Hi, I’m Francesca, an Economics student here at York. I’m currently doing a Placement Year working as a Finance Intern at Amazon.
What is your role?
I work in the Finance organisation within a team called B2B (Business to Business) Finance Operations, supporting the Advertising channel. At a very high level, my role involves ensuring we get paid as smoothly and efficiently as possible for the Advertising channel within Amazon. This is for advertisements we run on our website or third party websites for our types of customers, Direct Advertisers and Agencies. I work with multiple internal business stakeholders on identifying defects in our internal processes that cause delays in us getting paid and try and fix these with systematic solutions that are scalable globally. The role is more project focused than regular routine tasks like many Finance roles.
What are your placement highlights?
One of the great things about my role is that I have been able to make a real impact to Amazon’s big customers. My role allows me to change processes that transform the customer experience for the better; for example, making incremental changes to improve the Advertising booking system so that, in turn, our invoices that we send to our customers are more accurate and they can consequently pay in a more efficient manner. On four occasions I have had the opportunity to go and visit two of the top five global advertisers and speak to them about their AP (Accounts Payable) process. This has been great to hear first-hand from the customer and is definitely a rare opportunity for someone of my level to experience.
What skills have you gained?
I have gained a vast range of skills and experience in just four months of my placement! I have learnt how to communicate effectively through email and over the phone, gained confidence in speaking to employees of all levels and experience and improved my proof-reading skills. All these skills are transferable and will be useful in any career that I pursue – they’ll be especially important in my final year of university too!
Also, I have learnt a lot of skills specific to my role/department. I have learnt data analysis proficiencies such as complex Excel and Sequel writing skills (a type of code writing to extract data). Another skill I have learnt which I believe is fairly unique to Amazon is ‘White Paper’ writing. “We don’t do PowerPoint presentations at Amazon. Instead, we write narratively structured six-page memos”. This has been a great skill for me to improve upon as one of my weaknesses before joining Amazon was my ability to write coherently and this has really helped me to improve my confidence in this area.
How has it influenced your future career options?
My placement year to date has confirmed in my mind that I would love to work in a fast-paced office environment. I know I also want to be involved in a company or role that is data driven as this is where I believe my strongest skills lie. However, due to the scale of Amazon (Amazon is far from just an online retailer!), I have realised how many different paths there are to choose from both inside and outside of Finance – it is very overwhelming at times! Nonetheless, my placement year has been a fantastic way to kickstart my career and has been my best decision to date!