Alumni profile: Andrew Petschek, A.B. ’12, S.M. ’16

Wednesday, July 19, 2017 - 6:00am

At Amazon Marketing Services, Andrew Petschek, A.B. ’12, S.M. ’16, is part of a team that offers advertising solutions to help Amazon vendors reach new customers and drive sales at Amazon.com. Petschek, who serves as Senior Marketing Program Manager, oversees the development of tools and analytics that support Amazon’s internal marketing teams, which include elements like automation and prediction modeling using historical datasets.

Petschek, who pursued an applied mathematics concentration at Harvard, felt drawn toward a quantitative career field because of the opportunity to tackle compelling challenges with real-world implications. After working in advertising strategy at Microsoft for a few years after graduation, he returned to the John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) to pursue a master’s degree in Computational Science and Engineering (CSE) at the Institute for Applied Computational Science (IACS). He sought to learn more advanced computational and mathematical approaches that would help him solve some of the complex challenges faced by data-driven marketing teams.

The CSE program was hugely beneficial, he said, because the flexible curriculum could be applied to a wide range of mathematical quandaries, and the project-focused courses offered students real-world experience using computational techniques to work through real business challenges. He finds constant applications for those lessons in his work at Amazon.

“What I enjoy the most about working at Amazon is that the company consistently encourages innovation and invention. We are all trying to uncover new insights and given a great deal of autonomy to drive the impact of our work,” he said. “My advice to current students is to explore as many opportunities as possible and don’t be afraid to pivot professionally if you find the right opportunity. It is so important to work on something you are passionate about. Take a chance to try and solve the problems you find most exciting.”