Ten years ago Nabitha Rao came to The University of Findlay from India to start her MBA and went on to work and live in California. As she starts the next chapter in her career, she took an opportunity to return to where her journey started: “This is where I started out and to come back at this time is very meaningful to me,” said Rao.
After graduating from The University of Findlay, Rao spent eight years at Stanford University, where she rose to become Assistant Director of IT Program Management and was responsible for strategy, process reengineering and new technology implementations for Residential & Dining Enterprises. The next chapter in in her career leads her to a Silicon Valley startup. “I’m really excited to get out of my comfort zone and put myself in a position to learn, grow and reinvent myself,” said Rao.
Rao flew back to Findlay this summer to attend receptions in honor of two people at the University who made a difference to her in her time at UF: Penny Gerdeman, director of international admissions, and Dr. Shiv Gupta, College of Business professor of 45 years. Both of them retired from the University at the end of the 2014-2015 academic year.
“My first memory of coming to The University of Findlay is Penny Gerdeman picking me up at the airport,” said Rao, who completed her MBA in 2006 focusing on human resources. “Coming to a new country is scary and Penny was gracious, kind and compassionate. She made sure that every international student experienced the best of what The University of Findlay has to offer.” Rao worked as a graduate assistant in the international admissions office and assisted with “onboarding” new students. “It allowed me to interact with different cultures,” said Rao. As an international student herself, she was able to really empathize with the students as they transitioned from their hometown to the United States. “I was able to help them settle into housing, sign up for classes and meet other students to experience and gain the education that they came for.”
Through the years she also kept in touch with Dr. Gupta. Though he was strict, especially when it came to arriving for class on time, Rao recognizes the importance of this type of discipline in her professional life. “Dr. Gupta taught us with practical examples,” she said, “He wanted to know what our interests were and how we were doing in class. He helped us find the right internships and made sure we were thinking of our careers.”
For Rao, the education she earned at The University of Findlay didn’t end in the classroom: “Education is beyond what you learn from books. It’s the softer skills that you need to apply in everyday life, it’s how you conduct yourself, how you network and manage relationships and make the best of any situation you find yourself in.”