My Journey from Pharmaceuticals to Amazon

Shubham Jain (MEM ʼ20) reflects on his time in Northwestern's Master of Engineering Management (MEM) program and his new role in a leadership program at Amazon.

Shubham Jain (MEM '20) spent five years as a manager and senior executive at Lupin, a pharmaceutical company in India, before coming to Northwestern's Master of Engineering Management (MEM) program. He wanted to strengthen his business knowledge but also further develop his engineering expertise. MEM was a perfect fit. 

Jain describes MEM as a "technical MBA," and thanks to the lessons he learned in the program, he now is preparing to join Amazon's Pathways Operations Leadership Program. Jain will be expected to develop his leadership skills and gain a deep knowledge of the business through a series of progressively challenging assignments across Amazon's supply chain network.

“I am expected to be mobile and scale with the growth of the business, lead and develop large teams, solve problems with creative solutions, and deliver results on behalf of Amazon’s customers,” Jain said. 

Jain concentrated on managerial analytics while in MEM, and there were three classes in particular that helped him tremendously. Supply Chain, Operations Excellence, and Computer Simulation for Risk and Operations Analysis all piqued his interest in operations and the supply chain, both of which will be crucial in his upcoming role. In addition, Jain was able to leverage his experience at Lupin and apply the lessons learned in the classroom to better understand end-to-end supply chains and the use of simulation in real-world problems.

“The knowledge I gained through my managerial analytics courses will help me a lot in my role at Amazon,” Jain said. “My experience in operations was limited to batch manufacturing, shop-floor operations, and operational excellence. The courses familiarized me with all the facets of operations across various industries.”

Jain also learned valuable lessons outside of the classroom. He graduated in June 2020, just months after the world learned of COVID-19, and saw multiple internships fall through because of the pandemic. Rather than sulk, he used the unexpected time to reflect and think about his future. Up until that point, he wasn't sure if a career outside of the pharmaceutical industry was right for him, but with his degree completed and his newfound "technical MBA" knowledge, he decided to take a chance. That chance led to his new job with Amazon. He also worked on improving his time management and communication skills so he can work more effectively and collaborate better with others. 

Jain said he’d recommend the MEM program to others who were in his shoes, specifically international students looking to take the next step in their careers. Northwestern’s location near Chicago made it a terrific place to network. Students also work with a diverse set of classmates throughout their time in the program, and the connections forged in these interactions help students grow personally and professionally. 

“Working with people from various cultures helped me gain interesting perspectives," Jain said, "which will be very helpful in my new job.”

In addition, Jain said the MEM program is very student-friendly, providing ample opportunities for students to prioritize their career. MEM also helped Jain pursue off-campus internships, which helped him apply the lessons he learned in the classroom. 

“Some programs don't offer the option of working off-campus while pursuing their degree,” Jain said. “However, Northwestern's MEM program provides this option and helped me secure two very rich internship experiences while pursuing my degree.”

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