Amazon Now Hiring 1,000 MBAs A Year

Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos defends his company’s culture


According to TransparentCareer, which collects job and compensation data from MBA graduates, MBAs can make $200,000 in total compensation at Amazon in their first year of employment. That is a sum that would include signing and year-end bonuses as well as other perks. That is below what MBAs can make at McKinsey ($214,000), Boston Consulting Group ($221,000) or Goldman Sachs ($215,000), but they don’t have to put in the hours or travel usually associated with consulting or investment banking jobs. Amazon MBAs tell TransparentCareer they average 51.6 hours per week at the company, compared to 69 hours a week at McKinsey or 67 hours at Goldman Sachs.

The upshot: Interest in Amazon careers among MBAs is extremely high. At the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, Amazon moved last fall’s on-campus information session to the Ritz-Carlton Hotel nearby because the expected crowd of 350 students would have been beyond capacity for the school. Other MBA employers now often ask schools when Amazon’s recruiters will be on campus because they no longer want to present on the same days due to the competition.

At Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper School of Business, 25 to 30 people, or 10% to 15% of the school’s annual MBA output, now accept jobs from Amazon. Steve Rakas, Tepper’s career-services administrator, told the Journal that the company easily fills the nine interview rooms in Tepper’s career center, while career-office staff also give up their personal offices for recruiters as well. On Tepper’s student treks to potential employers, Rakas says he and his career-services colleagues would lead about 15 students for the Seattle trip a few years ago. Last fall, he had to cap the group at 50 because demand was so high.

Though employment reports haven’t yet been released for the Class of 2016, Amazon will emerge again as something of a corporate vacuum cleaner of MBA talent. “When combining internship, two-year full-time, and one-year MBA recruiting, Amazon is our top employer this year,” notes Cynthia Saunders-Cheatham, executive director of the career management center at Cornell’s Johnson Graduate School of Management. “Amazon is either our number one or number two recruiter, depending on the year. Amazon now recruits here for four different internship and full-time programs. Amazon hosts office hours and corporate briefings. A couple of our first year students already have internship offers from Amazon through Forte and Consortium recruiting, and this was the case last year as well.”


“Amazon’s recruiting tactics can seem like a microcosm of its larger business strategy to other firms vying for MBA talent,” according to the Journal. “The company’s recruiters descend en masse on campus and stay in touch with students constantly; for instance, eight or 10 alumni might attend large events or host coffee meetings for one-on-one conversations with students, compared with a typical one or two presenters from other companies.” “It’s been a huge volume play,” Haas Assistant Dean Abby Scott told the newspaper.

While many MBA employers are trying to reach new students as soon as possible, Amazon has been among the most aggressive in this regard. In June, the company invited MBA admits who have yet to set foot on their business school
campuses to Seattle headquarters. Some 650 first-year and returning women MBAs showed up, some leaving with internship offers for the following summer–even before attending a single business school class.

Scott DeRue, dean of University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, told the Journal that his school urges employers to hold off on recruiting until at least the end of the first week of classes. “It’s nearly impossible. You say an academic building is off limits, and they’re at restaurants and coffee shops across the street,” says DeRue.


  • FWIW Amazon has locations in all the cities you list (though obviously not the mega hub that is Seattle).

    Perception aside, the real deal breaker for a lot of folks I think is the culture. That NYT a year or two ago really resonated with people I think, at least when I was in bschool.

  • David

    Amazon is certainly less prestigious than Google and Facebook, mainly because those two
    require more technical expertise and hence tougher interviews. Most PMs
    at Google and Facebook know how to code, for instance.

    I think there’s 3 main reasons why Amazon is not getting the cream of the crop at the top MBA programs.

    1. Prestige perception: fairly or unfairly, Amazon
    is still considered as a glorified online retail company. They are
    doing some amazing things, and Bezos is probably the best CEO in the
    country, but that is the perception. In contrast, Google/Facebook are
    seen as super sexy companies on the cutting edge (Facebook is retarded;
    the world will be a competition between Google and Amazon). Perception is reality, and MBAs are obsessed with prestige.

    2. Compensation: this is a problem as well when compared to its rivals. Amazon
    is notoriously frugal, and it is reflected in all areas. The company
    has a MAXIMUM base salary cap of just $160K, with the rest of the
    compensation coming from your signing bonus and RSUs that vest over 4
    years. Unlike other tech firms, however, where the vesting happens in
    equal increments, Amazon’s
    vesting is backloaded. In the first year, 5% vests, 15% in the second
    year, and then 20% every 6 months in years 3 and 4. This is a way of
    “trapping” Amazon employees to staying long-term. For MBAs, many of whom are in debt and need cash right away, this proposition could be a deal breaker. Let’s also not forget perks. At Amazon, there is no free food; even soft drinks are not free. And if you travel for work, Amazon will only pay for the cheapest coach flights, even for international flights.

    3. Seattle:
    LOCATION LOCATION LOCATION. Did I mention location? Yeah, I think I
    did. The notion that location does not matter is one of the biggest lies
    out there. For single people, especially, it is absolutely critical and
    will have an effect on one’s overall happiness. Let’s consider the fact
    that graduates of top MBA programs flock to a handful of cities. In the HBS class of 2017, 23% went to NYC, 15% went to SF Bay Area, and 14% to Boston. Only 4% ended
    up in Seattle. So from a network and social standpoint, it’s tough since
    most of your school friends won’t be in Seattle with you. The city also
    lacks the diversity, urban dynamism, and energy of the others. It’s
    essentially a glorified suburb and company town. And for single men,
    Seattle is probably the worst major U.S. city for dating. That matters. A

  • It is clear to me that the comments posted here do not come from former MBA students. MBA House is a school already with over 800 approved in top 25 MBAs around the World and all our students report that the MBA experience is one of the best they have ever had in life and that experience is realized in the job market. For a former MBA student, many job opportunities are revealed, and this lack of money-seeking choice, followed by exploitation and unhappiness, is much more recurrent for professionals with limited options in the job market, which is not the case of a professional graduate in a cutting-edge MBA. What makes a former high-end MBA student stay at Amazon is resiliency and commitment rather than ambition and thirst for justifying the choice to be an above-average professional.

  • MBAcareers

    To hmm and temper, I posted a couple of thoughts in response to your comments. I should have replied here instead of to Ex-Amazon but they follow below. Sorry about that, and hope it’s helpful to some extent.

  • MBAcareers

    Culture tends to be highly localized at most large companies, regardless of industry, so Amazon isn’t different in that regard. To say that any employer across the board is “great” or “terrible” is an oversimplication. Organizational culture is a complex equation with many variables and is not static, either, so what is true today may not be the case tomorrow.

    Additionally, to expect that any type of role would only ever be staffed with MBAs is unrealistic in most situations and does not minimize the value or “robustness” of a job. While a large company with volume hiring may leverage MBA recruiting to fill many/most of those needs, to think that “only” an MBA is good/special enough to do that job is a limiting attitude and one that gives the degree a bad stereotype. Appreciating the diversity of skills and perspectives that people with different backgrounds and credentials bring into any given organization, team, or role allows you to do your own job better and brings out the best in everyone around you.

    These perspectives are based on 20 years of MBA career services and recruiting experience. I am not advocating for or against Amazon as an employer, but think it’s important for prospective MBAs to understand some of these important nuances regardless of career interests.

  • Zach

    Amazon has also been the #1 or #2 recruiter at Johnson the past few years.

  • temper

    It is horrible employer, but most MBAs take the job because they have no choice. They just pretend to be happy but in reality they regret it specially that Operation Manager at amazon is not only for MBAs it accepts all sort of degrees, so most MBAs find themselves forced to take the job or stay unemployed. Other reason, is that, particularly international students, want the brand name of Amazon, for short term and then got better exit opportunities in other companies.

  • Ex-Amazon

    At Amazon it really depends on the team and your role. Some people have amazing experiences, while others struggle. Amazon doesn’t have a uniform culture.

  • hmm

    But isn’t Amazon a horrible employer? If MBAs are going to be treated horribly, should they simply just work for an investment bank who will at least pay them handsomely.

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