Today, the company is much more than an e-commerce platform—venturing into cloud computing; producing its own TV shows for video streaming through Amazon Prime; and developing its own smart home operations system around virtual home assistant Alexa. The opportunities for MBAs are rife.
After graduating from the International MBA program at Spain’s IE Business School in 2015, Aaron Hawkins landed himself a program manager position at Amazon in San Francisco’s Silicon Valley—he relocated to Seattle winter 2016 and has since branched out into their smart home operations team, in July 2017.
“My work life is pretty high velocity, as you would imagine,” he says. “What I’m doing is still very new and scrappy, as we are scaling up just now.
“Still, at the time [of my hiring], Amazon was not the Amazon it is currently, in terms of being one of the companies that most grads flock to after school.”
In recent years however, Amazon’s appeal has skyrocketed as it battles the rest of the big four tech companies—Apple, Google, and Facebook—for global hegemony in the tech world.
In fact, IE Business School itself noted exponential growth in the number of its MBAs who entered tech roles after graduating—25% of the MBA class of 2016 landed tech jobs, up from 16% the year before. And 59% of students from that year used their MBA to change role.
Aaron did the same—his pre-MBA education was in engineering. He held multiple electrical engineering roles in the San Francisco Bay Area before he decided to pursue an MBA to make the transition into tech.
“I wanted to focus more professionally on technology,” he says. “The tech arena is where all the energy and creative thinking is.
“Having an MBA helped me to better frame myself as a candidate—it better equipped me to distinctly answer an array of technical questions.”
One of IE Business School’s core MBA elements is Thinking Beyond Business—a key component of that being the Innovation in a Digital World module, which teaches its students to adapt to technological change whilst remaining creative.
The school’s Technology and Innovation Club has almost 1,200 members and, in 2015, hosted TechSummit, a major innovation and digital business models conference.
As the global economy becomes increasingly digitized, and tech innovation becomes the core of businesses the world over, business schools are having to adapt.
And Aaron thinks an MBA with an international focus is key—IE Business School's International MBA program is made up of 90-92% international students.
“For me, it’s important to maintain an international perspective because the best opportunities can exist anywhere,” he says. “I have worked internationally before and the chance to build this aspect of my professional life was enticing—I was naturally drawn to Madrid.
“IE is a very forward-thinking school,” he continues, “and I think they instill that in their students from day one. Because of that, you will always continue to broaden your horizons academically, and in your professional life.”