Student Perspectives

Student Perspective

Rachel Adams

Rachel Adams

MBA 17

Senior Category Merchant Manager
Amazon

A Curriculum for Cross-Functionality

In my career prior to Haas, I specialized in financial modeling and investment decisions. I've now stepped into a cross-functional role at Amazon. The core curriculum allowed me to build marketing, quantitative, operational, and leadership skills that will be fundamental to my position as well as my development as a business leader at Amazon.

People often rotate through different positions every two years here, and Haas prepared me to take on the next opportunity, no matter the function or area of the company.

Learning the value of networking

Before Haas, I was uncomfortable asking for favors in professional settings. I’ve always had this impression that networking was relatively one-sided, one person asking another person for something. At Haas, my classmates helped me become more comfortable using second connections for informal meetings. I learned how to both believe and communicate that I have something to offer the team or person I am meeting.

My classmates were happy to help me with my job search, so when I finalized my list of dream retail-tech companies, my Haas network helped me land coffee chats that led to formal interviews with all 5 organizations I targeted.

The power of authentic leadership

In my experiential Startup Lab I learned the value of working on your weaknesses, rather than just playing to your strengths. While consulting for a local startup, I tackled marketing instead of taking on the role of the "finance person." I looked to group mates who had backgrounds in brand management when I had questions, and helped them when they completed the financial modeling. This constant readiness to both teach and learn has helped me have confidence as a leader in any role.

As people advance in their careers, they often try to seem perfect to their colleagues. What I saw from my teachers, classmates, and the business leaders we worked with was that authenticity gets you much further, and that recognizing and communicating both your strengths and weaknesses is key to authentic leadership.

Community values in an MBA program

The social life at Haas really continues the principle of authenticity. I enjoyed going to "Deep Dish Dinners" where students get together over home-cooked meals, as well as Story Salons where classmates shared personal stories with classmates. I also worked on the Humans of Haas podcast, which allowed me to learn so much about my classmates and their unique perspectives and backgrounds.

Defining what rewarding work means

I'm very impact driven, so I love setting goals, meeting them, and feeling their impact. After taking Entrepreneurship and working with a tech startup through the Energy Club, I was drawn to the fast-moving startup world where you have to make quick decisions, drive growth, and react to changes in your business in real-time.

Though Amazon is anything but a startup, my team of four owns the strategy for a large portion of the apparel business, so it’s exciting to know that my ideas, the bets I make, and the risks I take will legitimately impact the bottom line.

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