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Amazon leader credits Atkinson’s PACE program as key to his success

by Shelly Strom,

When your Amazon item arrives but you need to return it, the process is almost as seamless as making the purchase. And once your item is dropped at the nearest Amazon returns location, waiting for the refund is all that’s left. Little thought or effort is required of customers.

However, what goes on behind the scenes to make that all possible for one of the world’s largest retailers is monumental. And something Matt Millar, BA'13, MBA'14, contemplates regularly as one of Amazon’s senior product managers for Worldwide Returns, Recommerce & Sustainability. 

Matt Millar
Matt Millar, BA'13, MBA'14

Millar plays a key role in leading digital solutions for returned items while minimizing the stream of returned items that get sent to landfills. “When returned products cannot be sold as new, we try to find ways to extend their life and help businesses recover some value on them. Sometimes it means getting product to consumers who may not have access to it as new items,” Millar said. 

“Prioritizing and having a handle on time management while switching gears for different projects are some of the most important aspects in my job,” Millar said, “and no one is guiding you through it.” Millar’s focus is wholesale liquidations.

In graduate school, Millar focused on corporate financing and investing. However, he said thanks to “a well rounded education from Atkinson Graduate School of Management, I became good at a lot of things and going into my career, I didn’t have to pigeonhole myself.”

Millar points to Atkinson’s Practical Application for Careers and Enterprise as an invaluable experience. “I am a big fan of PACE because you are teamed with people who you may not otherwise partner with, just like in a corporate setting. You spend two semesters with them, learning how to interact and really work with people while you consult with businesses, mostly nonprofits,” he said. 

“It was a big cornerstone experience and set me on the right track,” said Millar, who played football while obtaining his MBA and writing his senior thesis in completing his bachelor degree.

Recently, Millar gave a presentation for hundreds of Amazon Selling Partners. “I was excited at the opportunity and drew confidence directly from my experience at Atkinson in preparing for a big event like this.”

“It felt like a ‘game day’ in the corporate world. And I had a lot of fun doing it because we’d done it as part of our PACE work,” Millar said.

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