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Aztec Business Alum Brings Innovative Spirit to Amazon

Rajesh Kumar AdlaApproximately one month after graduating with a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from San Diego State University (SDSU), alumnus Rajesh Kumar Adla (’15) landed a coveted position in Amazon’s Leadership Development Program.

Joining other young Amazon leaders from the top business schools in the country, Rajesh will rotate through Amazon’s business functions, grooming his professional skills while delivering innovative solutions to each area’s most challenging business obstacles. Rajesh will have the opportunity to make decisions that directly impact Amazon’s long-term free cash flow as he acquires the credentials to one day join Amazon’s executive ranks.

The responsibility that comes with Amazon’s Leadership Development Program may intimidate some new graduates; but Rajesh has risen up to similar challenges before through the rigorous graduate curriculum at SDSU. Rajesh’s capstone project at SDSU, formally known as the MBA Consulting Program, partnered Rajesh and a team of his peers to create a website optimization strategy for a fast growing start-up company founded by another SDSU alum.

Rajesh enjoys working with start-up companies, and has even founded his own. While at SDSU, Rajesh had an opportunity to work with six different start-ups. Rajesh credits the entrepreneurial mindset and experience that were fostered at SDSU for helping him to land a highly competitive position at Amazon. Rajesh says that he studied many areas of business at SDSU, like operations and marketing, which apply principles relevant to Amazon.

While working as a senior project engineer in Bangalore, India, Rajesh decided that he needed to cultivate additional business and leadership skills in order to achieve a higher level of success in business and in management. Rajesh was attracted to SDSU because of the international reputation of its School of Business Administration with its emphasis on innovation and supporting start-up cultures. Two incubator programs at SDSU, The Lavin Entrepreneurship Center and the Zahn Innovation Platform Launchpad became the perfect outlet for Rajesh to explore his desire to help emerging new businesses. One of his favorite courses at SDSU, Seminar for Growing a Firm, was taught by the inspirational executive director of the Lavin Entrepreneurship Center, Dr. Alex DeNoble.

“Definitely, the professors are the strength of the college,” Rajesh emphasizes. “They were not just teachers, but mentors as well.” The international and diverse culture at SDSU helped to expand his perspectives. Rajesh was strongly influenced by professors like Dr. Kamal Haddad, professor of finance, and Dr. Amy Randel, professor of management, who supported him throughout his studies at SDSU. Not everyone follows the same path to success, but Rajesh’s path has its roots as an Aztec at San Diego State University. To his fellow Aztecs, Rajesh says, “Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Talk to people and learn from people.”