Oritseweyinmi Henry Ajagbawa poses in front of a wall in a suit jacket and a collared shirt, he is leaning on a shiny dark table
Oritseweyinmi Henry Ajagbawa is pursuing a master’s degree in business analytics at the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business.

Estimating causality from data: How one Amazon intern used data to make an impact

Oritseweyinmi Henry Ajagbawa utilized causal inference to help examine the interaction between changes in marketing content and Amazon customer behavior.

Many marketers insist their work is an art. But at Amazon, it’s art backed by science. And one group supporting that science is the Customer Behavior Analytics-Cross Channel Optimization (CBA-XO) team, which this summer leveraged veteran Amazon data scientists and interns from across the country.

One of those interns is Oritseweyinmi Henry Ajagbawa.

“Every day, I applied new skills to impactful projects at of one of the most influential companies in the world,” he says. “When I was accepted for an internship at Amazon, I had to take it.”

Ajagbawa was one of more than 10,000 interns Amazon hosted virtually this summer. More than 10 percent of those internships were for applied science and data science roles with teams across the company. The majority of science-related internships last between 12 and 16 weeks.

Discovering a new passion

Ajagbawa was born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria. As a teenager, he moved to the United Kingdom, where he completed his undergraduate degree in electrical and electronics engineering at Queen Mary University of London and his master’s degree in finance and accounting at the University of Sheffield.

Initially interested in financial engineering, Ajagbawa took a course in data science, which he loved. “I found data science to be interesting, fun, and easy to wrap my head around,” he says. “And I knew that I could apply these skills in many different industries, not just finance.” 

Using data science to fine-tune Amazon’s marketing

Once his family moved to the United States, Ajagbawa began his master’s degree in business analytics at the University of Southern California (USC). During Ajagbawa’s studies at USC, Amazon recruiters invited him to interview for an internship with the CBA-XO team.

It’s exciting to know that the deliverables are something that can actually impact how Amazon approaches marketing.
Henry Ajagbawa

The team examines the interaction between changes in marketing content and Amazon customer behavior — what they buy, how much they spend, and how they engage with Amazon’s offerings in the long term. The ultimate objective is to make sure customers are easily able to discover the products they’re looking to buy.

The team uses different data science processes to establish the connection between marketing efforts and how they’re helping customers. One of those processes is causal inference. At a high level, causal inference is a set of tools that researchers use to estimate causality from data.

The team presents its findings to senior leadership at Amazon, which uses these findings to help inform decision-making at a higher level. “It’s exciting to know that the deliverables are something that can actually impact how Amazon approaches marketing,” Ajagbawa says.   

United in diversity for data science

Ajagbawa wasn’t completely new to data science before interning at Amazon. Last year, he joined and took part in an extracurricular program called Data Science for All / Empowerment (DS4A/E) to accelerate his learning.

The program provides data analytics training to students and professionals from underrepresented communities. “You don’t see many people who look like us in the industry,” says Ajagbawa. “DS4A/E is a place for students, working professionals, and lecturers united by diversity to celebrate common curiosity, interests, and passion for data science.”

Amazon hosted more than 10,000 interns virtually this summer. If you’re a student with interest in an Amazon internship, you can learn more about internship opportunities at Amazon Student Programs.

Ajagbawa enrolled in the program and traded his Saturdays for lectures, homework, and group work. For his capstone project, Ajagbawa and other students teamed up to apply data-science skills to solve a real-world problem. 

Specifically, they set out to uncover a statistically discernible relationship between “redlining,” its impact of lowering tree canopy coverage in disadvantaged communities, and the adverse downstream effects of lower tree canopy coverage on community health. The team confirmed its hypothesis using a linear regression model. 

Dozens of teams entered a friendly competition for their capstone projects; Ajagbawa’s team came in second.

“Having your work recognized for its value at a higher level was an amazing feeling,” Ajagbawa says.

A world of possibilities

At Amazon, Ajagbawa made a lasting impression.

“He was able to ramp up very quickly in an ambiguous space, earn the trust of the team, and deliver critical milestones for the project he was working on,” says Lalita Reddi, Ajagbawa’s manager.

Ajagbawa would like to return to Amazon full time once he completes his last semester at USC. But he’s open to other opportunities: “My experiences at Amazon have made me a more well-rounded data scientist. As for the future, I plan to continue improving my skills, and we’ll see what happens next. Whatever happens I will cherish my time in Amazon and CBA-XO.”

A black and white profile shot of the Nobel Prize-winning biologist Peter Medawar
By Digitised for CODEBREAKERS, MAKERS OF MODERN GENETICS
The Nobel Prize-winning biologist Peter Medawar published "Advice to a Young Scientist" in 1979. Here are some of Medawar’s key insights from the book.

Research areas

Related content

US, CA, Palo Alto
The Amazon Search team creates powerful, customer-focused search and advertising solutions and technologies. Whenever a customer visits an Amazon site worldwide and types in a query or browses through product categories, the Amazon Search services go to work. We design, develop, and deploy high performance, fault-tolerant distributed search systems used by millions of Amazon customers every day. Our team works to maximize the quality and effectiveness of the search experience for visitors to Amazon websites worldwide.
JP, Tokyo
The Amazon Logistics (AMZL) Team is responsible for the acquisition, design, construction, and management of all facilities in the Amazon Delivery Station Network. AMZL is looking for a talented and passionate Data Scientist to help shape its Last Mile business with technical strategies and solutions, by processing, analyzing and interpreting huge data sets. You should be comfortable with ambiguity, problem solving and enjoy working in a fast-paced, diverse and dynamic environment. Using analytical rigor and statistical methods, you mine through data to identify opportunities for Amazon and our delivery channels. And you collaborate with other scientists, engineers, Product and Program Managers to deploy new products and solutions. [More Information] Last Mile Department Data Analyst/BI Engineer Tokyo Office *Amazon is committed to a diverse and inclusive workplace. Amazon is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, national origin, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, protected veteran status, disability, age, or other legally protected status. For individuals with disabilities who would like to request an accommodation, visit https://www.amazon.jobs/disability/jp Key job responsibilities Creating a roadmap of the most challenging business questions and use data to articulate possible root cause analysis and solutions Managing and executing entire projects or components of large projects from start to finish including project management, data gathering and manipulation, synthesis and modeling, problem solving, and communication of insights Partnering with Product, Program and Engineering teams to design and run models, research new algorithms, and prove incrementality and drive growth Understanding drivers, impacts, and key influences on seller growth dynamics Developing and scaling end-to-end ML Models and solutions Automating feedback loops for algorithms in production Utilizing Amazon systems and tools to effectively work with terabytes of data About the team Last Mile Execution Analytics (LMEA) team of JP works as an integral part of Amazon Logistics to ensure that its business intelligence, analytics, tools and planning needs are met. By providing information, insight, and decision support, we strive to enable success of all parts of AMZL. Our customer set includes senior management, station operations, external vendors, long-term planning, Ops technology (Voice of the Delivery Station, Voice of the Customer), network planning, and pretty much every BI and Ops teams. Voice of Employee [Work Life Harmony] We believe, it is important to spend private time such as spending time with your family or doing anything you like to spur innovation. Amazon promotes a fulfilling and flexible work style according to the work volume and lifestyle of each employee.
US, CA, San Francisco
About Twitch Launched in 2011, Twitch is a global community that comes together each day to create multiplayer entertainment: unique, live, unpredictable experiences created by the interactions of millions. We bring the joy of co-op to everything, from casual gaming to world-class esports to anime marathons, music, and art streams. Twitch also hosts TwitchCon, where we bring everyone together to celebrate, learn, and grow their personal interests and passions. We’re always live at Twitch. Stay up to date on all things Twitch on Linkedin, Twitter and on our Blog. About the role: Twitch builds data-driven machine learning solutions across several rich problem spaces: Natural Language Processing (NLP), Recommendations, Semantic Search, Classification/Categorization, Anomaly Detection, Forecasting, Safety, and HCI/Social Computing/Computational Social Science. As an Intern, you will work with a dedicated Mentor and Manager on a project in one of these problem areas. You will also be supported by an Advisor and participate in cohort activities such as research teach backs and leadership talks. This position can also be located in San Francisco, CA or virtual. You Will: Solve large-scale data problems. Design solutions for Twitch's problem spaces Explore ML and data research
US, CA, San Francisco
About Twitch Launched in 2011, Twitch is a global community that comes together each day to create multiplayer entertainment: unique, live, unpredictable experiences created by the interactions of millions. We bring the joy of co-op to everything, from casual gaming to world-class esports to anime marathons, music, and art streams. Twitch also hosts TwitchCon, where we bring everyone together to celebrate, learn, and grow their personal interests and passions. We’re always live at Twitch. Stay up to date on all things Twitch on Linkedin, Twitter and on our Blog. About the role: Twitch builds data-driven machine learning solutions across several rich problem spaces: Natural Language Processing (NLP), Recommendations, Semantic Search, Classification/Categorization, Anomaly Detection, Forecasting, Safety, and HCI/Social Computing/Computational Social Science. As an Intern, you will work with a dedicated Mentor and Manager on a project in one of these problem areas. You will also be supported by an Advisor and participate in cohort activities such as research teach backs and leadership talks. This position can also be located in San Francisco, CA or virtual. You Will: Solve large-scale data problems. Design solutions for Twitch's problem spaces Explore ML and data research
LU, Luxembourg
Are you a talented and inventive scientist with a strong passion about modern data technologies and interested to improve business processes, extracting value from the data? Would you like to be a part of an organization that is aiming to use self-learning technology to process data in order to support the management of the procurement function? The Global Procurement Technology, as a part of Global Procurement Operations, is seeking a skilled Data Scientist to help build its future data intelligence in business ecosystem, working with large distributed systems of data and providing Machine Learning (ML) and Predictive Modeling expertise. You will be a member of the Data Engineering and ML Team, joining a fast-growing global organization, with a great vision to transform the Procurement field, and become the role model in the market. This team plays a strategic role supporting the core Procurement business domains as well as it is the cornerstone of any transformation and innovation initiative. Our mission is to provide a high-quality data environment to facilitate process optimization and business digitalization, on a global scale. We are supporting business initiatives, including but not limited to, strategic supplier sourcing (e.g. contracting, negotiation, spend analysis, market research, etc.), order management, supplier performance, etc. We are seeking an individual who can thrive in a fast-paced work environment, be collaborative and share knowledge and experience with his colleagues. You are expected to deliver results, but at the same time have fun with your teammates and enjoy working in the company. In Amazon, you will find all the resources required to learn new skills, grow your career, and become a better professional. You will connect with world leaders in your field and you will be tackling Data Science challenges to ensure business continuity, by taking the right decisions for your customers. As a Data Scientist in the team, you will: -be the subject matter expert to support team strategies that will take Global Procurement Operations towards world-class predictive maintenance practices and processes, driving more effective procurement functions, e.g. supplier segmentation, negotiations, shipping supplies volume forecast, spend management, etc. -have strong analytical skills and excel in the design, creation, management, and enterprise use of large data sets, combining raw data from different sources -provide technical expertise to support the development of ML models to facilitate intelligent digital services, such as Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) and Negotiations platform -cooperate closely with different groups of stakeholders, e.g. data/software engineers, product/program managers, analysts, senior leadership, etc. to evaluate business needs and objectives to set up the best data management environment -create and share with audiences of varying levels technical papers and presentations -deal with ambiguity, prioritizing needs, and delivering results in a dynamic environment Basic qualifications -Master’s Degree in Computer Science/Engineering, Informatics, Mathematics, or a related technical discipline -3+ years of industry experience in data engineering/science, business intelligence or related field -3+ years experience in algorithm design, engineering and implementation for very-large scale applications to solve real problems -Very good knowledge of data modeling and evaluation -Very good understanding of regression modeling, forecasting techniques, time series analysis, machine-learning concepts such as supervised and unsupervised learning, classification, random forest, etc. -SQL and query performance tuning skills Preferred qualifications -2+ years of proficiency in using R, Python, Scala, Java or any modern language for data processing and statistical analysis -Experience with various RDBMS, such as PostgreSQL, MS SQL Server, MySQL, etc. -Experience architecting Big Data and ML solutions with AWS products (Redshift, DynamoDB, Lambda, S3, EMR, SageMaker, Lex, Kendra, Forecast etc.) -Experience articulating business questions and using quantitative techniques to arrive at a solution using available data -Experience with agile/scrum methodologies and its benefits of managing projects efficiently and delivering results iteratively -Excellent written and verbal communication skills including data visualization, especially in regards to quantitative topics discussed with non-technical colleagues
US, CA, San Francisco
About Twitch Launched in 2011, Twitch is a global community that comes together each day to create multiplayer entertainment: unique, live, unpredictable experiences created by the interactions of millions. We bring the joy of co-op to everything, from casual gaming to world-class esports to anime marathons, music, and art streams. Twitch also hosts TwitchCon, where we bring everyone together to celebrate, learn, and grow their personal interests and passions. We’re always live at Twitch. Stay up to date on all things Twitch on Linkedin, Twitter and on our Blog. About the role: Twitch builds data-driven machine learning solutions across several rich problem spaces: Natural Language Processing (NLP), Recommendations, Semantic Search, Classification/Categorization, Anomaly Detection, Forecasting, Safety, and HCI/Social Computing/Computational Social Science. As an Intern, you will work with a dedicated Mentor and Manager on a project in one of these problem areas. You will also be supported by an Advisor and participate in cohort activities such as research teach backs and leadership talks. This position can also be located in San Francisco, CA or virtual. You Will: Solve large-scale data problems. Design solutions for Twitch's problem spaces Explore ML and data research
US, CA, San Francisco
About Twitch Launched in 2011, Twitch is a global community that comes together each day to create multiplayer entertainment: unique, live, unpredictable experiences created by the interactions of millions. We bring the joy of co-op to everything, from casual gaming to world-class esports to anime marathons, music, and art streams. Twitch also hosts TwitchCon, where we bring everyone together to celebrate, learn, and grow their personal interests and passions. We’re always live at Twitch. Stay up to date on all things Twitch on Linkedin, Twitter and on our Blog. About the role: Twitch builds data-driven machine learning solutions across several rich problem spaces: Natural Language Processing (NLP), Recommendations, Semantic Search, Classification/Categorization, Anomaly Detection, Forecasting, Safety, and HCI/Social Computing/Computational Social Science. As an Intern, you will work with a dedicated Mentor and Manager on a project in one of these problem areas. You will also be supported by an Advisor and participate in cohort activities such as research teach backs and leadership talks. This position can also be located in San Francisco, CA or virtual. You Will: Solve large-scale data problems. Design solutions for Twitch's problem spaces Explore ML and data research
US, CA, San Francisco
About Twitch Launched in 2011, Twitch is a global community that comes together each day to create multiplayer entertainment: unique, live, unpredictable experiences created by the interactions of millions. We bring the joy of co-op to everything, from casual gaming to world-class esports to anime marathons, music, and art streams. Twitch also hosts TwitchCon, where we bring everyone together to celebrate, learn, and grow their personal interests and passions. We’re always live at Twitch. Stay up to date on all things Twitch on Linkedin, Twitter and on our Blog. About the role: Twitch builds data-driven machine learning solutions across several rich problem spaces: Natural Language Processing (NLP), Recommendations, Semantic Search, Classification/Categorization, Anomaly Detection, Forecasting, Safety, and HCI/Social Computing/Computational Social Science. As an Intern, you will work with a dedicated Mentor and Manager on a project in one of these problem areas. You will also be supported by an Advisor and participate in cohort activities such as research teach backs and leadership talks. This position can also be located in San Francisco, CA or virtual. You Will: Solve large-scale data problems. Design solutions for Twitch's problem spaces Explore ML and data research
US, CA, San Francisco
About Twitch Launched in 2011, Twitch is a global community that comes together each day to create multiplayer entertainment: unique, live, unpredictable experiences created by the interactions of millions. We bring the joy of co-op to everything, from casual gaming to world-class esports to anime marathons, music, and art streams. Twitch also hosts TwitchCon, where we bring everyone together to celebrate, learn, and grow their personal interests and passions. We’re always live at Twitch. Stay up to date on all things Twitch on Linkedin, Twitter and on our Blog. About the role: Twitch builds data-driven machine learning solutions across several rich problem spaces: Natural Language Processing (NLP), Recommendations, Semantic Search, Classification/Categorization, Anomaly Detection, Forecasting, Safety, and HCI/Social Computing/Computational Social Science. As an Intern, you will work with a dedicated Mentor and Manager on a project in one of these problem areas. You will also be supported by an Advisor and participate in cohort activities such as research teach backs and leadership talks. This position can also be located in San Francisco, CA or virtual. You Will: Solve large-scale data problems. Design solutions for Twitch's problem spaces Explore ML and data research
US, WA, Seattle
We are a team of doers working passionately to apply cutting-edge advances in deep learning in the life sciences to solve real-world problems. As a Senior Applied Science Manager you will participate in developing exciting products for customers. Our team rewards curiosity while maintaining a laser-focus in bringing products to market. Competitive candidates are responsive, flexible, and able to succeed within an open, collaborative, entrepreneurial, startup-like environment. At the leading edge of both academic and applied research in this product area, you have the opportunity to work together with a diverse and talented team of scientists, engineers, and product managers and collaborate with others teams. Location is in Seattle, US Embrace Diversity Here at Amazon, we embrace our differences. We are committed to furthering our culture of inclusion. We have ten employee-led affinity groups, reaching 40,000 employees in over 190 chapters globally. We have innovative benefit offerings, and host annual and ongoing learning experiences, including our Conversations on Race and Ethnicity (CORE) and AmazeCon (gender diversity) conferences. Amazon’s culture of inclusion is reinforced within our 14 Leadership Principles, which remind team members to seek diverse perspectives, learn and be curious, and earn trust Balance Work and Life Our team puts a high value on work-life balance. It isn’t about how many hours you spend at home or at work; it’s about the flow you establish that brings energy to both parts of your life. We believe striking the right balance between your personal and professional life is critical to life-long happiness and fulfillment. We offer flexibility in working hours and encourage you to find your own balance between your work and personal lives Mentor & Grow Careers Our team is dedicated to supporting new members. We have a broad mix of experience levels and tenures, and we’re building an environment that celebrates knowledge sharing and mentorship. Our senior members enjoy one-on-one mentoring and thorough, but kind, code reviews. We care about your career growth and strive to assign projects based on what will help each team member develop into a better-rounded engineer and enable them to take on more complex tasks in the future. Key job responsibilities • Manage high performing engineering and science teams • Hire and develop top-performing engineers, scientists, and other managers • Develop and execute on project plans and delivery commitments • Work with business, data science, software engineer, biological, and product leaders to help define product requirements and with managers, scientists, and engineers to execute on them • Build and maintain world-class customer experience and operational excellence for your deliverables