• anupamaskashyap

How I Became a Product Manager at Amazon after Duke Fuqua MBA

Updated: May 5

Duke Fuqua is one of the best business schools in the US, often known for its tight-knit community and the Team Fuqua spirit.


Ranked among the top 20 B-Schools consistently by the Financial Times, Fuqua is a highly competitive school, especially for Indian candidates. To learn more about the program and how it can impact one's career, we caught up with Astha Bhatnagar, who completed her MBA from Duke Fuqua in 2019 and is currently working as a Senior Product Manager at Amazon in the US.


Here's her story, in her own words!

Pre-MBA


I did my under-graduation at IIT-BHU and I was working at BCG before commencing my MBA. While I enjoyed learning about hardware development during my college days, I was always interested to learn more about business. As a result, I ended up recruiting for consulting roles.


Why MBA?


While I worked closely in tandem with the strategy consulting teams, my roles were more analytics-centric and I realized soon that transitioning to strategy will not be easy without a business degree. Other than that, I kind of always knew that I wanted to do an MBA! I enjoyed managing and organizing events, reading about different startups and was always surrounded by people wanting to build their own businesses. Somewhere, I was highly drawn towards an MBA due to these personal experiences. So, for me, this was pretty much always the plan.


The application process


Coming to the entire application process and how I went about it, I started with giving the GMAT first. It’s important to understand that the GMAT is a conceptual exam and repetitive practice might just give diminishing returns. Hence, I focused more on how I’m studying rather than the number of questions I’m practicing.


The second important aspect for me was to decide which schools I want to apply to. I think this is very important and it’s something that candidates should give due thought to! As for me, I had certain criteria such as, location, the culture of the school, the placements and my overall profile fit with the school.


I was conscious even about stuff like the weather in different American cities (believe it or not, it is a serious consideration for many) and the culture at different b-schools. Like, Fuqua is all about collaboration, community and leadership and say, if you’re an introvert, you might take some time in opening up and really belonging where you go. So, yes, it is as personal as it gets!


I applied to five schools and Fuqua was one of my top