The School of Business welcomed Navin Thukkaram, a technology “angel investor” and entrepreneur who has amassed an exceptional and impressive set of experiences and businesses successes in a very short time, to speak with faculty and students in the Center for the Arts Williamson Theatre last month. Thukkaram shared insights and strategies in an energetic and lively presentation to a near-capacity crowd of students, faculty, staff, and administrators in a lecture entitled “Technology, Transitions, and Trends.” The event celebrated the first anniversary of the School of Business.

Thukkaram eloquently and clearly combined complex financial concepts, investing strategies, and his own experiences into a talk that focused on aspects of the decisions that he has made through his career. He used his experiences developing, financing, and ultimately selling a technology startup company to illustrate his talk; he noted that these experiences stand in contrast to his beginnings as a traditional oil and gas investor. Several times during his presentation, Thukkaram projected a slide stating “your path will NOT be linear,” indicating the importance of maintaining flexibility and responsiveness in business pursuits.

He also shared some ways in which his personal motivations have changed over the course of his career, and he used these observations to underscore to students the impact that these factors can have upon the decisions they make during their studies and beyond. He stated, for example, that upon completing his MBA at Harvard, he believed that he wanted a position that carried a high degree of certainty and structure, yet once he became financially stable, what he found most satisfying were more unexpected, challenging opportunities that presented him with a less-certain future.

Following his talk, Thukkaram attended a reception where he was able to meet with students and faculty, answering questions about his experiences as well as discussing his own academic career.