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“You Get Out of IKNS What You Put Into It”

Mary Palmieri (’15SPS), alumna of the M.S. in Information & Knowledge Strategy program (IKNS), was recently hired by Amazon to lead content acquisition for its new social shopping platform, Amazon Discover. Palmieri, also a cofounder of online automated beauty matchmaking startup the Beauty Marketplace, has served as director for several companies in the eCommerce, marketing, and digital transformation space. In a recent interview, she reflected on how her time at Columbia prepared her for her current role at Amazon. 

Edited excerpts:

What does your role at Amazon Discover entail?  

I am a part of the team whose mission is to make shopping fun and inspirational. My role focuses on managing the content acquisition program, which includes sourcing, analyzing, and ingesting large volumes of social content at scale to be featured in Amazon’s inspirational social shopping feed. 

How has what you learned during the M.S. in Information & Knowledge Strategy (IKNS) program helped you in your new role? 

Every day, I am analyzing content assets and identifying ways to put them to work for the organization. The IKNS program prepared me to analyze data and think strategically, and provided me with a unique lens that allows me to add value to any organization.

Why did you choose the IKNS program over other graduate programs? 

In this data-driven world in which we now find ourselves, I wanted to learn more about analytics and technology. I had experience running a business and managing P&Ls, but I wanted to learn more about digital innovation and data in order to remain competitive as an executive. 

What role has the alumni network played in your career since graduation?

The IKNS alumni community are my confidants and peers. I turn to these folks for advice and perspective all the time. 

During your time in the program, what was it like managing studying and working at the same time? 

The program made me more effective with my time. Managing studying and work is a lot to take on, but I now have the mental resilience and time management skills that make me successful in all that I do. 

What advice would you give to prospective students?

You get out of the program what you put into it. I would advise students to come into the program with a clear purpose in mind. I was very intentional about using this program to develop a digital product business and make an impact on the consumer tech market. This clarity helped me identify the right mentors and information to level up.


About the Program

The Columbia University M.S. in Information & Knowledge Strategy (IKNS) program provides students with foundations in information science, organizational psychology, and change management as well as practical skills in project management and executive leadership.

The fall 2023 application deadline for the M.S. in Information & Knowledge Strategy is June 15. Applications are reviewed and admission decisions released on a rolling basis. Learn more here.