How this Brazilian MBA student secured a job at Amazon
Meet Laura Cansanção Cruz
Senior Program Manager at Amazon
After more than nine years of working as an operations and supply chain professional in her home country Brazil, Laura Cansanção Cruz felt that it was time for the next step in her career. Her deep interest in the field is unwavering, but a new passion has taken root. She felt the pull of the tech industry.
What Laura did not know was that her jump to the tech sector would happen extremely fast. “My first day of classes was on July 11, and by mid-August, I received an internship offer from Amazon,” she said.
“This fall, I started a STEM MBA program at Simon Business School, the University of Rochester, concentrating on consulting and operations,” she tells The International Advantage. “When I decided to take an MBA, my main goal was to stay in operations and supply chain, but I would like to jump from the construction industry to tech.”
The program offered her as well as other international students the opportunity to extend their working visas and find employment in the US. A STEM-designated program gave her the chance to find her niche and studying in the US allowed her to gain international exposure, something Cruz felt was critical to her success.
Cruz credits her parents for motivating her to pursue her studies abroad and make her dreams a reality: “My interest in business came along with the desire to have an international career. For career growth purposes, it is essential to understand the impact each operational decision has on the business, the financials of the company, and every other aspect of the industry.”
Pursuing an MBA program in the US
But why Simon Business School? For starters, it was the first school — according to Cruz — to make all course offerings STEM-designated. This means that students who opt to enroll for these courses will be eligible to apply for the visa extension regardless of the field of study they are pursuing.
Studying abroad and having an international career was always the dream for 30 year old Cruz. She envisions herself as a global executive because the Brazilian native refuses to limit her knowledge to the same business model. “Having exposure to the US market will benefit my career in multiple ways — getting exposed to a complex and mature market while also expanding my network,” Cruz shared.
During her first week of classes at Simon Business School, she had the opportunity to meet Marcelo Barros, founder of The International Advantage. Just days before her interview with multinational tech giant Amazon, Cruz attended a webinar organized by Barros. The webinar — held in a casual and open format about the company, the market, and the recruiting process at Amazon — proved to be helpful for the MBA candidate. “The Amazon recruiter Barros interviewed provided new additional perspectives about what it takes to get hired at Amazon.”
Landing an internship with tech giant Amazon
The tips and tricks paid off — this summer, as she wraps up her first year as an international MBA student, Cruz will start her new role at Amazon as Senior Program Manager. “Amazon has always been my dream company not only because of the size of the company but for what it represents for the e-commerce industry and how it changes the way to do business,” she said. “I have always dreamed of working in large and international corporations; since then, my goal hasn’t changed. I am looking forward to seeing what is next.”
Asked how she managed to land the position, Cruz recalled how she prepared for the application process early on. She had the support of her school and received insightful advice from second-year MBA students who had previously interned at Amazon.
“As a Senior Program Manager at Amazon, I will work as an internal consultant designing and launching process and product improvements for diverse sets of business challenges that Amazon operates. I will mainly work to find solutions for complex problems within operations, supply chain, demand planning, and logistics, then innovate to manage programs broadly across businesses within Amazon.”
Advantages of being an international student
International students aren’t just there for diversity brownie points — huge companies like Amazon value them most for their ability to speak more than one language. In Cruz’s case especially, her ability to speak Spanish, English, and Portuguese already gives her an edge over other applicants.
Her choice to pursue higher education abroad made her an even more appealing candidate. Having to speak, read, and write in a language that’s not her mother tongue on a daily basis is a challenge, and Cruz enrolling in an American university shows how much she is willing to persevere.
Cruz’s advice to international students is to not give up: “Universities in the US have structured programs for international students and they provide good scholarships. Keep working towards it, focus on obtaining an excellent GMAT score, prepare a short list of MBA programs you want to apply for, explore the companies that recruit from those universities, and make sure to work hard on accomplishing each step. The hard work is always worth it. And once you arrive in the US, make job hunting a priority from day one. I am lucky that successful international student job placement is a priority at my school.”
Marcelo Barros is the founder of The International Advantage, a firm specializing in providing job-search training for international students who seek U.S. jobs. Barros partners with over 50 US universities to help their international students get noticed and hired. During summer of 2022, Barros partnered with the Benet Career Management Center at Simon Business School, University of Rochester. It was during The International Advantage Get Noticed Get Hired! Bootcamp for international MBA students that Barros met Laura Cansanção Cruz.
Next stops for The International Advantage include:
New York University – Nov. 14, 2022
University at Buffalo – School of Engineering and Applied Sciences – Nov. 16, 2022
International students who seek jobs or internships in the US are encouraged to follow Barros on LinkedIn