What did you do this past summer? We asked second-year MBA students to check in from their summer internships, where they applied the lessons of their first year at Yale SOM.
Sravani Potturi ’22
Hometown: Vijayawada, India
Preferred Gender Pronouns: she/her/hers
Clubs and Affiliations: Yale Office of Cooperative Research (Y-AID Fellow), Tsai CITY (portfolio manager), Technology and Startup & Entrepreneurship clubs member
Favorite SOM Class: Competitor and Customer
Favorite SOM Professors: Joyee Deb, Deputy Dean Anjani Jain, and Lesley Meng
Favorite New Haven eatery: September in Bangkok
This summer, I worked at Sam’s Club, a subsidiary of Walmart, as a product management intern. I worked on two projects during my internship. My primary project was to develop a new, end-to-end purchase order tracking platform to improve the operational efficiency of various supply chain processes. My secondary project, which I worked on with another intern on my team, was to develop a framework and a reusable template to aid product managers in the build-versus-buy decision making process.
I spent the initial few days of my internship asking questions, learning, and gaining an understanding of the supply chain network at Sam’s Club and Walmart. I am very grateful that my team generously gave me their time by answering my questions and helped me clarify my understanding of the domain.
Once I gained an understanding of the problem space I was dealing with, I had conversations with target users to validate the problem and ensure I was addressing their current and real needs. Post-problem validation, I took a step back to develop the product vision and roadmap to achieve the product goals in an iterative fashion. Using the feedback I gathered during my user interviews, I came up with product features and scoped the MVP (minimum viable product) by prioritizing the various use cases. Next, I worked with the design team on the user experience (UX/UI) design. During the entire process, I collaborated closely with the key stakeholders, ensuring I obtained and incorporated their feedback. My learnings from SOM’s Innovator class around new product development principles were extremely valuable throughout the project.
The internship was an incredible learning experience for me, as I got the opportunity to work on a new product and learn the best practices as I progressed through the various stages of the product development process. Another key learning for me was to embrace the ambiguity inherent in the early phases of product development for a new product and to make progress by gradually reducing the uncertainty through conversations with stakeholders/users and experimentation. My engagement with startups as a portfolio manager at Yale’s Tsai CITY has prepared me for this as I helped startups navigate similar kinds of uncertainty in the ideation phase. Overall, my internship was a meaningful learning experience that helped me gain valuable product skills.