Challenged by ambiguity
Fia Wulur ’13 says her four years at Cornell were outstanding preparation for her current position as a program manager in Amazon’s Last Mile operations, which she describes as “entrepreneurial and ambiguous.”
“At Cornell, every block is different. It’s a new subject, new material, a new professor, new classmates. You have to constantly adjust to changes.”
Wulur, who was born in Indonesia and grew up in California, was deeply involved as a Cornell student in SIFE (the forerunner of Enactus, an organization that supports entrepreneurship). She says her time in the organization introduced her to issues she now engages with every day. Among the most valuable lessons was taking an idea and turning it into a plan, and then into reality. That’s where the ability to deal with ambiguity comes in.
“When you deal with ambiguous projects, you need to be strategic by making and managing a plan that is both structured and flexible. You have to coordinate across various business units to make sure everyone is on the same page. It’s your job to navigate the ambiguity, apply new learnings, and make sure the project continues to progress.”
During her time with SIFE, she served as vice president for recruiting and then as vice president of projects. She also took advantage of a Cornell Fellowship at the National Association of Chain Drug Stores in Alexandria, Virginia. At NACDS she worked on a project that involved Target Corporation. This led to her first professional position with Target in Minneapolis.
She started with Target in the company’s pharmacy operations, spending her first year “mostly in process design and improvement.” For the next two years she worked on implementation of strategies within the company.
In 2016 CVS purchased Target’s pharmacy operations. Wulur helped with the transition and then took advantage of the change to head for the West Coast and a position at Amazon.
“Many of my skills translated very well to Amazon’s work environment,” she says. “I learned a lot about the retail industry, its evolving customer needs, and the challenges that come from it. This knowledge prepared me well for the fast-paced culture at Amazon. Plus, I love Seattle!”
Much of Wulur’s daily work involves competitive strategies, and she spends her time figuring out how to keep up with Amazon’s enormous growth and its need to develop new ways of delivering packages to customers. She says her majors at Cornell prepared her exceptionally well.
“I was an economics and psychology major. I’m in both worlds now. I’m data driven, which I learned in economics. I’m also very focused on people, which is where my psychology serves me well,” she says. “I’m always trying to find the left-brain, right-brain balance.”