Park Alumni Society to Host MBA Panel

The Belltower with downtown Raleigh skyline. Photo by Becky Kirkland.

On Tuesday, February 8 from 7:30 to 8:45 p.m. EST, the Park Alumni Society hosted an online panel discussion and Q & A on what’s important to know about business school and the broad range of opportunities available to MBA graduates.

Panelists included:

The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania
Senior Director for Electric Operations Major Projects and Program Delivery at Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E)

Matt Pender ’06 (mechanical engineering and business management) is a senior director for electric operations major projects and program delivery at Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E) in the San Francisco Bay Area. Matt has spent his entire 15-year career at PG&E starting as a natural gas distribution engineer and working in several departments including Gas Operations, Electric Operations, Land Management, Vegetation Management, and Wildfire Risk Mitigation. His current role involves leading the execution of over $3B in annual capital investments in electric transmission and distribution systems, with a particular focus on reducing wildfire risk. While working at PG&E Matt completed his MBA through the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania (2012-2014) via the weekend program at the San Francisco Campus, aka “Wharton West.” Outside of work, Matt is married to a fellow Class of 2006 Park Scholar, Tyler (Pool) Pender, and they live just south of San Francisco with their three children, ages three, six, and nine. They are a passionate sports family, including playing, coaching, and watching, and enjoy traveling and hiking.
SPIFFY | LinkedIn

University of Chicago Booth School of Business
Associate Partner and Senior Expert Consultant, McKinsey & Company

Michele Tam ’00 (chemistry and business management) is an associate partner and senior expert consultant at McKinsey & Company. After graduating from NC State as a member of the first class of Park Scholars, she embarked on a 12-year journey with Procter & Gamble in finance (moving from Cincinnati to Baltimore to Chicago), including attending the Chicago Booth Evening MBA Program (2010-2013), sponsored by P&G. She then worked in finance for PepsiCo before joining McKinsey in 2014. At McKinsey, she helps companies improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their finance and other corporate functions. She lives in Chicago with her husband and pandemic pup and, despite traveling for work nearly every week pre-pandemic, still loves to travel. She has also embodied pandemic cliches over the past year, regularly baking sourdough bread, teaching herself to crochet, and buying a smoker.
SPIFFY | LinkedIn

University of Chicago Booth School of Business
Sales Excellence Manager, Microsoft

Meera Venkataraman ’14 (statistics and economics) is a sales excellence manager at Microsoft based in New York City. After graduating from NC State, she worked as a business technology analyst for three years at Deloitte Consulting in Washington, D.C., where she performed analysis supporting digital transformation for federal clients. She then joined TripAdvisor in Boston as a search engine marketing analyst, where she drove customer acquisition and optimized user experience. Meera joined the full-time MBA program at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business (2018-2020), where she was a technology career advisor and interned at an AI-focused startup, and graduated with concentrations in strategic management, business analytics, entrepreneurship, and marketing management. Outside of work, Meera loves playing the violin, long-distance running, listening to podcasts, and traveling.
SPIFFY | LinkedIn

Special thanks to Khari Cyrus ’16 and Leah Haile ’13 for coordinating and the Park Alumni Society for hosting this event.