Kevin Burkhart, W’99, has been Amazon’s lead in recruiting at Wharton for business-side product managers for more than two years. In this capacity, Burkhart is on campus four to five times a year.
“I feel like we are building some really good momentum on campus,” Burkhart says, particularly about the past year.
One of the highlights of the interns’ summer was a trip to Mt. Rainier. The spot is a personal favorite of Burkhart who travels there every Father’s Day with his family for a few days of “decompression.” There is no cellphone coverage, no pockets of Wi-Fi. At a lodge at 5,000 feet called Paradise Inn, Burkhart can unplug, sit down, build a Lego set with his kids and read on his Kindle. With the Wharton interns, Burkhart climbed another 1,500 feet beyond Paradise, where the panorama stretches to Mt. St. Helens, 35 miles to the south.
“We had a ball,” Burkhart recalls.
One of the interns, Harsha Rao, had served in the military in Washington in a former life, and the Rainier excursion had special significance to him.
“Ten years ago, I attended a month-long Army ROTC training/assessment at Ft. Lewis. Every day, from when we awoke for physical training to lights out, I saw Mt. Rainier off in the horizon. To my regret, I never had a chance to visit Mt. Rainier during my training,” he writes. “Last month, with a great group of Wharton students and the fantastic alumni network at Amazon, I was able to check another item off my bucket list.”
Burkhart moonlights as a mountaineering guide and recruiter. His day job at Amazon is managing an accessories business for the Kindle team.
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