Lauren Campbell, Amazon Senior Product Manager Intern: “The Joint degree is a perfect way to grow in my career.”

The University of Chicago Masters Program in Computer Science students push boundaries and innovate across many facets of industry. Whether it’s developing seamless UX interfaces, engineering software at fortune 500 companies, working in big data or keeping networks secure; our students use their applied skills education from MPCS to problem-solve, create, and elevate the computer science field. Learn from their stories and discover how a CS background can prepare you for cutting edge internships.

Lauren Campbell University of Chicago MPCS

Lauren Campbell is a current student who will be graduating from the Joint MBA/MPCS Program with an MBA from the Booth School of Business and an MS in Computer Science from the MPCS in 2020. She gives us an inside look at interning for Amazon. 

Can you tell us a bit about the internship process?

I applied for my internship on Amazon.com. In the fall, they sent out an assessment to make sure applicants fit well with the Amazon culture and leadership principles. Then in the winter, they invited me to interview. I had a video interview in January with four different Amazon employees all within one sitting. Then about a week later, they emailed me with an internship offer, which I accepted.

What does a great day at your internship look like for you?

For me, a great day is when I get to work with engineers and UX designers from my team and other teams to build new features and products. It’s nice to learn from everyone and their different backgrounds and to get to understand different technologies. 

Which programming languages and other technologies do you find yourself using regularly? Were these skills you learned in the MPCS?

My internship role is a product manager, so I don’t have to directly write code, but the MPCS classes have been helpful when working with engineers. Classes such as programming and algorithms help me to work through technical problems when they arise. 

What was your reason for applying to the Joint program?

I was a product manager for several years and wanted to move to the next level. I saw on many job descriptions that they were looking for people with computer science degrees. This was something that was missing from my background. When I found out Booth had a joint degree with computer science, I thought that it would be the perfect way to grow in my career as a product manager.

Did you come to the MPCS with a computer science background? 

No, my degree is in Management Information Systems.

Would you recommend the MPCS to others? If so, why?

Yes, I would recommend the MPCS program to other people looking to go into the tech industry. Even if you are not going to be an engineer, it is helpful to have a technical background to be able to work with engineers and other technical people.

How has your MPCS education helped you achieve your professional goals?

The joint degree program helped me to get my internship at Amazon over the summer. In addition, I was selected to attend the Grace Hopper Celebration in October 2019 by the MPCS department, which will help me to get to know other women in computing as well as learn about job opportunities for after graduation.

What is a piece of advice you’d give someone considering applying to the Joint program?

I would advise the person to think about their professional goals and see whether a degree in Computer Science will help them to get there. The Joint degree program is not easy, but it is very rewarding and will help to set you apart from other people going into the tech industry without a tech background.

Do you have any internship advice for someone who may be starting to apply?

I would advise someone who is starting to apply to take a Python course online before classes start. I did this and it gave me a good foundation for my programming courses.