Yale SOM class: Global Social Enterprise - Brazil and India
Clubs and affiliations: Social Impact Club, Technology Club, Career Advisor, Center for Business & the Environment
Favorite Yale SOM community event: April Foolery, a month-long series of fun and goofy events like a superlatives awards ceremony and hot wings eating contest.
This summer I interned on the merchandising team at Wayfair, a large home goods e-commerce company. During the recruitment process I was interested in companies focused on technology, e-commerce, or consumer goods, and I was looking for a role in marketing, project management, or product management. Despite having broad search criteria, Wayfair met a lot of those different goals. Merchandising works to create the best customer experience to help shoppers find the product they want and feel confident about their purchase. The team works with product management and software engineers to bring UX changes to life and with category management, who owns the relationship with the suppliers. Therefore, the summer has been a mix of marketing and technology for a fast-moving e-commerce company.
Over the summer I balanced two projects. First, I looked at how Wayfair should approach selling a specific highly customizable product. This included the upfront work of analyzing the competitive landscape, figuring out the customer journey and needs, and understanding the overall industry and potential total addressable market. Then I dug into all the data that Wayfair has to understand their current sales for that class of products. I closed out the summer by creating a recommendation for the customer experience/UX design and an implementation roadmap. For my second project I looked into whether customers are more likely to buy exclusive products. This included running custom user tests to understand if customers care about exclusive products. Why? What types of products? Then I created a recommendation for why Wayfair should/should not move forward with exclusive branding/badging.
Although I spent my day to day with the merchandising team, there were about 20 MBA interns at Wayfair from other top business schools, which was one reason I chose this internship. It was great to have a cohort, and we did a lot of events together, both organized by Wayfair and by ourselves. My favorite was that five of us signed up to take sailing lessons at the nearby Community Boating House on the Charles River. There were also professional events to hear from the senior vice presidents and to network with business school alumni. Then I also attended many merchandising-specific trainings throughout the summer to better understand the function and the available tools.
Before Yale SOM, I was in the human capital practice at Deloitte Consulting, focused on improving employee experience through processes and technology. I was thrilled to pivot this summer to customer experience and have learned a ton through my two projects and the various networking events and trainings. I had heard that Wayfair has a good work-life balance, is full of smart people, and uses data to make decisions fast, and all of that has proven to be true.