The Path to Career Transformation

Padma Nunna (MBA '09)
Summer 2016

Padma NunnaFor Padma Nunna (MBA ’09), pursuing a degree at the Wake Forest University Charlotte Center was as much about personal transformation as it was professional transformation.

The payoff from the program was tangible for Nunna, who changed careers from information technology to finance at TIAA-CREF, a move that expanded her value to her employer. After making the transition to finance, Nunna progressed into her current role as Execution Lead, Individual Business Transformation & Data.

“I felt prepared to take on each new challenge, from the first leap I made into corporate finance to my most recent role in a completely new division of product development where I lead a huge retail transformation effort. My Wake Forest MBA equipped me to apply my strength in leading transformational efforts across an organization.”

The program also allowed her to apply her professional experience to the classroom. “That’s what helped me connect with professors so well – taking my real-world experience and saying, ‘Here’s my perspective on how I want to do this project,’” she said.

That spirit of collaboration was very important in her decision to attend the Wake Forest University School of Business. During her first exploratory meeting, the interviewer suggested Nunna would have a great deal to offer the school and her classmates. She found that incredibly motivating.

“I joined the program with a Masters in Computer Engineering and more than 10 years of experience in the industry, and came out with a different set of lenses all together. Wake Forest added so much to my toolkit – so many strategic approaches I would have never learned, even after years on the job.”

Classroom collaboration, meeting Warren Buffett, and traveling to Spain to study sustainable energy strategies were priceless in helping her think beyond the obvious.

“My Wake Forest degree was the catalyst for a multifaceted, personal and professional transformation,” she said. “To lead large transformational efforts in a corporation, I need to determine how best to share my own transformational journey. Wake Forest has been instrumental to that effort.”