As a program manager for Amazon, she says that the combination of core MBA knowledge and business analytics skills equipped her with the ideal skill set for the digital age. It’s a skill set in high demand among big tech firms, she adds.
And when you’re at one of the biggest companies in the world, it helps to be well-versed in assimilating across cultural and professional barriers, which is exactly what the MBA prepared her for, Nirosha explains.
The road to the Fox School of Business
Nirosha grew up in India and studied electrical and electronics engineering at the undergraduate level before joining Tata Consultancy Services as a system engineer. She started out as an engineer but soon worked her way up into a techno-functional role.
In that role, she acted as the bridge between the business and technical teams. She developed a strong perspective of how things work across different countries by collaborating with clients in the US, Singapore, and India.
Nirosha also jointly coordinated a multidisciplinary team of functional and technical associates to optimize business processes for the clients, using enterprise-wide technology solutions.
Consequently, she started to develop an interest in all the different business functions—be it marketing, finance, sales—and felt like she had more to offer than her role at the time allowed.
Leadership development and people skills were also on her agenda, and that’s when she began searching for MBA programs.
Why the Fox School?
The international aspect of the Global MBA at the Fox School caught her eye. Global immersions would take her to China, and then to Germany and Greece.
On the immersions, students visit local companies to gain insights into how business practices differ from region to region. They also get the opportunity to network with executives from international organizations.
On her immersion trip to China, Nirosha says that she quickly came to terms with the speed of growth happening there. “I saw that China is way ahead in terms of technology and the things they’re doing.
“When we were meeting with all the companies, I really liked how they had a very progressive mindset.”
In Europe, seeing companies in Germany grapple with the startup culture and dynamic innovation contrasted with companies in Greece who are full of optimism despite the economic situation, Nirosha explains.
Combining an MBA with data analytics skills
For Nirosha, combining an MBA with a Master of Science in Business Analytics was a great way to set herself apart for a job with Amazon.
“I felt that the analytical skills in terms of developing and leveraging data would be really important,” she explains. “I did the master’s, and when I was getting that, I decided to apply to jobs that really interested me.”
She applied to Microsoft and Amazon, and after a few phone interviews with the latter, she went to Seattle for an interview. After graduating, she started her full-time role.
The combination of specific analytical skills as well as the core business knowledge an MBA provides sets you up to thrive in the digital economy, Nirosha says.
“The MBA helped me gauge the perspectives of different people from different backgrounds, which is really important to establish in big tech companies with people from many backgrounds and perspectives.
“Another thing that I learned during the MBA was to adapt to a fast-paced environment and to deal with ambiguity. It’s really important in these companies where you’re constantly moving forward and fast into the unknown.”
Big tech companies depend on data-driven decisions, so her second degree allowed Nirosha to lay the groundwork for her work at Amazon. Picking data and mining it has to become second nature to anyone in a leadership role within a big tech firm. The Fox School provided those analytical skills in abundance, Nirosha says.
What is it like working at Amazon?
Nirosha achieved the goal she set at the start, and working at Amazon hasn’t disappointed.
She’s always been interested in getting into a company that is trying something new every day. At Amazon, she has to quickly adapt to new technology.
“It’s very important for you to unlearn and learn things again,” she says. “Working with smart people around you always keeps you on your toes, and I love that it’s super challenging.
“That idea of combining the two degrees was to get the rounded skill-set to go into one of these companies. The combination of both is what I needed to establish myself at Amazon.”