The beginnings in a new job can be really tough, especially in such uncertain times as the pandemic. Remote onboarding, Zoom meetings, inability to talk face-to-face — it’s a big test, especially if you’re switching industries. My story is quite similar: in July 2020 I started a three-month internship at Allegro to train for product management. When the internship ended, I was offered to stay permanently as Junior Product Manager. I’d like to describe my beginnings at Allegro. But first — a few words about me.
A few words to begin with
I have never imagined that my career path would move towards product management. As far as I remember, I was interested in science, especially chemistry. When I was in high school, I imagined myself working in a lab. However, after a while I understood that my expectations didn’t harmonize with my idea of working in a lab. I needed more creativity, independent outlook and impact on projects I would be working on. Later I became interested in marketing and economy. I wondered how to combine all these scientific fields.
So, I decided to study Commodity Science. It is the interdisciplinary field of study that gives a broad perspective of product design, production, marketing, quality assurance and management. And that’s all to meet human needs. I decided to take up product management specialization — and I knew that this was the path that I would like to take. And before I graduated, I had the possibility to start working as a product manager in the publishing industry.
How it started
I came across an internship offer by accident. I was not looking for a new job. I had often used Allegro to do some shopping, I knew the website well. The internship offer was attractive, so I decided to send my application. I decided to take that step despite the fact that the offer indicated a three-month period and I already had a job! After some time I received my internship task. I focused on the biggest trends in the e-commerce industry and I created a project of a minimal viable product that could be implemented at Allegro using statistics and KPIs. I defined exact goals and real benefits from the buyers’, sellers’ and Allegro’s perspective. Next recruitment stage included two interviews — with my future superiors and an HR business partner. After a few days I got a phone call with the offer — I did it, I got the internship. I decided to accept the offer despite having a permanent job. I knew that the internship could give me a lot of experience in an industry that was unknown to me and which was growing so fast. Allegro is an e-commerce leader in Poland with high recognizability — and when you want to learn something new, do it with the best.
First steps into the unknown
In the beginning, I had two days of remote onboarding. Other interns and I got to know the company structure, we got lots of necessary information on how to move in the corporate world. I learned details of the work in other departments and where to look for the answers in specific situations. Even though the onboarding was not held on-premise at headquarters in Poznań as was usual before the pandemic, I had the opportunity to meet other interns and the atmosphere was friendly and supportive. And I felt that despite the fact that we were working in different departments, we were on the same team.
After onboarding, I started working with the team. I was introduced to the secrets of checkout and post-purchase. The biggest challenge to start with? Getting to know the team and tasks while sitting at the desk at home. But fortunately everyone was very supportive and they assisted with every issue that I struggled with. Especially my internship mentor — I owe her a lot — gave me tons of very valuable knowledge and I’m thankful that I was able to develop under her supervision. And it was obvious for everyone that I, as the intern, needed more time to recognize all the processes in checkout and post-purchase. These are the final steps of the purchasing process that combines a lot of Allegro’s parts and at first sight it may seem complicated. But despite being an intern, I got some independence, with support of my superior when I needed it. And after three months I was ready to become a full-time employee. Now I am involved in a big post-purchase project (I started working on this project at the beginning of the internship). I cooperate with the development team and the Team Leader, with a UX Designer, a UX Researcher and an Analyst. We constantly analyse users’ needs and we implement new functions so that the purchasing process is as easy, fast and smooth as possible and that the user can always find what they are looking for.
However, the internship period wasn’t completely hassle-free. Allegro is a very big company that is sometimes overwhelming. At the very beginning, especially when I had a lot of common tasks with different teams, I felt a little lost when I had to find the proper Product Manager or Team Leader to determine the details, schedule work and when my knowledge was incomplete. Moreover, the beginnings were a little stressful because my product decisions have a big impact on the shopping experience and our solutions are used by millions of users. I had a lot of stage fright before my first implementation but from month to month I think I became more confident. After a few months it wasn’t a problem to move around anymore, it just had to take some time. Since I became a full-time employee I still have the opportunity to receive support from a mentor. It’s a person who is always there to help, answer all questions about the product, process, planning etc. In my case it’s a person from another department so I can get a fresh perspective on my doubts.
We’re on the same team
As I mentioned, first days in a new job can be tough, but being at Allegro you don’t need to worry. Allegro is an employee-friendly zone and you can count on the support of more experienced people. Despite the fact that we are working from home, I met great people whom I get along with and I feel good in their company. Good working relationships and a friendly environment are essential for new employees. We are playing towards one goal — the best shopping experience.