Carlos Guijarro Benito owns a MSc. in Industrial Engineering from Spain and France. He developed his professional career in France, first as a developer, then as a consultant and later as Project Manager in a French leading aeronautic company. After 6 years in France, he went back to Madrid, completed the International MBA at IE in April 2016 and then joined the Amazon Pathways Programme in Birmingham, UK. He explains that “an Operations background is not mandatory, successful Pathways managers often come from different areas, but being geographically flexible is key to seize the Pathways opportunity and to fulfill our customer expectations! Amazon is my first contact to operations, and I am loving it! I used to work in industries more focused on regulations than customers; I didn’t feel the impact of my work into someone’s life. During my MBA, I soon realized I wanted to have an impact and operations allows me to do it on a daily basis.”
Q: What do you like best about working at Amazon?
A: At Amazon, every day is day one. We are an innovative company; we don’t take the processes we use for granted, or consider them set in stone. If something can be improved, we just do it.
Q: What is the Amazon Pathways Programme and what makes it unique?
A: It’s a well-defined three year programme that serves as a fast track to senior leadership. From the beginning, I led teams of up to 300 team members, which gave me incredible exposure. My team and I are responsible for strategic decisions that impact on the lives of thousands of internal and external stakeholders.
Q: Why did you decide to join the Pathways Programme?
A: I wanted my career to have impact, to work in a fast-paced environment and rapidly develop into a senior Amazonian leader. Operations is the heart of Amazon: having a successful role here can open the door to bigger and better opportunities elsewhere within the company.
Q: What does a typical day for the Pathways Manager look like?
A: In managing shifts at one of our busy Fulfillment Centers, I plan the capacity of each day while partnering with other managers, so that we collectively deliver the results. In the process, I lead my team members to uphold Amazon’s high standards of quality and productivity.
Q: How do the skills and knowledge acquired during your academic years support you today?
A: For Pathways Managers, data-driven analysis is key to success, as are the managerial skills to empower hundreds of team members. The ability to think on your feet is just as important; you’ll need to confidently navigate uncertainty.
Amazonians are also encouraged to keep on learning; we enroll in classes such as Operations Management, Leading People and Teams, and Managerial Decision Making. All of these have supported my transition from the academic environment at IE Business School, to a busy Fulfillment Center.
Q: What is the biggest challenge you have experienced during your first months at Amazon?
A: You will need to jump quickly into your position and deliver results, which is also an opportunity for you to set your own path. I started by playing to my strengths, but pushed myself to keep on acquiring new skills. I also had to learn that mistakes are necessary for gaining valuable experience. It may be challenging at the beginning, but it will prove useful in the long run!
Q: What is your most remarkable achievement at Amazon?
A: I contributed to my team breaking the UK record of successful customer deliveries in a shift during a Christmas period. No other Fulfillment Center has been able to beat us and I am very proud of this success! Further to that, realizing that the items I handled were the most desired gifts of our customers was priceless.
Q: How did Talent and Careers and your IE experience help you during the recruiting process?
A: I attended a careers presentation; this informed me about the opportunities on offer within Amazon Fulfillment. Lorena Martinez, Career Advisor, organized a workshop to prepare candidates for the job interviews and I could get in touch with IE Alumni who advised me on how best to prepare for interviews.
Moreover, having studied at a well-known institution like IE Business School aided my application.
"What Amazon is looking for is a fit with the company culture."
Q: Can you share tips with students interested in applying to Amazon and the Pathways Programme?
A: What Amazon is looking for is a fit with the company culture. You are not necessarily hired to fill the need of an operations manager, but for your potential to become a senior leader of tomorrow. Recruitment itself is straightforward and transparent. Enjoy the experience, don’t worry about your background and demonstrate what you have achieved!
About the Pathways Operations Manager programme
For MBA, MSc or PhD level graduates, this programme is a unique, three year opportunity designed to fast-track both leadership capabilities and career progress. This hands-on role is the chance for ambitious candidates to get their foot in the door, lead large teams of hundreds, and make their way to senior management level roles.
Interested? Visit http://myamazonjob.com/student-opportunities/pathways