HEC Paris MBA Switches Careers To Land A Digital Marketing Job At Amazon

Sue Jean Tay landed the job through a referral—Amazon also recruits on campus at HEC Paris

Sue Jean Tay was on the Dean's List and gave the commencement speech at her graduation. The HEC Paris MBA gave her confidence to become the business leader she always wanted to be.

When considering business schools, Sue knew she wanted international exposure and a switch to a dynamic industry. That’s exactly what she got.

After completing her MBA, she transitioned from a role in the media industry and landed a top job as a digital marketing manager at Amazon Web Services (AWS) in Singapore.

Having only ever studied and worked in Singapore before her degree, Sue jumped in at the deep end with her MBA, grabbing opportunities with both hands.

She completed her summer MBA internship at Facebook in London. And she served as president of the MBA Tournament (MBAT)—dubbed the “MBA Olympics”—bringing together over 1,500 students from 17 schools for three days of sporting events.

How did your MBA help you land a top job with Amazon?

I’d say several factors helped; namely, the marketing specialization, the HEC Career Center, and the HEC peer and alumni network.

The marketing specialization curriculum was very thorough and had a focus on digital marketing, analytics, and research, all of which helped reinforce my understanding and proved to be vital for many marketing roles in the tech industry.

The Career Center also played a big part in my journey into the tech industry. I landed a summer internship at Facebook London through the school. This experience prepped me well for the fast pace of the tech industry, showed me how to work efficiently with cross functional teams, and more. All of which were relevant experiences that proved to be valuable to Amazon.

Also, as Amazon is one of the top recruiters at HEC Paris, the peer and alumni network played a key role in helping me thoroughly prep for the interviews.

How else have you profited from your MBA?

I’ve gained so much from my HEC Paris MBA experience. The key takeaway was to constantly push my boundaries and challenge myself to be better in both personal and professional contexts.

The interaction with people from diverse backgrounds and nationalities also really helped to pave the way for teamwork in an international context.

Though we only spent 16 months at HEC Paris, many of us have established lifelong friendships and a strong support network to see us through the ups and downs at work.

That HEC Paris connection is also a valuable network of business professionals who are there to help and advise with anything.

Why did you decide to pursue an MBA at HEC Paris?

HEC Paris was one of the top ranked business schools and the 16-month program duration was very appealing, but what pulled me in was the international diversity of students (over 92%!) and intimate class size, limited to 250. It seemed like a good opportunity to interact with everyone.

Moreover, the established alumni network and the hands-on leadership development experiences, such as the opportunity to organize the MBA Tournament and attend a leadership seminar at the French military academy Saint-Cyr, really stood out.

The experience delivered in every aspect. The rich academic curriculum allowed us to explore different specializations with experienced professors, but I believe it was the activities and camaraderie outside the classroom that truly shaped us.

What did you learn from your MBAT experience?

Managing a team of 25 over eight months to organize the largest MBA gathering in Europe with a €500K budget was a great hands-on leadership- development experience.

It really tested my ability to manage different tasks and people simultaneously in a stressful environment. I was immensely proud to deliver a successful event together with the organizational team, students and staff of HEC Paris.

On a personal note, there were times when I had doubts that I couldn’t be the leader that I wanted to be. I’ve learnt and grown so much from this. I now know I am much more equipped to take on any challenges that come my way.

What advice do you have for anyone considering an MBA?

Understand your motivations and objectives for pursuing an MBA and select the school that can best help you achieve them. Do not be afraid if you lack a clear post-MBA plan, because this is a period for you to rediscover your interests and passions. Learning takes place both inside and outside the classroom, and interaction with peers and alumni is a very rewarding and valuable opportunity. 

It is also important to enter the program with the right attitude to make the most out of your MBA experience to achieve both professional and personal goals.

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