From building product to building business, an MBA career move

By Liz Rosenberg

When Manasi Jagannatha began her first year as a student in the Evening & Weekend Berkeley Haas MBA program, she was working in engineering and product for Salesforce. "It was a lot of tech product development and very little business," she recalls. While she didn't solely view her MBA as an avenue to change industries, her first year at Haas exposed her to a whole new world —and she couldn't help but be interested in spreading her wings.

"At Salesforce I focused on how to build product from the ground up," she says. "I realized I wanted to work in a role that asks more questions about the product. 'Why should we build this product? How do we sell it to the customer? How do we get feedback? How do we generate value?' I knew I wanted to shift and work at the crossroads of tech and business so I could learn to build both a company and its products. I also wanted to lead partnerships, form important relationships, and drive enterprise."

Manasi began her career transition by leaning on Haas resources, from the alumni network to the Career Management Group. "I did multiple informational interviews with Haas Alums and hiring managers. They gave me a clear idea of all the roles that would be suitable for my next move. Then I found a job posting through the EWMBA alumni group for a role at Amazon, leading business development within web services."

Immediately interested, Manasi reached out to the hiring manager, a Haas alum. Even though the role required 5 or 6 more years of experience than Manasi had, her Haas connection opened the door for an initial interview. "Because this Haas alum thought I had the right attitude for the role, I got my foot in the door for the hiring process."  After 6 more rigorous interviews, Manasi was offered the position.

Today at Amazon, Manasi manages a portfolio of strategic Amazon Web Services (AWS) technology partners, leading them to help deliver on AWS’ strategy to drive enterprise adoption of the AWS cloud computing platform. Having made this switch while still in school, she is also finishing her last year in the Berkeley MBA Program.

"My responsibilities include: driving C-level and field relationships with partners and with the AWS sales field, guiding the development and launch of joint solutions in the public cloud space, and executing joint go-to-market plans globally. By establishing and growing business and technical relationships while managing the day-to-day partner interactions, I am responsible for driving top line revenue growth and overall market adoption."

In addition to the Haas resources that helped Manasi land her job, she says her MBA has also helped her to think more long term and to be more structured in the way she thinks about business. She's also become a stronger leader. "My Turnarounds class gave me the confidence to go and talk to a CTO or CMO, ask the right questions, and navigate unknown territories. "

Manasi's confidence is especially valuable to her in a role and an industry where she could understandably be viewed as newcomer. "People on my team are generally experts in their areas with 35 years of experience. I'm an outlier in that I come from the tech product side, and haven't taken a traditional path to get here. But I have to have the confidence to ask the right questions and know I have the skills to do business with important partners."

Her ability to build such strong professional relationships also reflects what she's learned about leadership. "I believe in the importance of building trust, and putting people first. This leadership style is one of the greatest value-adds for me from Haas."

While the Berkeley MBA curriculum, alumni network, and leadership focus have all served Manasi in her career at Amazon, she cites professional diversity as the biggest advantage of the Haas EWMBA. "You're surrounded by lawyers, doctors, and experts from every field, and they are all bar-raisers. We are working full-time jobs, raising kids, and bringing our A-game to Haas every weekend. I see my peers achieve career success and it inspires me to do better myself."  

See more reasons to choose the Berkeley MBA

Posted on March 9, 2018
Liz Rosenberg
Liz was Senior Associate Director of Admissions for the Full-time MBA Program at Berkeley Haas from 2018-2019. She holds an MBA from Boston University and came to Haas after gaining years of experience in retail for Gap and Gymboree, in financial services for Putnam Investments, as well as engaging in significant non-profit volunteer work. Prior to joining the Full-time Berkeley MBA Program, she spent 7 years in admissions for Berkeley MBA Programs for Working Professionals. She loves her work in admissions because of the connections she's able to develop with students, all of whom bring such amazing diversity of personal and professional experience to the program.