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Real Humans of Amazon: Tanique Philogene, Notre Dame Mendoza MBA ’23, Senior Program Manager

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In this Real Humans: Alumni, Tanique Philogene reveals how the Notre Dame Mendoza MBA program’s hands-on experiential learning gave her exactly the skills she needed for her pivot from finance to the tech industry.

Some individuals know for sure where their path leads, and are just looking for the right opportunity at the right time. For Philogene, who knew before graduating high school she wanted an MBA, that opportunity was during the pandemic, when she had the time to prepare for the next stage of her career and personal development.

Tanique Philogene Notre Dame Mendoza MBA ’23, Senior Program Manager at Amazon AWS

Age: 27
Hometown: Silver Spring, MD
Undergraduate Institution and Major: Loyola University Maryland/ Finance Major, Information Systems Minor
Graduate Business School, Graduation Year and Concentration (if applicable): Mendoza College of Business/2023/Operations and Supply Chain
Pre-MBA Work Experience: Client Services Operations Associate, Morgan Stanley/3 years/Financial Services Industry
Post-MBA Work Experience: Sr. Program Manager, Amazon AWS/7 months/Technology

Why did you choose to attend business school?
Since before graduating high school, I had always intended to continue my education after getting my undergraduate degree. Specifically, I knew I wanted to get my MBA. My timeline was unclear until the Pandemic hit, and I saw my opportunity to start preparing for the GMAT and researching business schools. I knew I wanted to pivot out of the financial services industry and into technology, which guided my motivation to work toward my graduate degree.

Why Mendoza? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
When searching for a business school, I had my typical checklist that most institutions met – great school, great teachers, smaller cohorts, and specialization in my areas of interest. However, what drew me to Mendoza was not my met expectations, but my unknown expectations. I spoke with current and former students while applying and was overwhelmed with the adoration and love they had for Notre Dame and their time in South Bend. Not only was it a love for the institution, but for the professors, the hands-on experiential learning, and the ‘grow the good in business’ mindset that truly resonated throughout every aspect of the program. After listening to the various students, I knew I wanted to attend a school where, even after graduating, the students expressed how much they learned and had the privilege of experiencing at Notre Dame.

What about your MBA experience prepared you for your current career at Amazon?
Easily, what most prepared me for my current career was the multitude of hands-on experiential learning opportunities. Mendoza has an excellent way of immersing students into real-world scenarios to prepare them for what is to come after graduation. This was not only seen in classes, but also in the experiential learning projects we participated in after every quarter and in extracurricular activities such as clubs and volunteer opportunities. Mendoza does a great job of taking students outside of the ‘school’ mindset and putting them into the management and career mindset that they will need in the future. When interviewing for full-time positions post-graduation, most conversations were centered around those hands-on experiences, rather than only on what I learned sitting in a classroom, and that is what I believe brought me to where I am today.

What was your internship during business school? How did that inform your post-MBA career choice of Amazon?
During business school, I participated in an internship with Amazon AWS in Supply Chain Operations – the same team I joined post-graduation. The internship allowed me to learn about Amazon, the Program Management role, and the number of opportunities under the Amazon umbrella. Afterward, I was certain that I wanted to return post-graduation, and I was fortunate enough to receive a return offer. 

Why did you choose your current company? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to work?
When starting with Mendoza, I knew I wanted to pivot into the technology industry. This desire to pivot led me directly to Amazon. After interning with AWS, I knew that Amazon would be a great place to grow and learn from the many opportunities available. 

Advice to current MBA students:
My main piece of advice would be to talk to as many people as you can and never be afraid to ask questions. I would not have known that Mendoza was the place for me without speaking to current and former students, and I likely would not have found my internship with Amazon without reaching out to those who had interned with them before. People for the most part enjoy talking about their experiences and are happy to share knowledge with others – don’t be afraid to reach out and ask.

–One thing you would absolutely do again as part of the job search?
Similar to what I’ve mentioned, talking to people and learning about their experiences is what helped me to get where I am now. I gained so much knowledge about Amazon, the hiring and onboarding process, and the opportunities within the company just by speaking with a number of people throughout my search. 

—One thing you would change or do differently as part of the job search?
 The only thing I would have done differently during my job search is apply across a wider variety of companies. I was very focused on pivoting into the technology industry and that guided my application process and a lot of my career conversations. While I am very happy about where I ended up, I do believe that it’s best to have a well-rounded set of options.

–Were there any surprises regarding your current employer’s recruiting process?
Amazon has a rigorous interview and onboarding process and it surprised me how different it was from other companies that I interviewed with. Despite this, I believe the challenge prepared me for the intensity of my internship and my current job, 

–What piece of advice do you wish you had been given during your MBA?
I wish someone had told me to take my time throughout the process. I received my internship offer and my job offer rather early, and while I am extremely grateful, I think it would have been beneficial for me to explore a few more options during my graduate experience. 

Christina Griffith
Christina Griffith is a writer and editor based in Philadelphia. She specializes in covering education, science, and history, and has experience in research and interviews, magazine content, and web content writing.