senior finance manager, Amazon Books, Amazon, Inc.
What I’ve always loved is that I get to have a holistic view. I’m looking across the entire business to understand what should the strategy be, where should we be investing for our next test, what are we learning.
As the senior finance manager at Amazon Books, the company’s growing business of brick-and-mortar bookstores, it’s no surprise that Lindsey Drake T’11 is an analytic thinker. She loves uncovering what the data is saying about a particular problem, and then using that data to influence stakeholders to make the right decisions.
What is surprising is that, from the moment she joined Amazon in 2013, Drake had the ability to make those strategic recommendations—and actually be listened to. She visited Tuck recently to tell students that a finance career at Amazon is fun and fulfilling, and that it’s a viable career path for them too.
Tell us a little about your business experience.
I started my career in the public sector. I worked for the EPA and the Millennium Challenge Corporation, an international development agency. The common thread in those jobs was finance, so when I came to Tuck I spent a lot of time thinking about whether I was going to go back to the public sector or try the private sector. Dean Slaughter was my GEM [Global Economics for Managers] professor and I was one of his TAs, so I spent a lot of time talking to him about this decision I was trying to make. I delayed my decision by interning at a Mongolian investment bank, which I could sell to either sector. In the end, I decided that if I was ever going to try the private sector, now is the moment. I received an offer from Intel in their finance leadership development program. I joined Amazon four years ago to be part of a faster-paced, entrepreneurial organization.
Describe your role at Amazon Books.
Right now I lead our finance team for all of our physical bookstores. Our first bookstore opened in November 2015. There are now 11 stores, and there will be 13 by the end of 2017. It shows you the scale of Amazon and how quickly things change. My team supports all aspects of the business from a finance perspective, including real estate, construction and design, operations, category support, marketing, as well as store management, not to mention the traditional financial planning and analysis. I describe it as being the CFO of this business. What I’ve always loved is that I get to have a holistic view of the business. Real estate is focused on site selection. Construction and design is focused on build out. Store management is focused on our associates. And we’re all focused on delivering a great experience to our customers! I’m looking across the entire business to understand what should the strategy be, where should we be investing for our next test, what are we learning. It’s really fun.
How has Tuck helped you prepare for this job?
Tuck is very focused on the general management viewpoint so you can understand all aspects of the business. That has given me a significant edge over my finance peers, because I too have that holistic view. I learned the fundamentals of every part of the business, which has helped me be a more effective business partner and see around corners beyond just what the numbers are telling us. The other thing Tuck gave me was confidence. Being here with incredibly smart people and climbing that very steep ramp, gave me the confidence that I would be successful at whatever company I was going to. For me, that was a huge change. Tuck gave me the skills, but also the confidence to use them.
Closing the Financing Gap for Local Businesses: Meet Honeycomb Cofounder George Cook T’17
Honeycomb Credit works specifically with small businesses and allows consumers, nonprofits, and other organizations to loan small amounts of cash to a particular venture.Read More
At BCG, A Small-Team Approach: Meet Cristina Henrik T’08
A conversation with Cristina Henrik T’08, managing director and partner at the Boston Consulting Group, on how private equity has evolved and what has stuck with her since her Tuck days.Read More
Leading with Purpose: Bank of America CFO Alastair Borthwick T’93
Alastair Borthwick T’93, CFO at Bank of America, reflects on his Tuck experience and the people-first approach that drives his success as a financial leader.Read More
Why We Need More Women Entrepreneurs—And Investors
A conversation with venture capitalist Elizabeth Davis T’20, an investor with the Anthemis Group’s Female Innovators Lab.Read More
Meet Tuck Alumnus Jose Minaya T’00, CEO of Nuveen
A commitment to building diverse, inclusive, and equitable structures across organizations is personal for Jose Minaya T’00, who was named CEO of Nuveen in 2020.Read More
Meet Tuck Alumnus Richard Noyes of Bartlett Associates
Meet Tuck Alumnus Richard Noyes of Bartlett AssociatesRead More
Noreen Doyle T’74, chair of the Newmont Mining Corporation, was the first woman to chair the British Banker’s Association in its 96-year history.Read More
Preserving Culture Through Banking: Meet Dawson Her Many Horses T’10
Dawson Her Many Horses T’10, SVP & Native American business leader at Wells Fargo, helps Native American tribes protect their way of life.Read More
Tuck Alumnus Named Head of Goldman Sachs’ Global Securities
At Goldman Sachs’ Global Securities Division, Tuck Alumnus Jim Esposito orchestrates a global operation managing risk for asset managers, pension funds, insurance companies, hedge funds, corporations, and governments.Read More
Bringing Order to the Chaos
Solving complex problems is what's kept Diego Ferro T'93 in finance for 25 years. Here's what he's learned.Read More
T’98 Rick Cardenas’ first job was bussing tables at a Red Lobster. Fast forward 30 years and he’s now CEO of Darden Restaurants which, until 2014, owned Red Lobster.Read More
James “Jim” Lindstrom
Jim Lindstrom T’01 has a career of both investment and senior operational roles—a unique perspective to lead a multinational corporation in today’s dynamic environment.Read More
As managing director of the Boston Forum of Golden Seeds, a national network of angel investors funding early-stage companies led by women, Deb Kemper T'95 lives by the motto: be the change you want to see in the world.Read More
Kathryn Baker T'93 is a true expert on boards of directors. She has served on more than 20 of them over the last 16 years, ranging from oil and gas companies to Norway’s Central Bank to Tuck’s own European Advisory Board.Read More
The Chinese economy has grown tremendously since 1989, and so have the opportunities for enterprising Tuck graduates, like Jie Lian T'01.Read More
Not many people in ball bearing sales finish their careers in venture capital. For Mike Carusi T’93, now one of the most successful health care investors in Silicon Valley, that unlikely journey started with two eye-opening years at Tuck.Read More
Williams College chief investment officer Collette Chilton T’86 is helping deliver big returns for the Little Ivy.Read More
Investor. Philanthropist. Entrepreneur. Roger McNamee T’82 is all of these and more in a career that has taken him to the top of the tech world.Read More
Alain Karaoglan T’87 never could have predicted he would one day be chief operating officer of Voya Financial, a top-tier retirement plan provider with more than $500 billion in assets under management and administration.Read More
Navigating the present while honoring the past is a challenge for many Native people. Debbie Atuk T’04 has found a way to do both.Read More
After working in security sales for Goldman Sachs, Christopher Fox T'81 was drawn back to the public sector because he wanted to serve his community and for the intellectual challenge.Read More
At Tuck, Vicki Craver T'97 discovered a latent interest in financial strategy. Now, after a successful career at Goldman Sachs and raising a family, she applies her financial accumen to vetting nonprofit projects.Read More
Following five years in the mergers and acquisitions industry, Scott Frantz T'86 joined a few close friends in putting together a private equity and venture capital business.Read More
Sword, Rowe & Company CEO Daniel Rowe T’09 is blending his love of music into a successful career with the boutique merchant bank.Read More
In much of the Middle East and North Africa, cash is still king. PayPal’s Francis Barel T’05 wants to change that, and open people’s lives to the world along the way.Read More
One of Blair LaCorte T’90’s great skills as a leader is not only to guide a company from infancy to success, but to know when to set it—and himself—free.Read More
Christopher Williams T'84 harnessed his architectural and business skills to grow the Williams Capital Group into one of the most successful mid-sized investment banks in the world.Read More