They Literally Have Everything from A to Z

By Team 2018 Member

The company visit with Amazon was a professional growth experience unlike any company visit I’ve participated in before. First off, the campus is gorgeous. It extends wide and vastly over basically the entire diameter of downtown Seattle. “It reminds me of a college campus” said Stacey Burrell, the current Finance Manager for Amazon, and former Western Michigan University undergraduate. Amazon’s campus was like something out of a science fiction movie. The Spheres stand strong and tall, side by side, as if relying on the balance of each other’s weight as its only means of support. The Sphere’s aren’t open to the public, and the waitlist for special inside tours extends months prior to visitation. I am so grateful for the generosity of time and energy by Amazon’s WMU alumni to make the effort to allow us the inside consider one of the world’s most dominating corporations.

Stepping into The Sphere was like hiking through the Amazon jungle… literally. The air was thick and heavy with rainforest-like steam, heating and hydrating the wildlife and plants that comprises The Spheres. The smell of the greenery relaxes your mind, body, and soul instantly. “I could definitely do work here” I thought walking and observing. The inside of The Sphere is a warm hub of innovation and collaboration between Amazonians (that’s what they call their employees). The energy of ideas flowing among colleagues was inspirational. It made me want to be a part of the journey to creation and social improvement.

The Amazon Go store was basically one of the most amazing shopping experiences any American that participates in the free purchasing market could imagine being a part of. You download an app, which automatically syncs to your debit/credit card information that is already uploaded to your Amazon cart. When you arrive at the store, you scan a barcode that is linked with the app…. And that’s it. You walk in and shop in the small grocery store, specializing in on-the-go, health centered snacks, lunches, and dinners. It was amazing. I walked around several times, looking at everything they have in stock before even beginning to consider making a choice. I grabbed a bag of dried apple slices and a mineral water, placed it in my special complementary orange, recyclable Amazon Go shopping bag and walked out of the store… About an hour later, $4.68 was deducted from my bank account. This is the future of consumer retail.

Stefan Haney, the Director of Worldwide Buying Experience, Jake Bellenbaum, Senior Financial Analyst, and Stacey Burrell are the three Western Michigan University alumni that generously hosted the E-Team’s Amazon visit. The advice and mentorship experience was beyond insightful. “Learn from everyone, there are experts all around you,” Stefan Haney advised during his presentation. “It’s beneficial for a company to encourage competition of ideas to solve problems.” The culture and values of the teachings from Amazon I have found to align with those of Da Vinci, connecting creativity and analytics, math and fashion, Fuzzies and Techies. Meaningful advice about how to cultivate healthy work-life harmony was conversed, explaining the vitality of creating a holistic approach to forming a schedule that compliments work and life in a harmonious pattern. I found this to be of extreme help and is resonating advice that I plan to immediately implement in my own life.

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