Career Check-In: Michael Alvin

Michael Alvin | Product Management Intern

How did your journey at Expedia Group begin?

Hello there! My name is Michael and I’m a product management intern at Expedia Group. My journey at Expedia began in September 2020, when I spoke with Vrbo Product Manager Meredith Ragno during the university career fair. After a few more conversations with other PMs, I am fortunate enough to have started the Product Management Internship in June 2021.

What does your typical workday look like?

This summer I worked on three separate projects, but all three required lots of communication and research. One of the projects I worked on was how my team can leverage conversational technology for partners onboarding processes. My day-to-day included speaking to Expedia’s conversational experiences team, researching about how other companies are utilizing conversational technology, and experimenting with Expedia’s conversational technology framework. After a few weeks, I put together a simple Figma prototype showing my recommendation for my team.

What have you enjoyed most about working at Expedia Group?

The work that I have done and the people that I have worked with are the best part of working at Expedia Group. This summer, I was able to work on Unified Onboarding, which is a user interface platform for partners to onboard their supplies. I performed research and made recommendations that can potentially improve the platform, and I enjoyed the whole process. This was my first Product Internship and it’s been a lot of fun! Furthermore, everyone that I spoke with at Expedia are friendly and helpful, and that made the experience even better.

What makes your team unique?

What makes my team unique is how welcoming and supportive they are. This is my first virtual-only internship, but they made the experience a great one. My manager, Chris Walk, has recently implemented sharing activities for team meetings that stimulate conversations and I appreciate that. Because of that, I feel like I can get to know the people on my team more.

What accomplishment are you most proud of?

Steve Jobs once said, “the journey is the reward.” For me, I am most proud of my journey than any accomplishments. My journey started in 2006 when I first came to the United States. My parents and I did not have much, and we did not speak much English. However, after years of hard work and determination, taking laborious jobs and sometimes multiple jobs, we have found some comfort in this country. This summer I have been lucky enough to work with Expedia Group and by end of the year I will be graduating with a Master’s in Computer Science from the University of Michigan.

How and where do you find inspiration?

One of my favorite articles is Plato’s Body, and Mine from The New York Times. In the article, the author notes Plato’s dedication to physical training: “We like our minds to be knowledgeable, well-stocked with information; we should also want our bodies to be similarly endowed.” Every day, I aspire to become a better version of myself, both in mind and body. Each day, I attempt to learn a new skill and I take some time to exercise. That helps me balance my mind and body, but that could be different for others. Everyone should aim to become a better version of their selves. With the presence of social media, it’s important to remember that the only comparison you should make is how you are today versus how you are yesterday.

How did you learn to embrace failure?

I’m not sure I am the best at embracing failure, but I can tell you something that helps me become better at that. When learning a new skill, many people quit because they don’t like not being good at something. In a sense, not being an expert is kind of a failure. Therefore, recently, I have taken a personal initiative to always be learning. This have taught me that it’s ok to fail because that’s a part of life.

Tell us about your favorite vacation?

My favorite vacation so far is my trip to Chicago. My partner and I decided to take the Amtrak to Chicago after our school year ended, to celebrate and to eat well. We walked around the city, through the downtown and river north area. However, we are both foodies and the food was the highlight of our trip. We visited Sawada Coffee, Little Goat Diner, and Ramen San. Some of the winners from the trip: Military Latte (best drink), Tonkotsu Ramen (best food), and Matcha Oreo Ice Cream (best dessert). Chicago is a great city with amazing food, and I will be there again soon to try the other restaurants that I haven’t visited.

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