Alicia Clara Rojas is heading into her final year of the Bachelor in Politics, Law, and Economics at IE University. Although her degree does not revolve around technology, Alicia is currently interning at Amazon Web Services (AWS) as she knows the importance of technological knowledge in today’s world.

Alicia shares her experience as an intern at AWS and its takeaways. She is carrying out her internship online due to the pandemic.

Apart from her internship, Alicia has participated in various other academic events including: the Keep Insurance Simple and Smart (KISS) bootcamp, hosted by the insurance company AXA; and the Project Lab Youth4Good, launched by Vodafone, in which students address sustainability challenges. Actively seeking to learn new skills, languages, and improve her academic and personal growth, Alicia uses “never surrender” as her life motto.

How did you hear about this internship? Why were you interested in it?

I saw this internship in one of the weekly emails sent by IE Talent and Careers, and my careers advisor, Victoria Tornos, encouraged me to apply. I have never worked or interned in a technology company, but AWS—and many other businesses and companies—are growing exponentially and shifting to the “cloud.” AWS is a world leader in data management and web services, and this internship is a unique and enriching opportunity for both my personal and professional life.

What are your responsibilities as an intern? What would you highlight about the experience so far?

The first two weeks were very introductory, I learned the basic concepts of the company and the specific department I would be joining. During my third week, I was given a project—these vary depending on the department and current situation. In addition to the project, I had the opportunity to see the AWS Cloud Practitioner Exam, which encompasses AWS’ technology and business concepts.

My project consists of defining a framework to standardize and automate the narratives of my department, Enterprise. It is an extensive project as it deals with key performance indicators (KPIs), 1:1 with managers of each team, and the creation of collaborative mechanisms. Through all of this, I am receiving a 360-degree view of the department and am able to delve into very technical, yet interesting concepts.

I have met very inspiring people. The atmosphere is fantastic and the onboarding process is thorough, with varied resources and activities. The great working environment at AWS helps you work hard and overcome any challenge with more enthusiasm than ever. From my first moment as an intern, I felt that the staff wanted to help me, share their knowledge, and try to get the best out of each other.

What are your thoughts on completing this internship online instead of face to face?

I think this has been the biggest challenge because although this internship is technology-focused, there is a large human component. The inability to meet with people or go to the office on a regular basis slows down the processes a lot. However, I was surprised at how well AWS has managed this situation. They sent all the equipment to me (laptop, screen, and keyboard) before I even started the internship and I am constantly connected to my team.

Before starting, it seemed to me that it was going to be much more complicated, but I went into the situation thinking that it was another opportunity to overcome a challenge.

Do you feel your IE University experience and the support of the Talent & Careers team helped you secure this opportunity?

The support of the Talent & Careers team helped me a lot. They shared tips for the interviews, as well as videos and mock exams to prepare for the different steps of the selection process. Before applying, the Talent & Careers team reviewed my CV to make sure the structure was perfect and that it pointed out my valuable experiences.

What was the recruitment process like?

The selection process was divided into three parts. First, I had an interview where I had to talk about my academic path and explain how I would handle a series of situations at work or at university. The information provided by the Talent and Careers team helped me a lot in the first stage. Next, I had a psychometric exam and finally, an interview with three staff members from AWS. This last interview was the most important and most difficult to prepare since there were quite a few candidates and the questions were specific.

Without a doubt, the key to facing this process is knowing how to explain your academic path to another person—telling them about the internships or projects in which you have been involved. Any project or job, no matter how small, shows your resilience and the desire you have to learn and face new challenges. Furthermore, it is essential to link your academic experience and background to the Amazon Leadership Principles. Both during the selection process, and on a day-to-day basis within AWS, the Leadership Principles are the basis of any decision or project. I also suggest that you have an understanding of the job and of Amazon in general so that you are ready to interact with the interviewer(s).

Any tips for other students interested in interning at Amazon in the future?

I think it is very important to be yourself during the interviews. Also, do your research beforehand. You should know the Leadership Principles well, and mention them often. When interviewers ask specific questions, it is very important to answer them based on the STAR method and, if possible, give concrete data on the impact that your action or your work had.