165 MBA graduates from India’s top 13 business schools will now undergo the Amazon Future Builders Program Incubator and get their first taste of working across Amazon’s diverse businesses. “It is often said that 'actions speak louder than words’ and ‘the leader of the industry is the one who takes the initiatives in the tough times’. The same has been proved once again with the effort put in by Amazon in starting my corporate journey. Right from the first day of being introduced to the firm’s culture and values, my respect for it continues to peak. It’s a wonderful feeling being part of the corporate house that is doing the best in serving people during the COVID-19 pandemic,” shares Deepak Kumar Giri from IIM Kozhikode, and part of the Amazon Future Builders' Program (AFBP) 2021.

For the uninitiated, Amazon Future Builders' Program (AFBP) is Amazon’s flagship leadership development program for MBA graduates in India. On May 31, 2021, Amazon welcomed the first cohort of this new program.

What is the AFBP Incubator

“AFBP Incubator provides them with an opportunity to learn how different functions and teams come together to serve customers in a collaborative manner”
Suman Yadav, Head of Student Programs, APAC

AFBP Incubator is an exclusive onborading programme for transforming MBA graduates into Amazonians through immersion sessions, classroom/case study based upskilling sessions, fireside chats with leaders, culture assimilation sessions and cohort building via social activities. Day one kicked off with a welcome from Suman Yadav, the APAC Student Programs Leader, and Raghava Rao, VP, India Consumer Finance, who shared an overview of the programme and the importance of Amazon’s Day 1 culture. Explains Suman Yadav, Head of Student Programs, APAC, “AFBP is designed to transform students into well-rounded business leaders who demonstrate the ability to think critically, solve complex business problems and are well assimilated into our peculiar culture which will enable them to build a long term career with Amazon. AFBP Incubator provides them with an opportunity to learn how different functions and teams come together to serve customers in a collaborative manner”.

Various fireside chats had leaders, such as Mamta Saraf (Director, Benchmarking), Nilay Bhowmik (Director, HR CS), Vinita Bhasin (GM, Operations) sharing insights on getting their hands dirty at Amazon. Akhil Saxena (VP, Customer Fulfillment, APAC, MENA, LATAM), Aparna Purohit (Head of India Originals, Prime Video) and Puneesh Kumar (Director, Alexa Devices and Experience, India) who shared insights on why Amazon is one of the best places to fail, and some of their favourite stories of working at Amazon. The day also involved a session with Swati Rustagi (Director, HR Operations) who shared her career journey, adapting to the work from home environment and outlined Amazon’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Excitement galore

“I understood how the Amazon Leadership Principles are embodied in day-to-day decision making activities in the organization through examples shared by leaders. Customer Obsession, Dive Deep, Insist on Highest Standards are just a few principles, which I can now relate to in a better way,” expressed Shambhavi Shinde, an MBA graduate from Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Ahmedabad.

Several other student participants also expressed their excitement of joining AFBP via social media, which featured posts of their proud work from home stations done up with Amazon goodies. They also appreciated their seamless virtual onboarding process. Manavdeep Singh Grover from IIM Lucknow took to LinkedIn to share this: “From Amazon Customer to Amazon Intern to Amazon ACE Winner to Amazon Employee. I've been completely Amazon'ed. Glad to be a part of the first AFBP Cohort at Amazon India as a Program Manager to work with a super talented team."

“The program will expose them to how Amazon innovates on behalf of customers, thinks long term and uses technology to conceive, design, launch and operate products and services that transform lives of millions of customers in India and the world. ”
Raghava Rao, VP, India Consumer Finance and AFBP Incubator Mentor

Cultural sessions through Week 1 of the Incubator saw students attending virtual sessions with Amazon’s business leadership. Over the remaining six weeks, AFBP participants will spend time understanding various businesses across Amazon, including the India Consumer Business (ICB), India Finance, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Customer Service, India Operations, and India Corporate Teams, among others.

The Innovation Challenge

After working on various deliverables during the Incubator, program incumbents will participate in the PR/FAQ Innovation Challenge in the last week. This will see young participants present their proposals to a panel of business leaders at Amazon. Thereafter, all participants will join their business swim lanes. In light of the current COVID-19 situation in India, Student Programs will execute a 100% virtual Incubator for seven weeks (with an additional week of physical immersion when it is safe and permissible).

Saying that AFBP is the ideal starting point for MBA graduates looking to become leaders of tomorrow, Raghava Rao, VP, India Consumer Finance and AFBP Incubator Mentor, adds, "The program will expose them to how Amazon innovates on behalf of customers, thinks long term and uses technology to conceive, design, launch and operate products and services that transform lives of millions of customers in India and the world. The program will help MBA graduates learn directly from Amazon’s senior leaders and fast track their own career into future leaders.”