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What Amazon Seeks In An MBA Hire

A view of Seattle from Amazon's rooftop

A view of Seattle from Amazon’s rooftop

Amazon’s Leadership Principles

Whether you are an individual contributor or the manager of a large team, you are an Amazon leader. These are our leadership principles and every Amazonian is guided by these principles.

Customer Obsession
Leaders start with the customer and work backwards. They work vigorously to earn and keep customer trust. Although leaders pay attention to competitors, they obsess over customers.

Ownership
Leaders are owners. They think long term and don’t sacrifice long-term value for short-term results. They act on behalf of the entire company, beyond just their own team. They never say “that’s not my job.”

Invent and Simplify
Leaders expect and require innovation and invention from their teams and always find ways to simplify. They are externally aware, look for new ideas from everywhere, and are not limited by “not invented here.” As we do new things, we accept that we may be misunderstood for long periods of time.

Are Right, A Lot
Leaders are right a lot. They have strong business judgment and good instincts.

Hire and Develop the Best
Leaders raise the performance bar with every hire and promotion. They recognize exceptional talent, and willingly move them throughout the organization. Leaders develop leaders and take seriously their role in coaching others.

Insist on the Highest Standards
Leaders have relentlessly high standards – many people may think these standards are unreasonably high. Leaders are continually raising the bar and driving their teams to deliver high quality products, services and processes. Leaders ensure that defects do not get sent down the line and that problems are fixed so they stay fixed.

Think Big
Thinking small is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Leaders create and communicate a bold direction that inspires results. They think differently and look around corners for ways to serve customers.

Bias for Action
Speed matters in business. Many decisions and actions are reversible and do not need extensive study. We value calculated risk taking.

Casual Area in the Seattle office

Casual Area in the Seattle office

Frugality
We try not to spend money on things that don’t matter to customers. Frugality breeds resourcefulness, self-sufficiency, and invention. There are no extra points for headcount, budget size, or fixed expense.

Vocally Self Critical
Leaders do not believe their or their team’s body odor smells of perfume. Leaders come forward with problems or information, even when doing so is awkward or embarrassing. Leaders benchmark themselves and their teams against the best.

Earn Trust of Others
Leaders are sincerely open-minded, genuinely listen, and are willing to examine their strongest convictions with humility.

Dive Deep
Leaders operate at all levels, stay connected to the details, and audit frequently. No task is beneath them.

Have Backbone; Disagree and Commit
Leaders are obligated to respectfully challenge decisions when they disagree, even when doing so is uncomfortable or exhausting. Leaders have conviction and are tenacious. They do not compromise for the sake of social cohesion. Once a decision is determined, they commit wholly.

Deliver Results
Leaders focus on the key inputs for their business and deliver them with the right quality and in a timely fashion. Despite setbacks, they rise to the occasion and never settle.

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  • Jimmy Black

    Interesting that you say that Jimmy White. We had roughly 50 or so people get invited to the first round of recruitment with Amazon. The select few that made it through the second round and eventually got offers (in addition to myself) were all the types of people that I enjoy hanging out with at bars. I was very pleasantly surprised with who they selected.

  • CPO_C_Ryback

    Ditto. Good luck, pal.

  • Future Amazonian

    It’s pretty solid, It’s not quite banking or top teir consulting money, but on the higher end for tech and corp jobs. If you’re recruiting for non consulting and banking, you’ll be very happy with their offer.

  • Future Amazonian

    … You started by asking about the culture, and then answer as if you’re an expert… Ok? I’m done with this convo…

  • CPO_C_Ryback

    I hear, OK, not great.

  • CPO_C_Ryback

    He probably saw folks, working like dogs, and a chance at promotion @ 0.01%.

  • CPO_C_Ryback

    Sure. Prove 1,000s wrong. Can’t wait.

  • Future Amazonian

    No one coming out of an MBA program expects to work 40h weeks. But, depending on the team, it’s possible 50 = 60. I wont know for sure until I start though…. I’m just trying to ensure that the only comments out there aren’t soley hearsay from jaded ex-employees

  • CPO_C_Ryback

    Anyone who thinks 40 will get the same treatment as 60, needs a sanity check. Now. Today.

  • guest11

    What didn’t he like about the culture?

  • Future Amazonian

    I’ve heard its a bit of a mixed bag. First, if you go in as an engineer/CS or a PMT, i think the likelihood is much higher. Opps can be a tough schedule, but you know what your signing on for. When it comes to RLD, PM, and Finance I hear it fully depends on the team.

    What I’ve been told is there will always be more work to do, but face-time doesn’t matter. At the end of the day it will be your call if you want to work 45, 50, 60 or more… So all in all, you have to set your expectations pretty early on, and not feel like you have to work 60. This come from past interns and current employees. I’m not sure how accurate it is, but the people I spoke to have no reason to lie.

  • randommer

    know a Harvard MBA who worked there over the summer. His review was that the prevailing opinion about burn out shop was true. He also did not really like the culture. He is smart, sweet non socially awkward guy. He said he did learn a ton though.

  • guest11

    what’s starting pay at Amazon for new MBA grads?

  • vanaporn chonburi

    carry on.. happy for you..

  • Mike

    Jimmy,
    What roles did amazon hire from your program? Do they hire for corporate finance?

  • CPO_C_Ryback

    AMZN had a reputation of being a “burn-out” shop for everyone. Still the same? Anyone know?

  • Future Amazonian

    I am not an international student, not am I socially awkward. They do have their type, and I’m happy to be one of them.

  • Jimmy White

    Amazon took the most socially awkward international kids from our program for the past couple of years. They certainly have their “type”