St. Lawrence Students Spend Summer Interning with eBay
Every summer, eBay takes in more than one hundred interns from across the country. This was the first year the company offered its new Finance & Analytics internship program, and four of the positions went to St. Lawrence University students.
The four Laurentians first learned about this unique internship opportunity individually through the Career Services’ Handshake internship placement tool. After applying and being selected, they were personally interviewed by eBay Vice President for Global Financial Planning and Analysis Andy Cring, a member of St. Lawrence University's Class of 1992.
“When we started to define the type of students we wanted for these roles, I knew we had to include St. Lawrence in our list of campus visits,” Cring said. “We wanted well-rounded students with a strong background in finance and analytics, coupled with great communication skills and a strong desire to succeed. The students from St. Lawrence showed up well in the interview process, and have been doing an outstanding job for us. We are trying to build a pipeline of finance leaders for the company and these students demonstrated that they are well prepared to compete, on a global level, for a spot on the team.”
Paul Nakamura ’18 of Fairport, New York, ended his semester-long study abroad in Shanghai on a Friday and began working at eBay's San Jose, California, offices the following Monday. This summer, he conducted accounting for global revenue streams and focused on legacy pricing.
“I had always dreamed of working in Silicon Valley,” said Paul, an economics and business in the liberal arts double major who also works as an accounting teaching assistant at St. Lawrence and is a member of the Investment Club. “So, being at a tech company versus a traditional bank is quite a bit different. The things you learn here are often hard to learn in the classroom."
Ben “Webb” Campbell ’18 had applied to several internships at banks and financial services firms. However, it was the opportunity at eBay that he found most intriguing.
“I thought it would be good to work in a different sector,” said the senior from Wellesley Hills, Massachusetts, “and try something a little different and to branch out.”
For Jennifer Scudder ’18 also of Fairport, New York, working in eBay’s finance division meant more than simply sifting through paperwork. “The projects we’re working on this summer could actually affect business and help save the company millions of dollars in the long run,” said Jenny, who worked on special pricing.
As a member of the women’s basketball team, which competes in both the fall and spring semesters, Jenny would find it difficult to spend a full semester abroad. So, through St. Lawrence’s Career Connections, she was able to take a quarter-credit summer internship, which included writing evaluations with her manager and keeping a log of her work. “Being in California,” said the mathematics and business in the liberal arts double major, “it’s like spending a semester abroad.”
Aleksandrs Ablazevics ’19, originally from Latvia, is majoring in statistics and is enrolled in the 3+2 engineering combined program with Columbia University, though he quipped, “I’ll probably stay in finance, as my counterparts tell me.” Last summer, Alex had taken part in the Internship Fellowship program at the United Nations. This summer, he was tasked with working on eBay’s branded shipping supplies.
“My manager tells me I’ve basically taken over that branch,” he said. “I do cost analysis and advise the business unit on which products should be discontinued because they’re not selling or it’s too costly to store them.”
One thing all of the interns agreed upon is that their liberal arts education and the location and culture of St. Lawrence significantly prepared them for their contributions and experiences at eBay.
“The rural location and resulting intimacy of SLU foster a unique social skill development that has worked wonders for us,” Paul said. “It allows SLU to feed well-rounded students with strong communication skills to programs like this one.”
As a performance and communications arts and business in the liberal arts double major, Webb said he didn’t feel he had much of a technical background, especially compared to some interns that come from large business schools. Yet, any concerns he had quickly vanished.
“I was surprised – and I think this speaks to the well-rounded St. Lawrence education,” he explained, “that it didn’t take me long before I was able to catch up to those from business schools and felt right on par and able to engage in in-depth conversations about these finance topics.”
Jenny pursued the eBay internship also because of its University Program, which includes panel discussions, workshops and luncheons for the San Jose interns. In addition, eBay sponsors activities such as “Hack Week,” where interns take time off to create new ideas, and an internship conference, flying in interns working in regional offices across North America. “Most companies don’t do anything like that,” she said.
Jenny said she could see her liberal arts education at work this summer and how it gave them all a distinct advantage. She, along with Paul and Webb, are already planning to take part in the U.S. Federal Reserves’s Fed Challenge this fall, a competition designed to give students real-world experience in analysis and policy.
“I’m finding it very helpful to have the people skills I’ve learned by being at a liberal arts institution and to be able to say ‘this is what St. Lawrence has taught me’ and to be able to relay that message to someone else,” she said.
For more information on internship opportunities at St. Lawrence, visit Career Services.