Amazon Is Prime Job For New M.B.A.s -- WSJ
By Kelsey Gee
This article is being republished as part of our daily reproduction of WSJ.com articles that also appeared in the U.S. print edition of The Wall Street Journal (October 5, 2017).
Amazon.com Inc., disrupter of industries from book selling to grocery shopping, has found its latest sector to upend -- recruiting at the nation's elite business schools.
The Seattle-based retail giant is now the top recruiter at the business schools of Carnegie Mellon University, Duke University and University of California, Berkeley. It is the biggest internship destination for first-year M.B.A.s at the University of Michigan, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dartmouth College and Duke. Amazon took in more interns from the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business than either Bain & Co. or McKinsey & Co., which were until recently among the school's top hirers of interns, according to Madhav Rajan, Booth's dean.
All told, Amazon has hired some 1,000 M.B.A.s in the past year, according to Miriam Park, Amazon's director of university programs -- a drop in the bucket for a company that plans to add 50,000 software developers in the next year. But Amazon's flood-the-zone approach to recruiting and hiring future M.B.A.s -- in some cases before they have taken a single business-school course -- is feeding the career frenzy on campus and rankling some rival recruiters.
The talent wars begin even before classes do. This past June, Amazon sponsored an event at its Seattle headquarters for 650 soon-to-be first-year and returning women M.B.A. students, some of whom left the event with internship offers for summer 2018.
Scott DeRue, dean of the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business, urges Amazon and other avid hirers to refrain from recruiting activities until at least the end of the first week of classes. "It's nearly impossible," Mr. DeRue said. "You say an academic building is off limits, and they're at restaurants and coffee shops across the street."
So far this year, Amazon has hired around 40 Ross grads. Last month alone, it was one of 196 companies that trekked to the Ann Arbor business school to host a total of 400 events, ranging from in-classroom presentations to happy hours and pizza dinners, a Ross spokesman said. Recruiters from consulting firms favor a wine bar called Vinology on the college town's Main Street.
At Carnegie Mellon's Tepper School of Business, 25 to 30 people, or an average 10% to 15% of the graduating M.B.A. class each year, go to work for Jeff Bezos. The retailer's recruiters fill the nine interview rooms in Tepper's career center, and the staff at the career office turn over their personal offices to interviewers too, said Steve Rakas, career-services administrator. Only PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP sends as many people, he added.