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Big Data: At Amazon, LinkedIn, Salesforce, Cloud Computing Is Fuelling MBA Careers

The cloud has become a silver lining in the MBA jobs market

Thu Mar 31 2016

It’s no secret that big data has become the sexiest MBA job field: Business school grads are scrambling to fill what McKinsey says will be shortage of 1.8 million data managers by 2018.

And with Silicon Valley pouring billions of dollars into cloud computing — Salesforce, LinkedIn, Microsoft, and Amazon included — the sector has become a silver lining in a crowded employment market.

Amazon’s MBA recruitment binge — it’s been expanding this track for the past five years, BusinessBecause reports — is fuelled by a powerful push into the cloud computing market.

Amazon Web Services, the e-commerce giant’s cloud business, grew by 70% in the last quarter, raking in revenues to the tune of $2.4 billion.

Growth is so robust that Amazon has set-up a leadership development pipeline just for MBAs to steer the surging cloud unit — CloudPath, a three-year program that prepares MBAs to become leaders within Amazon Web Services.

“We see MBAs as an important leadership pipeline,” says Miriam Park, Amazon’s director of university recruiting.

The cloud rotation is specifically designed to test and develop a participant’s leadership and analytics capabilities — a skill that is white hot in the tech recruitment market.

“Familiarity with data analytics and coding is important in technology,” says Richard Bland, at London Business School’s Career Center. Ted Zoller, director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School, says: “The currency is your ability to code.”


At LinkedIn, Chris Brown, director of LinkedIn Talent Solutions UK, says there are global job opportunities for business professionals and business students.

Cloud-based recruiting software has been behind the social network’s growth. More than 60% of LinkedIn’s revenues — $3 billion in total in 2015 — come from recruiters.

“Being able to match those opportunities or those jobs with people at scale all comes from use of data,” Chris says.

At SAP, the German enterprise software group, “there are always different opportunities” for MBAs, says Michael Jordan, global portfolio manager for SAP’s analytics software.

It is not just companies that rely on cloud technologies for profitability that are harnessing data. Most of the big tech groups do so, argues Jaideep Prabhu, professor of enterprise at University of Cambridge’s Judge Business School.

“Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple are using their platforms to generate huge amounts of data that give them customer insight and leverage,” he says.


Without doubt, says professor Kalyan Talluri, director of Imperial College’s MSc in Business Analytics, Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Twitter have been ahead of the big data curve.

At Amazon, Google and Facebook in particular, talent scouts are looking for people who can leverage big data, according to Jake Cohen, senior associate dean at MIT Sloan School of Management. “Recruiters have said they’re looking for training in advanced business analytics.”

For Amazon, CloudPath puts MBAs through rotations in supply chain and procurement, data center, and engineering businesses. Global supply chains have increasingly adopted cloud technologies and this may be a source of job opportunity for those with relevant expertise.

Eugene Spiegle, vice chair of the Supply Chain Management Department at Rutgers Business School, says software is increasingly helping the entire logistical process, from demand planning through to manufacturing and resource scheduling.