How Amazon got the man with the Griffith MBA
Completing an MBA at Griffith University proved a springboard to the United States and an exciting career opening with Amazon.com for Elliott Nash.
A combination of university degrees and in-depth industry experience brought his profile to the attention of recruiters when the online retail giant went looking for a suitable candidate to take up a technical program manager position in Seattle.
“Due to my hands-on technical background I was referring to myself as a technical project manager on LinkedIn,” Elliott explains. “As it turns out, Amazon was scouring the globe for people with exactly that niche skill set.
“I first received an email on LinkedIn from an Amazon technical recruiter who asked if I would be interested in interviewing for a role in Seattle. I nearly deleted the email thinking it was spam.”
He didn’t hit delete and the rest, as they say, is history. Within a matter of months Elliott and family had packed up their Gold Coast lives to embrace a new start in the US state of Washington. His postgraduate qualification even played a key part in securing the E3 Visa which completed the official migration formalities.
“The whole process was managed by Amazon’s attorneys and they based my case for a US Visa purely on the back of my MBA qualification.”
Elliott’s MBA degree has been repaying his investment since the decision to return to study in 2010.
“It has opened my eyes to the limitless possibilities that are out there,” he says. “I use the knowledge gained through my MBA on a daily basis, both at work and in my personal life.”
Elliott Nash (32) initially graduated with a multimedia degree from Griffith in 2004 and soon accepted a programmer analyst role with a Gold Coast tourism operator with a focus on online domestic tourism. He gained a strong understanding of the eCommerce industry and how to drive business growth through online mediums.
But while developing this solid technical knowledge base, he became increasingly aware of how important it was to know and understand the core business of his employer. “Competitive strategy has always interested me and I’m fascinated by the endless possibilities that arise when you combine core technical competencies with a solid business strategy.
“When it comes to innovation and the internet, you are only limited by your own mind—anything you can think of is possible. I saw an opportunity to work myself into a valuable niche. With a unique mix of technical and business skills I could effectively bridge the gap that so often exists in organisations.”
The ability to study part time and after hours drew Elliott to the Griffith MBA as he sought to develop his business and management skills. He had progressed to the role of IT manager at his place of work, now reporting to the CEO and responsible for the firm’s IT strategies.
Towards the end of his MBA studies, Elliott changed jobs to begin working as a technical consultant for Queensland Health to deliver the IT and biomedical environments for the new Gold Coast University Hospital (GCUH).
This dovetailed effectively with a management consulting course he was taking under Dr Alan Blackman and proved extremely valuable at the time. Equally valuable were subsequent project manager roles with the Gold Coast Hospital and Health Service and Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital in Brisbane which honed his experience and shaped his professional profile into exactly what Amazon.com was searching for.
“The MBA at Griffith provided me with the opportunity to network and connect with other like-minded individuals. It broadened my horizon and outlook on the global business community. I was able to gain insights into corporate strategy and globalisation topics which literally opened up a world of possibilities.
“I am a true believer in lifelong learning and my MBA greatly accelerated my business management maturity. It was not just an educational journey but was also an enjoyable experience overall.”
This world of possibilities has taken him to Seattle where he now leads Amazon’s Financial Ledger and Accounting Systems team. In this role he collaborates with financial business partners and technical teams around the world. As technical program manager he manages multiple technical teams and regularly makes decisions on technical procedures that drive the continuous improvement of Amazon’s software development life cycle.
“With the MBA I am better prepared to handle different work and life situations. It now guides my decision-making process,” he says.
“A broad understanding of how to effectively manage a business has enhanced my value-add as an individual contributor and as a manager.
“I actively utilise the corporate accounting and financial knowledge I gained to inform many complex decisions, not only in my work life but also in my personal investment strategies.”
Like all MBAs, the Griffith MBA explores all the business disciplines you would expect—accounting and reporting, economics, finance, people management, marketing, strategy and innovation. However, what makes the Griffith MBA different is that it’s built on core values that are crucial to modern business: sustainable business practices; responsible leadership; and global orientation—particularly, the potential impacts of the Asian century.
The Griffith MBA was rated in Australia’s top 10 in the 2013 Financial Review BOSS Magazine as part of its MBA alumni survey conducted every two years.
Griffith’s sustainability commitment was recognised with a Green Gown Award in the Learning and Teaching category as part of the 2013 Green Gown Awards Australasia.
Alongside these accolades, they the highest-ranking MBA in Australia, and number 26 in the world, in the Aspen Institute’s most recent Beyond Grey Pinstripes Global Top 100.
Program: Master of Business Administration
Location: Southbank Campus, Brisbane, Queensland
Semester intakes: February and July
Duration: 1 – 1.5 years