Harvard Business School student and eBay seller Mary Ma has a passion for fashion. She joined eBay earlier this summer as an MBA intern, hoping to get e-commerce experience that would help her in the future. But when she joined the consumer-to-consumer (C2C) selling team, she had no idea that it would lead her to work on strategic projects that directly affected the business and tied back to her passions. For the past three months, Mary has spent her summer working on eBay’s C2C fashion strategy and one of the most significant announcements that eBay has made this year, eBay Authenticate.
Mary wasn’t shy about sharing her interests with her team, which helped ensure that she did meaningful work that was relevant to her interests. “My manager really pinpointed my love for fashion and connected me with marketing, PR and vertical teams,” she said. This led Mary to work on the broader fashion strategy for the consumer selling team.
Perhaps the most high-profile project on Mary’s plate this summer is eBay Authenticate, a new upcoming service designed to ease buyer concerns about the authenticity of high-end products purchased on eBay. As part of her work on this project, she conducted competitive analysis “on everything from how products were photographed to authentication hotness signals,” to help her team develop best-in-class solutions. She also worked on a product listing guide to standardize handbag listings and drove a user experience research process to better understand competitors’ buying and selling experiences.
By working on such a significant launch, Mary was able to explore different facets of the business. “Seeing the operations on the ground and understanding what’s actually happening behind this huge idea of authentication was eye-opening,” she said.
Maximizing Your Opportunities at eBay
By working on the C2C team, Mary also had a mentor in Laura Chambers, Vice President of Consumer Selling. As part of their recruitment efforts for a summer intern, Laura and her team searched for a candidate with the right combination of experience and passion. “Mary is naturally a customer with the type of experiences we want, and that natural point of view has added tremendous value for us,” she said.
Having led eBay’s University Recruitment program in a previous role, Laura can attest to the talent of the interns who spend their summers at eBay – often returning for permanent roles and growing their careers with the company. “To see them do well and contribute across the company is really inspiring, and it’s been lovely to see their talent develop over time,” she said. “I consistently see that our interns blow their teams and managers away with their insights, talent and creativity – and that’s certainly been the case with Mary.”
Aside from working with and learning from senior leaders, eBay interns also learn from each other’s diverse backgrounds and areas of focus. For instance, Mary shared her experience at a recent Hackathon event, where interns working in business, programming, HR, marketing and other functions teamed up to solve real challenges faced by the company. “Managing cross-functional teams is a concept that we discuss often in school, but it’s impossible to fully grasp the complexities until you’re exposed to it,” she said. “It’s challenged me to become a more creative problem solver.”
For Mary, the highlight of interning at eBay has been the workplace culture, which she describes as nurturing. “People here give you the resources you need to do well and do better. At the end of the day, the people with whom you work help drive your enjoyment of your work.” When searching for the perfect internship, she advises doing plenty of research on a company’s culture to make sure it’s the right fit.
As for landing the internship, Laura encourages candidates to start engaging with eBay to better understand the business. “It’s a big deal at eBay to be the customer and be the brand,” she said. “Hot tip – buy and sell! It will set you up for success in your interviews!”
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