Most of the articles available on the value of studying an MBA often emphasise how MBA graduates have greater prospects in the job market thanks to their qualification. Product Manager Alan Agon has become living proof that standing out in the crowd with an MBA is not conjecture.
A former aerospace engineer who studied, Mr Agon studied a part-time MBA at Melbourne Business School and has since become a Senior Technical Product Manager in Seattle for Amazon, one of the world’s biggest companies.
Landing a job with Amazon was a long-term goal of his – in fact, he had tried once before, without success, before enrolling in the MBA.
“I was really upset when I didn’t get that job,” Mr Agon said. “But halfway through my MBA I noticed Amazon was interviewing MBAs for product manager roles and frantically applied just weeks before the deadline.
“I talked about innovation, what I could bring to the company, the Two Beans Apps startup I co-founded, and being president of the MBS consulting club – all of which got me an interview.”
Mr Agon said his part-time MBA helped him stand out as more than an engineer when applying at Amazon the second time around, while his engineering background distinguished him from candidates with a purely business background.
“The fun part for me has been that the scale of the problems you’re trying to solve are absolutely ridiculous, beyond comprehension.”
As product manager, everything Mr Agon does in his job is high-impact, but the knowledge he gained from his MBA has helped keep the workload manageable.
“Whenever a new business opportunity presents itself in my area at Amazon, we think about it in terms of billions,” he said.
“Can it earn billions in revenue, billions in new customers, billions in new transactions or products?
“The MBA, coupled with being an engineer, got me to where I’m at now. My MBA made me a more business-oriented engineer, and I could pitch my career and study as a logical progression,” he said.