Diversity Equity & Inclusion

How a ‘Transformative’ Internship Led To Unexpected Connections

Rachel Chen, eBay News Team

eBay intern Helen Kim discusses how her time with the Certified Refurbished team helped redefine her career path.

eBay’s robust, virtual internship program brings together students from 70 different universities and colleges this summer, fostering the future of ecommerce amongst our business, technology and marketing teams. Our Intern Spotlight Series features interviews with this latest class of eBay interns as they explore their future career paths. 

For Helen Kim, interning at eBay has been a unique opportunity to explore her twin passions: business and technology. 

This summer, the Cornell University student is working on the Certified Refurbished team, performing trend analyses based on buyer and seller feedback. 

“If I were to use one word to describe my internship thus far, I would say it has definitely been transformative,” said Helen. “My time at eBay has genuinely clarified my career goal to be a decision maker on a data-driven team.” 

Helen recently spoke with us about navigating her career path and how she is leveraging opportunities for professional development while at eBay. 

How have your mentors been supporting you throughout your internship experience? 

Mentorship has been an integral part of my intern experience. For example, my team gave me the lead on interpreting raw data for our seller health dashboards, which has taught me a lot about project management and data analysis. They are always eager to answer my questions or share their industry knowledge, such as teaching me best practices for communicating with sellers and how to use eBay-specific dashboards. 

They are also committed to furthering my professional development. Recently, I was on a call with my mentor Quy, and we ended up discussing my career goals. I asked about how I could promote my career growth, and he gave me advice about when and how to pursue opportunities to go to graduate and business school. This is just one of the many ways that my mentors regularly check in with me. It’s clear that they want me to learn as much as possible during this internship, building not only my technical skills but also my network of industry contacts. 

My manager Zainub and the University Recruiting and Programs team have been helpful resources as well, connecting me with people on different teams at eBay. I’ve gotten to network with other interns and employees and attend speaker series featuring members of our executive leadership team. Both have been invaluable in helping me expand my professional network and expose me to the cross-functional, highly cooperative nature of our company. 

What is one thing that you have found to be unique to your team? 

The pace and the nature of my work have been really unique because I am working in a really small team within eBay’s Certified Refurbished program. My team has the energy of a scrappy tech startup but the resources and responsibility of the larger eBay company — meaning I get to experience the best of both worlds. I am given incredible ownership over my projects, which I have found to be empowering, but there is also an immense level of support available when I need it. Although my position and projects are extremely niche, the payoff has been so rewarding because I can see the results directly in action on our global platform. 

How has working on a “scrappy” small team influenced your career plans for after college? 

I’ve learned that I really like working on a small team while having the resources of a larger entity like eBay at my disposal. The Certified Refurbished team has so many extra layers of insulation that support us, and it’s nice to have a smaller, nuclear team with whom I can reliably connect and build lasting bonds. 

This internship has also clarified my career goals by helping me realize how passionate I am about the business side of tech and the relationships that drive it. Business in tech is an expanding field, and there is always something to be done. I never want to stop learning or feel unfulfilled in my work, either personally or professionally. 

What do inclusivity and empowerment mean to you? 

These are truly words to live by. Being a part of a company that is motivated by doing good is extremely important to me. I feel that every project I've undertaken at eBay, from raw data analysis to creating new seller dashboards, has been in the best interest of improving our community of buyers, sellers and entrepreneurs fairly and equitably. 

My team members also empower me personally by sacrificing their own time to teach me new hard and soft skills one-on-one and in team meetings. Their selflessness and trust in me has shown how firmly they believe in investing in everyone, from sellers and buyers to employees and interns. Having this mindset to be for everyone strengthens my team’s ability to improve the seller experience by folding empathy and diversity into our strategic approach. 

What will you take away from your summer internship experience? 

The unexpected connections I have made this summer, especially with my fellow interns, are ones that I will be taking with me. The other Cornell interns and I regularly connect through a Cornell-specific Slack channel to chat about our projects and other life updates. Our micro-communities of interns, organized by the University Recruiting and Programs team, have also been an awesome way to connect with interns across a broad range of fields and learn about their areas of expertise. Building a network of outgoing and welcoming peers who share my interest for tech and corporate social responsibility makes me feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to grow my career at eBay.