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The Amazon Pathways Challenge

Eduardo Grangeiro from our Full-time MBA class of 2023 took part in this year’s Amazon pathways challenge. His team finished 2nd out of 126 and here he shares his experience from the whole competition and what is involved.

“The competition was a great way to learn about Amazon operations. The different rounds offered an opportunity to tackle current and future challenges within Amazon. The competition started with 126 teams and 620 participants from 15 different business schools across Europe. Each group worked on the competition for 4 months with 3 rounds. There was a new case at each round and each school was delegated an Amazon Operations mentor.

“The Postgraduate Careers team held a session back in January alongside the Full-time MBA Class of 2022 finalists from the previous Amazon competition. This session provided a lot of information about what to expect in terms of the challenge and also commitment. It also highlighted how the competition gives students the opportunity to fast track for the Amazon Pathways internship application process. I knew after this session I wanted to participate in the competition, to have the chance to partner and compete with other business schools was a unique experience. I enjoyed the format of the competition, as we were able to dive deep into Amazon’s operations, principles and working philosophy.  

“My team was called Apex and included (Ning) Papada Sirisukhodom, Miran Ng, (Pato) Luis Patricio Loyo and Piyali Banerjee. We wanted a team that brought together experience in operations, genuine interest in Amazon as a company and dedication to focus amid time pressure, deadlines and applications. I had already worked with both Miran and Ning on our not-for-profit project earlier in the academic year with great results. I was amazed by their skills in project management and digital marketing. Piyali was always an enthusiast of Amazon and has a background in operations which was a plus. Pato, already a friend, has experience in manufacturing, so we made the perfect team.

“The competition is a lot of work. There are interviews with different stakeholders within Amazon, a discussion session with our mentor and data research to summarise into a 2-page paper. This is all of course parallel to our normal MBA student life, testing our time management skills. Amazon is a well-known company but most of the information around is superficial. To find reliable data supporting our research to then deliver unique creative solutions for a company that is constantly testing new ideas was not an easy task.

“The Full-time MBA offering these competitions adds a lot of value to the academic side of the programme. This competition was an eye opener to Amazon’s operations, philosophy of work and daily life. The Amazon Pathways HR did an incredible job, especially pairing us with mentors and the cases selected. The cases brought our attention to issues such as concession payments, supply-demand and HR balance bringing a lens to the most diversified issues an Amazon Operations manager deals with. Also, the relationship with the mentor provided a more personal view and expanded our network within the company. 

“The final of the competition began the day before where we had a visit to MAN1, the Amazon Fulfilment Centre in Manchester. We also had a networking dinner with Amazon leadership staff who were also on the panel of judges the next day. The final day itself was an incredible experience with the event organised by Chole Jacobs, Tulsi Patel and Emily Fenlon. The day started in the morning with opening speeches from Paul Ashraf, Prashant Pandey and Anuja Boopathy who are all senior leaders in Amazon Operations. It was a long day of presentations, quizzes and 1-2-1 sessions where we received feedback on our presentations.

“Our team finished 2nd which was an amazing end to our 4-month journey, raising the bar for next year’s AMBS MBA team.

“Now that the case competition is over, I am looking forward to joining the Amazon Pathways internship at the Amazon delivery station near Leicester. Having the chance to understand Amazon operations, I believe that this last mile presents a lot of opportunities and challenges that align with my background and future aspirations.”

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