Navigating the triple jump to tech industry

4 minute read

For many MBA graduates, the 'triple jump' – changing job location, industry, and function simultaneously – presents an exciting yet daunting challenge.

It's a feat that would typically seem near impossible, requiring candidates to prove their abilities on three unfamiliar fronts: demonstrating that you not only have the technical skills for your new function, but that you also understand the complexities of your new industry and geography.

Before embarking on my MBA journey at Oxford, I had spent nearly six years in a leading tobacco company in Istanbul in the nexus of strategy and marketing roles. However, I knew that I wanted to have a profound change in my career – to transition into the dynamic world of consumer tech or fintech, ideally in a strategy or growth-focused role within the UK.

During the first three months of my MBA program, a golden opportunity emerged – a job offer from Amazon UK for their coveted Pathways Leadership Program, designed to cultivate high-potential leaders poised to excel as General Managers and Directors. Seizing this chance, I joined Amazon as a Pathways Operations Manager in September 2022, leading a team of 65 professionals and improving efficiency of the operations processes while executing initiatives in supply chain and logistics. 

Within ten months, I successfully transitioned into a corporate role as a Senior Program Manager at Amazon's London office, leading efforts to boost the adoption and growth of pickup locations in the UK and European markets.

Here's how I accomplished this feat through five key steps:

1.    Focused mindset

Before embarking on your MBA, it's crucial to establish clear goals, especially if you're pursuing a one-year program like Oxford's. While some of your objectives may evolve during the course, laser-focus is essential when attempting the 'triple jump.' Determine your priorities, research tech interview timelines, and identify the skills required to excel in your desired role.


2.    Extensive preparation

Brace yourself – companies won't be lining up to hire you solely based on your MBA degree. You'll be competing against the world's best candidates, including those with direct experience in your target location, industry, or function. To succeed, you must be exponentially better prepared than your competitors.

Immerse yourself in research about your desired location, industry, and role. Complement online resources with first-hand insights from industry professionals. I spoke with over 40 individuals, gaining invaluable perspectives that helped refine my goals. Remember, networking is crucial – engage with your personal and professional circles, leverage platforms like LinkedIn.

Generally, people are super helpful. However, don’t just send a connection request and start asking hundreds of questions. Just keep in your mind that those people have also hectic calendars and try to help you out. Take the time to find out who you’re talking and ask only important questions rather than asking some questions that you can find the answers on the internet easily. And don’t forget to express gratitude for the time and wisdom shared.

3.    Crafting a diverse skill set and experience

The MBA journey isn't just about earning a degree; it's an immersive experience to hone the skills essential for your desired career pivot. Strategically select courses and extracurricular activities that align with your target role's requirements. For instance, to prepare for a program or product management role in tech, I focused on strategic management, communication, data analysis, and coding languages like SQL and Python.

Furthermore, seize opportunities for hands-on experience through internships or projects. I had a chance to find an internship at Amazon Web Services with the Saïd Business School's support, focusing on Web3 strategy, provided invaluable insights into the company culture, fostered connections, and bolstered my industry knowledge.

4.    Leveraging career services

The Oxford MBA Career Development Team is invaluable resource for navigating the 'triple jump.' Don't wait until the last two months to engage with them; partner with these professionals early on to develop a robust strategy for your desired transition. Their expertise and guidance can be instrumental in addressing the unique challenges you'll face. There are many resources in the school that you can leverage and use to advance your job search and connect with people.

5.    Perseverance and adaptability

The 'triple jump' is undoubtedly one of the most formidable challenges an MBA graduate can undertake. Setbacks and rejections are inevitable, but maintaining perseverance and a growth mindset is crucial. Continuously refine your approach, seek feedback, and adapt your strategy as needed. Celebrate small wins along the way, and never lose sight of your goal.

The 'triple jump' is a test of determination, resilience, and strategic planning. By embracing a focused mindset, extensive preparation, diverse skill development, and strategic leverage of career services, you can position yourself for success in this audacious endeavor. 

Remember, the reward – a fulfilling career aligned with your passions and aspirations – is well worth the effort.

Oxford MBA