I’m About to Start the Job of My Dreams at Amazon — Here’s How I Landed It
By Dhanishth Khosla, MSCM ‘18
When an amazing opportunity to change careers comes along, you have to do everything you can to bring your 100 percent best self.
That’s why I started preparing for the interview process at Amazon before I even started classes in the Michigan Ross Master of Supply Chain Management Program.
When changing careers, like I was preparing to do, there are several factors to consider: Change in industry, change in function, change in company, change in level of responsibilities, even change in country. Because I was facing so many of these changes, I recognized I needed to put in a lot of effort and start early.
The network I created through the Ross MSCM program was a huge advantage in helping me start that preparation.
Time management plays a major role throughout the preparation process. In the time leading to the interview season I tried to do the assignments and readings related to the curriculum early. I also dedicated as much time as I could to understanding Amazon and the role I wanted to apply for, preparing my resume and reflecting on my past experiences to be able to present my best self during the interview process.
There are a lot of Ross alumni working at Amazon (I read that Ross was one of their largest sources of MBA talent) so I had a lot of access to people who were willing to help me get ready. I started by reading books they recommended to me, one of course being about Amazon’s 14 leadership principles. The company is really big on their principles, so I wanted to make sure I knew them inside and out.
One of the most important ways I prepared was by doing mock interviews. The peer coaches at the Career Development Office helped me in the beginning, but it was a couple of mock interviews with Ross alumni that really helped me raise the bar. I knew I had prepared and studied a lot, but I wanted someone to give me honest and first-hand feedback.
Interviewing at Amazon was a rigorous process. First you submit your application with your resume, and then the company puts you through a business simulation to test the quality of your decisions. The whole time they are assessing your consistency in being a good Amazon leader.
After that is a series of interviews. I ended up interviewing for two different positions, and one went much better than the other. It was also the role I was more excited about: the Pathways Program. I felt comfortable and like it was the right fit. I was surprised that some of the employees who gave me mock interviews even texted me later and asked about how the the process went. It felt great that they believed in me and gave me a good feel of the leadership I would have, and be part of, at Amazon.
I’m going to start in the Pathways Program this year.
Pathways is set up to groom leaders in the warehouses across the country. You learn what it’s like to work at every level of the warehouse so that you’ll become an effective leader. I’ve heard from those with firsthand experience that this program has worked really well, and I think it will be a great experience for me.
For my fellow international students who want to land the job of their dreams, I have some advice.
First, recruitment happens in very different ways in different countries. In the U.S. you need to work so hard just to get an interview, and that can be a culture shock. Networking is really helpful in the interview process. Depending on the company, it can help you get an interview, be prepared for an interview or hopefully both. In my case, it was mostly the second. Now, networking by itself won’t get you a job or make people like you, but the point is when you speak to a lot of people, you might just find a few that you really connect with more than others. These kind of connections can end up taking you a long way.
Another thing that is important, when you come to the U.S., is to have a development mindset.
Learn about not only what the cultural differences are, but why they exist, why work may be different here, and what values are behind that. It helps if you talk with people who you genuinely trust for this kind of learning and advice. Most people talk to relatives in the U.S. for this. I reconnected with some personal and family friends and colleagues who had experienced the U.S. at some point of time in their lives. I also used some of the MSCM alumni as mentors on this front too.
And lastly, of course, I would advise starting early in your preparation for any interview process, especially because there are a lot of things that you are going to have to learn as someone new to the country. It might sound like a lot of work, and it may not work for everyone on first attempt like it did for me, but it’s actually a really great learning process and will help in the long term for sure: not only are you nurtured academically at Ross, but you are challenged in what your cultural beliefs are too.