Carnegie Mellon University

Integrated Innovation Institute

Engineering + Design + Business

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Mark Joseph L. Tan

Alumni Spotlight - Mark Joseph L. Tan (MSSM '13)

Inspiring the Next Generation of Innovators

Mark Joseph L. Tan (MSSM '13) is a Sr. UX Product Manager at Amazon focused on redefining the Amazon Video Games and Consumer Electronics shopping experience. Outside of Amazon, he channels this passion for product & user experience (UX) design to lead a non-profit organization, Luminated Career Consulting. This group serves young professionals and student organizations primarily based at Carnegie Mellon University, University of California - Irvine, and University of Washington. He is fully committed to serving the tech community by promoting customer-centric product thinking, mentoring young leaders, and investing in the next generation of entrepreneurs.

He joined Amazon, one of the world’s smartest and most customer-obsessed companies, to work on addressing customer pain points by improving the checkout pipeline, providing customers with more buying and selling options, and rolling out multiple offers to end users. By working on new product releases that empower customers to make informed purchasing decisions, he launched initiatives to increase customer adoption while putting human-centered design and natural user interface (UI) at the core.

While working at Amazon, he and his colleagues noticed a growing interest from other Carnegie Mellon alumni seeking career advice. According to Tan, "We noticed that students were trying to connect with us, as CMU alumni, to talk about how we obtained our positions in the industry. They would ask us to review their résumés, help them with interviews and inquire about company cultures. After awhile, we noticed that similar questions were becoming common. So we created a structure, a quick fill-in form, to gather information before we would meet with them."

Out of this growing interest, Luminated Career Consulting was launched in Seattle. Originally started in California in 2013, it is a non-profit endeavor that assists students and alumni with numerous aspects of career counseling. Tan and his colleagues work with other business professionals, product managers, and software engineers to help educate students and young professionals about how to investigate career opportunities in the software industry. Tan says, "The endeavor grew organically, students found us through word-of-mouth references, through LinkedIn, and through us reaching out to universities. One of my colleagues, whose alma mater is the University of Washington, connected us with their students. I discovered Carnegie Mellon University’s Product Management Club organization and decided to reach out to my alma mater as well."

Tan with team
Tan with team at Luminated Career Consulting

The Integrated Innovation Experience

Tan found that the interdisciplinary MSSM program enabled him to harness his brain power and grit, unlock his potential, and deepen his expertise in the software development industry. It enabled him to identify the specific domain to focus on and opened a lot of opportunities to connect with the top leaders in the tech industry. 

Tan at graduation
Tan with grandmother Adelina at CMU graduation ceremony