How do you leverage an engineering skillset into a new career in finance? For Tenny Schwartz, the answer was Carnegie Mellon Tepper‘s MBA program. Find out how his business school experience changed the way he approached and solved problems in this edition of Real Humans: Alumni.
Tenny Schwartz, Carnegie Mellon Tepper MBA ’21, Finance Manager at Amazon
Hometown: Chennai, India
Undergraduate Institution and Major: University of Central Florida, Mechanical Engineering
Graduate Business School, Graduation Year and Concentration (if applicable): Carnegie Mellon University Tepper School of Business, 2021, Finance, Sustainability
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): 4 years, Power/Energy
Post-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): 2, Tech/Cloud
Why did you choose to attend business school?
I spent a few years as an engineer completing technical analysis supporting the service and maintenance of large-scale power plants. As I progressed as an engineer, I was exposed to the business side of the company, where I learned how the company went about planning for the future. Ideas like return on investment, cost of capital, useful life, and others came up. This drove my interest in learning more about the business world and would later manifest in a finance focus during business school.
Why Tepper? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
One of my biggest fears in my early contemplation of business school was that my engineering experience and education would fall by the wayside. I also wanted to be in a school with a smaller class size so I could cultivate better relationships with my peers. After visiting and interviewing, I found that Tepper was a place I could incorporate existing technical skills into the new skills gained during business school in an environment of close collaboration with my peers.
What about your MBA experience prepared you for your current career?
I think my MBA experience bolstered some of my technical capabilities, specifically dealing with big data management, which is a huge part of my current career. In tandem with data management, I learned how to approach and work through ambiguous problems, which is a daily part of my job.
What was your internship during business school? How did that inform your post-MBA career choice?
My internship during business school was with Amazon in the Finance Leadership Development Program supporting Advertising Finance. It was a great experience to learn about the advertising business, and Amazon at large. One of the driving reasons I decided to return to Amazon post-MBA is the large variety of different business verticals within a single company, providing many opportunities that could cater to most interests.
Why did you choose your current company? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to work?
After my positive internship experience, I decided to return to Amazon full time, where I have been working in Amazon Web Services infrastructure supporting supply chain procurement. The most prominent factors I thought through for choosing my post-MBA career were opportunities for growth, team culture, and working location/flexibility.
How has COVID impacted your industry/career plans?
COVID has not directly impacted my career plans, but it has created a new working environment with hybrid and remote opportunities that I did not have in the past. I decided to move to Seattle after I started to get a feel for a new place and also the corporate headquarters.
Advice to current MBA students:
–One thing you would absolutely do again as part of the job search?
One thing I would do again is apply for a wide variety of opportunities to zero in on exactly what I wanted to do. I pursued finance, product management, and sustainability/energy opportunities throughout my time at business school. The job search process is not only an opportunity for companies to screen potential employees but also for potential employees to screen the company for the best fit.
–One thing you would change or do differently?
One thing I would do differently is to focus more on skills that I could take away from business school, like technical skills or interpersonal skills.
–Were there any surprises regarding your current employer’s recruiting process?
My biggest surprise was the velocity at which they turn around results. I interviewed and, within 5 business days, found out I received an offer. As an interviewer now, I appreciate the focus on making sure interviewees are not left in the dark or “ghosted.”
–What piece of advice do you wish you had been given during your MBA?
I’ll share the advice I received that I wish I listened to: Take the time to enjoy the moment. It is really easy between classes, recruiting, and life to always be looking forward to the next interview, exam or more. Business school is a great experience, and it will pass by in a blink of an eye.