Amazon Web Services (AWS) Principal - Partner Strategic Initiatives
NYU Stern School of Business MBA, Marketing & Operations
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How did you get to where you are today? What is your story? What incidents and experiences shaped your career path?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Thu Jul 23 2020
I am, um, an engineer in computer sciences are hit by training. Initial training. I did mine. Gen ring in India and, uh, um, most part of the generation. You know, pre 2000 generation where if you had anything to do with computers, you would get shipped. Tow us from India. So I came in, did initially, Why took a related projects got involved in, ah, MRP packages from there went on to work on air P on the wholesale and retail industry, Um, on the supplies inside, mostly and ah ah. Then realized that I enjoyed the business side more than just the technology, and I was always keen on that. So I ended up going to business school in back climate and you first turn while I was working at Ferragamo and, um, post my graduation. From there, I jumped full time on the business side on supply chain strategy. Did a few projects there. I got involved in, uh, the OMNICHANNEL Initiative that not strong launch. It was one of the first early adopters off bringing boat online and brick and mortar stores together on and that's was my first exposure toe. Uh, get what would later. Later become system analysis or analytics or big data because we were commenting lots and lots of their doctor to analysis for the management. And while I was that not from got approach by, um, another gentleman was a graduate from University of Chicago and ex consultant was starting out the company in analytics. Avia, um, was very similar to what I was doing, but I always felt that somebody would pursue the idea would do much, much better, so didn't take much convincing. That was my first quarter into doing a startup, UH, which was a company called Mu Sigma had a great run. Their, you know, spent 10 years building the company from scratch. I was one the 1st 50 people to join and grew the company to about 2500 people. Ah, eso post that left to join Microsoft running an analytics and Insights team for Microsoft's our services business on did that for about two years, went back into doing my own, start up on the healthcare venal and let Excite this time didn't have that much off a luck. In two years, I realized the health care industry is quite a tough one. to crack and requires much longer am time and, ah, so came back to cooperate again. Joined Amazon in ah, different baby altogether. So this time doing more off the channel sales, working on the partner side off Amazon. So that's cut off. My, uh, I think a story in a nutshell. In terms off incidents and experiences that shaped my career, I think there were certain pivots, You know, that defined it. Um, I very much I think, my first choice. When I was taking my, um, doing the campus interviews, I had a job offer to join us a software engineer early on. But my first job I took was more on the business development or marketing aside on. I did that for first year and 1/2 2 years off my career. I thought that helped me a lot build confident confidence, developed my presentation skills. We've made the ability to put myself out there because I was quite an introvert. Azan engineer, Um, second favorite point that I could think off was going toe, you know, making the decision to go to business school, right? Suppose doing that education going to an value was a phenomenal experience. It just opened up my mind a lot of possibilities. I think it gave me a lot of confidence. And especially also working with the professor's, working with other peers from different industries, different backgrounds. It just opened up the open of my mind a lot, right and made me believe that anything's possible. And the third, uh, wait, I felt was, you know, taking the risk, leaving a cushy job, but not strong to do. Ah, start up right, drab. You know, there was a lot of one's identity around that time. This was 19,008 time when Boyd was crashing around us. So, um, that I think I was the third point where I jumped into a completely new area very different from the supply chain or retail industry that I was used to and jumping into this area called analytics, which help me shape as wellcurrently, I'm part of a partner strategic initiatives team at, um, eight of us just a outside off Amazon. And primarily, uh, you know, our team sits between the different services that Amazon Web services has to offer. It appears has to offer different services being more on the analytic side or Emily aside, or just compute side storage site eso we work. And with those, um, those Those services teams are stakeholders, and we work with them and leverage the partner network on the other side of partners Could be G s eyes like Accenture, Infosys. Um um, uh, pro are, you know, the highest squeeze our technology partners like that blow greater breaks quicksight. Uh, well excited our service anyways, so, you know, we work, we sit in between them and help the adoption and acceleration off the services, you know? So it's on one hand, we're helping the services get more direction with the partners. On the other hand, we're getting the partners become much more successful in terms off benefitting the end customers off off AWS and the partners itself And the worker. Yeah, I think your question on the workers. Well, it's, um and in the current ah working environment, I would say it's mostly it's thinking job. So there no fixed workers there fixed meeting ours per se, typically meetings to get scheduled between nine and four. Um and um, unless there's something because of the global rules, are less than the meeting with Isha. Are you know, in that case there might be a meeting early in the morning or late in the evening as well? But otherwise there's a lot of flexibility. You know, there's nobody who's holding a gun to your account that you have to be here from 9 to 5. So the workers are very, very flexible. It's your more measured based on the goals that you're given, and ah, you know how you're performing. Based on those calls

What tools (software programs, frameworks, models, algorithms, languages) are typically used in a role like yours?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Thu Jul 23 2020
well, current rollers more around business development for me. So not, I would say I'm not directly using the tools or software programs. But having said that, it is expected because AWS and Amazon is a very, um, deep dive organization. That's one of the leadership. And suppose so you have to be very familiar with, um, you know what you're talking about. So we, ah, you know, do end up leveraging the AWS services a lot. So since I'm mostly on the analytic side, you know, I'm expected to have familiarity with our debt, every house in Red Shift or R B I tools like quicksight pride of that. You know that Microsoft, where I was running an analytics and insights team again, the expectation was that you're familiar with the Microsoft SAT tools and technologies? Um, per se. But mostly since these air, I would say more for in a business development role, you end up using Microsoft Office a lot. Um, you are expected to do a lot of critical thinking. We do right lot off documents. I'm sure you might be aware off the Amazon culture. It's, you know, the inside of the slides. The we operate in terms of writing documents. So it's one pagers or six pictures, so we to end up writing a lot of documents to a lot of number crunching. So it is expected that you know your sequel toe, pull the data from other databases yourself and do, ah, the number crunching. Either I mostly use excel or, if I have to create dashboard, end up creating that in quicksight, which is our tableau.

What are the challenges in a job like yours? What approaches are effective in dealing with these challenges? Discussing examples will help students learn better.

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Thu Jul 23 2020
in terms off challenges. Rohit, I would say this is very much in, um, influential because you're working with the partner network. That's you know, they that and they're not necessarily exclusively tied to AWS, right? So there's our father count service providers that they work with. Ah, And essentially, we partner with them and we have toe make sure that they understand the value proposition that we bring to the table and why, you know, our services are how they're differentiated from other services that out there so very much using more off influence rather than control and hitting the targets. Um uh, that are given to you, That's I would say is one good challenge on the 2nd 1 is the rule tends to be quite abstract. All right, So, um, at this level, nobody's coming here and telling you these other things are these are the steps that you have to take toe get to point B. Right? So you're just told you have to get there, and you have to figure out and be innovative. You have toe. Ah, you know, essentially, as you're going along the way, create those mechanisms, uh, that there gonna be repeatable enough and will help you Ah, scale in your day to their job. And also leader drill for others to follow ous Well, right, So it's Ah, I think those are the couple off things on top of my head that I can think off e.

What are the job titles of people who someone in your role routinely works with, within and outside of the organization? What approaches are effective in working with them?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Thu Jul 23 2020
inside off AWS. It's mostly dealing with my peers. Were senior managers are directors VP level people, Um, and outside it would be working similarly with the ah, vice presidents or CEOs or head off analytics. Uh uh, you know, across the partner network that we routinely engaged with, um in terms off approaches that are effective. Ah, ah, ah. On working with them, I would say yes. I think you do need, um um you do need a lot of humility you because there's lots to learn out there from from these people within Amazon as well as outside as you are working with them, it's it's amazed by the kind of background and experiences that people bring to the table, and there's so much to learn from them. So you have to have. And if you have to learn, you have to bring in a healthy balance off humility. All right, And and, uh, the executive presence a swell right. So it's ah, good combination off to, um, second, Ah is you know, your ability to say I don't know, right? So most of the time we have this tendency to give an answer, even if you don't know something. And, you know, essentially, that's looked down upon right when you're working with the executives on saying something when you're not even sure whether that's right or wrong. So it's OK to say, I don't know. And, uh, but I will get back to you on that, right? So just some of these simple, um things working with, especially with the senior leaders I've seen, was a long way. Um, last. Ah, but, um, I think I would also like to add. Here is his empathy. Uh, here, right. That's, you know, putting yourself in the shoes off. You know what that other person is trying to achieve? So, you know, for me, it's in the current role, as I'm working with the partners have been fortunate that I have, you know, managed similar business, Aziz. Those partners are and kind of the challenges that they're facing and what expectations they would have from from a company like aws. All right. Helps me believe what? How I can provide value to them, right? And in terms off the work or the activities that I'm doing. Um, I think these two approaches help me

How would you describe your management style? How has it evolved over the years? Can you tell about experiences or books that influenced your management style?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Thu Jul 23 2020
we are Definitely. I think I recorded my first people management job as a project lead where I had a very autocratic, dictatorial army, kind of a style purely based on control. And, um, as as I have majority over years and evolved, I think it's shifted more toe. Um, to understand, our become aware off myself first, my limitations first. And based on that, um, you know, I understand that the good ideas can come from anywhere, right? So I think I've become better listener and, um, over years and started to use more influence rather than control. All right. And taking influence takes time. Building influence on people takes time, right? So it's, um, generally, if you're interested in other people and you're bringing value to them. That's kind of like when they when you world, some kind of insurance on them. So that so I think things have built up and, um not saying I'm perfect yet that's ah continues to keep on, keeps on getting better. And having to teenagers at home on dealing with them also helps the cause

How do you manage conflicts within and across teams? How do you promote trust, openness and a healthy work culture? Sharing stories will greatly help.

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Thu Jul 23 2020
managing conflict is both an art and a science. Uh, there's no one way to do it. It's so such a situational thing. Um, that it's, um and it's It's a similar approach, Um, that you have in your personal as well as in your professional life, right? That's, um, something I learned from one of the executive coaches I've worked with earlier. It's a, you know, a concept off honest support, uh, which is if you're to honest, right, And that's all you focus on. Then you're doing that this service. And if you're too supportive, Uh, right then also, you're doing a disservice working with, um um, you know, with the people s so it's you have to have ah, right, balance off, put on ste and support on. And that's the approach I take in terms off again, managing the conflict. So it's You have to just remember or keep on reminding yourself. It's not about being right, but it's about finding the right thing. Um, and as long as you keep that as your anchor, um, you know that that serves the purpose terms off establishing dressed openness and and you know, of course, the healthy work environment follows on that. Um um, quite a not. Not an easy task. Right? So it z you can, you know, um, dressed, if you think off it is is something that's built on two things, right are based on that Stephen Covey's book. It's the character and ah, competence, right. What you printed table. That's That's how you establish yourself. So using ah combination of both, I think it's Ah, um helps. And the dress second thing is, with regards to trust, it's the vulnerability element. I think what I have seen is if I'm keeping my cards close to my chest, I can never build trust if I'm vulnerable with the other person that immediately 90 99% of the people respond positively on and, you know, open up video, right? So it's essentially being believable with them, you know, sharing things with them, and, uh um, the behavior you expect from them, the more you show it, I think they're reciprocated. Well, um, to now terms off ah, stories that I can specifically think off. It's, um um I can relate to ah, one of the experiences, as we were working with while I was at Microsoft I was brought into essentially, we're digital transformation off the analytics and Insights team. Um and, um, it was essentially the idea was here. We're just generating your reports, and we need to modernize and get moved to new dashboards that are really time and things like that, right? We're doing predictive modeling. Um, as soon as I ah, started working with the team, I I realized that something that I was kind of like the third leader that they had in the last two or three years. Um, if he must exhausted because the amount of work that they were dealing with was, ah, you know, quiet. Quite a large. There was no intake mechanisms that were established, and we were just, ah, quality was suffering, weren't got to pull backs. Um, we're going on a swell in number, budgets and other things. So, you know, the first thing I had to do was just, you know, established I'm listening, test with those guys and hear what they hadn't, right. That's kind of rather than just listening to my stakeholders and going in, um, establishing saying and coming with a high hand on saying this is what they're expecting. That's how through the things they're friendly. So more off, I think initial, um, approach took was established. More of these hearing forums with the team on and going back in the management and say, I'm sorry, but we're gonna even take less work than what we're taking right now for the short term, right? And ah, uh, just created more of the intake mechanisms the team needed lot off training on technology is newer technologies that out there encouraging them toe go and learn new things are had them. They were not interested in doing the new things. Helped them find a different role within the organization. So doing some of those very, very basic things right and establishing the two way conversation with them help. I'll go a long way.

How can one get better recognition of work from one's boss and higher management? What mistakes should one avoid? Stories or examples will be quite helpful.

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Thu Jul 23 2020
I think it's it's, um, again, there has to be a healthy balance. You have to you have to do your results, All right. It's I mean, if you want to notice that goes without saying that you have to deliver results if you want to be recognized for something that has to be something that giving recognize for right. And But I think as what I also find is that sometimes people are delivering results, but they're not confident enough on, you know, blowing their own horn about what they have delivered right. The organizations, especially large enterprises, cooperates. Are you work in a highly matrix environment? It's hard for somebody higher up to know exactly what your contribution to something was. So for you. I think if you're a few hearty, if you have already established and actually done some good work, making sure that you're making others aware off that and that's where I feel you know, kind of like the um selling component comes in, you have to go and sell yourself or in an organization. Also, which is Karen fight enough It present. It was more off when security vision coming right after engendering to go and do sale for year and 1/2 2 years. But that helped me a lot, always to go and make sure that I'm selling myself in an organization to on, and it's not just I'm doing the work and going home.

What qualities do you look for while hiring? What kind of questions do you typically ask from candidates?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Thu Jul 23 2020
um, neither approach also has evolved, you know, from over a year on, and I realized the Amazon has a very different way. I'm sure you know, it's a public knowledge about Amazon's ah leadership principles. So the, um, for me to even though I had done, I was a senior director at Microsoft. I have, you know, but senior VP at Mu Sigma. But when I came into Amazon before I could go and actually interview somebody by myself, I had to take training. I had to essentially, after taking the training, had to shadow Ah, you know, others who have been doing this job. So I had to do five interviews. Uh, before I could do when you know you interviewed by myself, right? So I think I'm doing what I'm realizing is the approach that Amazon has in turn off interviewing people and based on the leadership principles and asking the Behavioral Co. Can you work that leads to write their people come into the organization from Tarim, Yemen. It's been less than a year for me. Now it I'm a zone, but I can see why, um why this company is doing so well. And, um you know very much. I think the approach off, uh, you know, asking the behavioral questions to understand their experiences, diving deep to make sure that you know, they understand what they're talking about. And in double if attitude. The first the thing that I look for the most is, you know, are they Do they have the learning mindset? All right, Uh, are you know, it's it's the way changes happening in the world around us today. Your and your things keep coming almost every month rather than every year. Now, you know, it's you can't just learn one thing and get stuck with it. I think the learning mindset is the most important skill that anybody can have in the curiosity to say. Okay, you know what else is out there toe and the humility to say All right, I don't know everything all right, but I can figure it out. That's I think, the most important element I look for when I go in hard for people

Can you discuss career accomplishment(s) that you feel good about? Please discuss the problem context, your solution, and the impact you made.

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Thu Jul 23 2020
I think I feel most proud of work I did in terms of building the company, which was music MMA, Um, you know, because that again I look for things which are quite abstract, that that's there's nothing out there and have created something. And I've added value, right? So if I think from that perspective, I was one of the first guys who, um, join you, Sigmund, the West Coast kind off, I think there were only two accounts we had back then, and Microsoft was one of the major accounts, which was doing less than $1,000,000 off business back then. So I, you know, grew that to almost $25 million. Ah, and we'll recurring account for the company. And while doing that, I also, um, bid the business invest course. Bringing in other clients like Nike or Starbucks or Cisco are Caesar's kind of building the portfolio, so it's essentially one by one, helping on build those accounts. But the thing that I'm proud of war stuff was that I had, uh, shape careers off a career off many other people who were working with me and have them become leaders, and they're all doing you know great things, right? So it's I have ah, person. The front, the first persons that are brought in here right now is doing very well. He's a heads analytics for ah, very good startup called Squiggy, which is a delivery based startup in India. There's another person that I, you know, again, uh, hired and groom whose principal leg Zs Associates almost at the partner level, you know, running their non farm outside of business. So many off those those people that have worked with, you know are doing doing well because they, you know, we were all facing those challenges. We didn't know what again. There was no, uh, specific formula are things that were given to us. We had to make out things as we went along. And ah, I think that that essentially led to a lot of ah confidence and eventually ability to say All right, you know, I can take up something abstract and make something out off it. Um, so those specifically I think if I have to answer your question in context of what I'm most proud of, I think it's I'm most proud of creating those leaders. Ah, in the industry

What responsibilities and decisions did you handle at work? What were the challenges? What strategies were effective in dealing with these challenges?

Based on experience at: Sr. Director - Head of Services Analytics & Insights, Microsoft
Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Thu Jul 23 2020
So, um, essentially this this rule and more diverse supporting the enterprise services and support business off Microsoft. So think off everything that's non product side of Microsoft. So they're consulting services unit, their support unit, their consumer services and supports of your exports breaks down and you call up Microsoft, you know, contact center, that topics of the work. So I was supporting the analytics and insights for that, uh, bottom Microsoft. Right? So it's in terms off our decisions again. I think we have to, um, a case that was, quite, ah, responsible for making sure that the leaders had the right insights and, uh, there it was. Back then, it was close to about 6.5 $7 billion business for Microsoft again, not big in Geldof other product lines that Microsoft test. But nevertheless, you know one thing. That's what they're used to say, that the product don't can convert themselves to solutions reckoned right. So you need services component to convert products to solutions, which is what our customers need. So having said that, it's making sure that we're supporting the leaders with the right set off KP eyes with the right set off dashboards to run the day to day business from operational perspective and then from long term planning perspective, right, it's ah, and doing those. You know, long term, I would say that analytics projects beat related to forecasting Arbeit related toe. You know how the, uh, you know how much our recruitment off certain skills said should be done In what regions? Uh, you know, it's it's all those decisions were based on data that our team would crunch, right? So And the challenges were quite, um, you know, same set of challenges. I guess you your resource is our limited. The expectations are quite high. So the biggest thing was here You're here supporting a wide large a set of leaders with, uh, you know, a limited set of budget, which always the expectation is that your automating things and you're driving that number down year over year. So, um, we The biggest thing was establishing a governance mechanism. So we can 95 which things were privatized and in alignment with what leadership really wanted, as opposed to doing everything that was coming away, all right, because anybody could create a ticket and say, Hey, I want this. I want the state I want to take up based on whatever idea that they're having. So, you know, I think one of the big challenges was again rationalizing that book stream and sing. We're only going to take up things that are delivering to the business priorities that defined early in the year and again communicating back and giving feedback to the business that had these other things that are coming over. This is the value that we are creating and these other things that were not declining not to do because this is not a or two year line down in the beginning off here. So establishing a basic governance mechanism was one of the big challenges. Uh, here. So it's something that they served. Well, um, uh, I would say

How did the school prepare you for your career? Think about faculty, resources, alumni, exposure & networking. What were the best parts in each of your college programs?

Based on experience at: MBA, Marketing & Operations, NYU Stern School of Business
Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Thu Jul 23 2020
I think Education, as I think. I, uh, got mentioned this earlier. Also during our discussion. Um Ah. See, I came from a background where, um, you know, the education that was the way it was delivered to us in India was very different from how it's delivered here. Right. So we were more rain to come up to the answers. And here education was all about developing the ability to come up with the right questions and develop your critical thinking abilities. Right. So it's ah, um, the first time, um, you know, I still remember this was one of my early semester classes, core core classes. I think it was economics or marketing 11 or something like that, where somebody in the class told the professor that you're wrong and coming from an India background for me, it was like, All right, this guy's gonna get f grade. All right on the book. Never like him. Tell me more, Right? So And he was curious. And then he said, Yes, I agree with you. I was wrong. And that was kind of like a mind blowing thing for me. Right on saying All right, You know what This is something that can only happen here. And as the years progressed right and we worked with the professor's, we just realized hits its It opened up the mindset a lot in terms of saying bi curious, be questioned things, right? That's It's I think that that helped me, Um ah. Long way in terms off, um, in terms off. You know, putting myself out there, get the education. Also gave me the confidence to ask those questions. Right. Are many times you have those questions in your head, but you're not, uh, willing to take the risk of and don't put yourself out there. You don't want to ask those questions, right? I think it gave me the confidence to ask those questions. Um, besides that, I think it ah, in terms off networking. Yes, that was Ah, I think, um, that still helps me debate. I still read out to, uh oh. I'm in touch with it from from the school, including the faculty. Um, you know, I was not moved to West Coast. I don't use the resource. Is that, um Sterne had to offer as much. Um, but having said that, it's still very much in touch with a few of the professors that I walked with. Still experiment with warm, um, the best parts for me, I would say, coming from an engineering background again, just some of the core classes toe understand? You know, basic self accounting and basics off finance was was quite helpful. All right, That's still especially when you're working in large organizations. Didn't have to come up with the our eye off your programs, right. And any time you're writing a report, you have to do a lot of data crunching and creator open a certain former, you know, going in that level of detail. I think, uh, why don't m b A programs help you there much better in terms of that?

What three life lessons have you learned over your career? Please discuss the stories behind these lessons, if possible. Stories could be yours or observed.

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Thu Jul 23 2020
I would say 1st 1 is, then there's no substitute for hard book. Um um, 2nd 1 is learning over knowing, um and 3rd 1 is, um, you know, the right balance off, Um, humility versus, You know, I can do anything.

What starting job (after internship) would you recommend to students who hope to grow professionally like you? What other parting advice, dos, and don'ts would you give?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Thu Jul 23 2020
Yeah, I think I I say that to everybody, and you probably know that I say start to the sales Europe writerly O are in a customer facing job doesn't have to be sales, but as long as in your customer facing job, because all jobs, we have a very healthy component off people element. Even if you want to be a software engineer, good programmer. You cannot avoid people because you have to go and sell yourself in an organization. You have to sell your ideas in an organization. So start to the customer facing our sales job. I think that helps you go a long way. You can always come back, developed the heart skills nothing you know, don't do the hard skills your But I'm saying start there and then, you know, uh, do that. Or if in fact, if there are ways you can come up with the mechanisms you can come up with off maintaining a healthy balance of port than absolutely, um, in terms off uh, parting advice, I would say on booze and owns, um, I think 11 element that I have seen not people don't focus on a lot these days. is loyalty. Ah, you know, whether it's a loyalty toe, an organization or loyalty to your manager. Ah, think that that ally could work culture, even, right? When you join a company, every company has a very unique culture. Microsoft, for example, is so different from AWS and no companies, right or wrong, right? It's just their culture. And you have to have a loyalty to their culture. And if you don't feel that loyalty, then you better. You're better off finding place somewhere else, right? So it's Ah, but something I, uh I highly advice. Ah, and ah, um yeah, I think that's That's it. That's it.