Diversity Equity & Inclusion

Open to New Possibilities, an eBay Intern Finds Growth Beyond His Comfort Zone

Rachel Chen, eBay News Team

Omotayo Akingba discusses the valuable life lessons he learned during his internship with the Indirect Tax team.

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 our latest class of eBay interns as they explore their future career paths.

Intern Omotayo Akingba is spending his summer analyzing eBay’s taxes. But the greatest takeaways of his internship have been the invaluable lessons he is learning about life — including how to be flexible in a new situation and accept ambiguity as an opportunity for growth and exploration.

“The biggest insight I learned was that it’s okay to ask questions or admit that I don’t know the answer,” he said. “In fact, doing so eliminates the pressure of being perfect and encourages me to try things out.”

We recently chatted with Omotayo, who is studying business and political economy at the College of Idaho, about his internship experience and why it’s okay to say, “I don't know.”

What drew you to eBay’s summer internship program?
My sister works as a financial analyst at eBay and was actually one of the inaugural members of the Finance Futures Program, a full-time rotational program that exposes recent college graduates to different finance functions within eBay. She had told me all about the people that she works with and the different opportunities she’s experienced, so I thought it would be worth a shot to help figure out the next step of my career.

I stumbled into my role with the Indirect Tax team, mainly because I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. But I’ve come to understand that my internship is more about what I learn than what I do. My team has been so supportive in exposing me to new learning opportunities and projects. For example, they have been helping me get certified in Alteryx for data analytics, which has opened the door for more exploration in analytics work.

What part of your internship has been especially meaningful for you?
I meet with my manager Vanessa twice a week, sometimes more, and most of the time, it’s beyond just my projects. She wants to know how I am, what my plans are, how I’m moving forward, what I have learned. She has connected me with a diverse group of people at eBay so I can learn what others are doing at the company and hear their career advice.

My team also holds biweekly meetings that we call “Breakfast and Learns.” These are team-building opportunities to come together and pitch new projects — participating has been integral to my learning. Presenting my own ideas to the team has shown me how to critically analyze and propose my recommendations in a digestible way.

What has been your greatest challenge at eBay, and how have you learned from it?
The biggest challenge for me was letting go of the need to get things done perfectly the first time around. In college, there is a competitive mindset where uncertainty about anything means you get left behind. The real world is not like that, especially when it comes to a changing marketplace that is always evolving. So my philosophy right now is, “Do the best you can,” which is so freeing.

How have you contributed a fresh perspective to your team?
Members of my team are constantly asking for my input as a Gen Z student and are eager to hear my opinions. Taxation is a hot-button topic for my generation, so these discussions aren’t just abstract, but an important issue to me personally. Because of this, it feels really rewarding to bring my perspective as a student to the Indirect Tax team and participate in the conversations about the work we do.

How have you seen inclusion at work at eBay?
The fact that leaders at eBay know my name speaks volumes about the company’s commitment to inclusion and empowerment. For example, the University Recruiting and Programming team recently organized a Q&A event with one of our executive leaders, and when he answered my question, he addressed me by my name — Omotayo, which surprised me because Zoom displays my middle name on screen.  We had only spoken briefly one other time, but he remembered me. From that interaction alone, I could tell that eBay is serious about being a community for everyone, from the newest interns to the most senior executives.