Chandler Beyer | Product Management Intern
Travel restrictions, border closures, and flight cancelations are a world traveler’s biggest nightmare. While I can no longer be planning my next travel adventure, I am grateful to be back interning at the world’s largest travel company, while reminiscing with my fellow interns and colleagues about my favorite beach getaways and mountain hikes.
My name is Chandler and I am a rising senior at Yale-NUS College in Singapore. I will be completing my degree in Mathematical, Computational, and Statistical Sciences next Spring. I have had the immense privilege of interning at Expedia Group for the past two summers as a Product Management Intern.
Work from HQ – Vrbo, Summer 2019:
1 minute and 57 seconds — that was my commute last summer from my apartment door to the chair at my desk in the office. I truly never thought I would ever, for the rest of my career, have a shorter commute than I did last summer while interning for Vrbo in Austin, Texas.
In June 2019, I had the opportunity to join Vrbo as a Product Management Intern where I worked on the Search and Ranking Team as well as the Filters, Amenities, and Badges team.
I was told during recruiting that “at Expedia Group, you aren’t a typical intern”, and they definitely kept their word on that.
Like a real Product Manager, I was given more than one product to balance. I worked on developing the strategic vision of Discovery Carousels and also worked on the Last Minute Deal badge, from ideation to implementation. Each week, I participated in Product Training Sessions, Leadership Series with Vrbo and EG Executives, and, shamelessly, free Friday Breakfast!
I also had the opportunity to present my work to the entire company twice: the first time was during the Monthly Product Review where I discussed the prospective launch of the Last Minute Deal Badge and again during the Pitch Fair where I pitched a new product idea. The highlights of my internship include getting to participate in a Call Center job shadowing session, learning in UX research studies, and attending National Intern Day where Vrbo rented a boat for all the interns.
Work from Home – Expedia Group, Summer 2020:
Well, this summer set the new record for my fastest commute. 5 seconds — that was my commute this summer from my bed to the chair at my desk at home.
This summer I worked on the Loyalty Platform team. I worked on creating a standard loyalty offering for our Partners leveraging our white-label sites, as well as developing the strategic vision of an internal tool that manually awards Expedia Loyalty reward points to users. This summer my highlights include joining the Intern Social Council, meeting with my assigned Expedia Group mentor “Buddy”, and engaging in the weekly Leader Series and personal development training sessions. This summer was incredibly fruitful, with two projects that focused on two completely different sides of the loyalty platform. My mentor gave me a lot of room to explore and dive deep into understanding all of the different use cases and stakeholders that relied on my products.
Same company, same role, different year, definitely different experiences:
With COVID-19 shutting offices down around the world, Expedia Group decided to shift their internships into a virtual format in order to ensure the safety of all of their employees. In the weeks before the internship was to begin, I bought a desk and tried to get used to working in the same room for the entire day.
Once the internship began, to mimic the office environment, I sometimes would call other interns during the day while we both worked independently on our projects, with occasional conversations and coffee breaks. I placed an empty plastic box up-side-down on my desk and propped my computer on top to create a standing desk. I also scheduled short breaks into my workday to encourage me to go on a short walk around my neighborhood, just to get some fresh air and a quick change of scenery.
While working remote is definitely not ideal, there were still some very large benefits to a virtual internship. First, there was no commute at all. I found myself having significantly more time in my days to focus on other things and to spend more time with loved ones. Second, there was no need to buy lunch – in fact, it was much easier to not buy lunch, but to make it at home instead (okay, so maybe this is just me being a student on a tight student budget). And finally, we had more direct access to the leadership team! Each week, the interns met with a different leader in the company, such as the CEO Peter Kern. I also personally had the opportunity to meet with John Kim, the President of Platform and Marketplaces at Expedia Group, for a coffee chat. John gave me incredible feedback and advice as I enter my final year of school before hopefully joining the work force as a Product Manager.
To me, it speaks measures of the type of company Expedia Group is, given that they actively chose to invest in their interns, even during a global pandemic that has severely disrupted the entire travel industry. The spirit of Expedia Employees is what makes the company so great. I felt connected, cared for, and respected during my two internships. I’m impressed with the focus of Expedia Group during the pandemic to become an even stronger company. Great companies are built upon people, teamwork, and leadership — three things that I experienced the past two summers at Expedia Group. Thank you for everything, Expedia Group!
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