The Craziest Interview Questions

Amazon

What Amazon Wants From Its Hires

Where do MBAs want to work?

A few years ago, you’d probably answer with McKinsey, Bain, and Goldman Sachs. While consulting and investment banking are still popular, many MBAs are heading to firms with vibrant cultures, technological sophistication, and long-term vision. And those three traits certainly describe Amazon.

In a 2013 survey conducted by Universum USA, Amazon ranked as the 4th most desirable destination for MBAs. And why wouldn’t they be? They revolutionized online retail, along with the publishing, software, and music industries that fuel it. From warehousing to distribution to service, Amazon has seemingly been two steps ahead. Despite 20 years of perpetual innovation, Jeff Bezos can’t rest, always guarding against complacency or being outflanked by upstarts. Sounds like the ideal environment for an MBA.

But not every MBA. In a recent interview with the Financial Times, Miriam Park, Amazon’s director of university programs, explained what they’re searching for among the hundreds of MBAs they hire each year. Here are some highlights from her interview:

Why do you value MBAs?

The Amazon recruitment process is designed to ensure we hire top candidates with high-growth potential whatever their background may be. As part of this we recruit current MBA students and MBA alumni for permanent and internship opportunities worldwide and see MBAs as an important part of our leadership development. We value people who can balance long-term strategic thinking with tactical execution, and who have the ability to make data-driven decisions. We value MBAs for, in many cases, the global approach that they can bring to the business with many candidates having worked and studied in more than one country. Their range of experience and variety of backgrounds is invaluable in bringing a different way of looking at our business. We also value the analytical skills that they develop through their MBA. In fact, many of our senior leaders started at Amazon after completing MBAs.

What are you looking for in a candidate and what do they need to have done to impress you?

We are looking for MBAs who want to innovate on behalf of our customers and own projects from start to finish. If MBAs are passionate about innovation and display a strong sense of ownership and customer obsession combined with a bias for action and robust analytical thinking, Amazon offers multiple opportunities to build a career. Demonstrating results as well as solid credentials will help applicants stand out.

Are business schools doing enough to turn out the sort of candidates you are after? What more would you like to see business schools doing?

We look to business schools for applicants who they believe have both the long-term potential to develop as well as those who are capable of making an immediate impact. In Amazon’s case this means having the ability on day one to drive key business decisions, but can also mean MBAs rolling up their sleeves to do some tactical tasks they might not have expected post-MBA, but which we believe are important to their learning experience and to understanding better our business and our customers. Schools with which we work closely help us to identify candidates that match this type of profile.

To see the types of jobs that Amazon is hiring for this year, click on the Financial Times link below.

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Source: Financial Times