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Meet our alumni

"We are proud of the successes of our Alumni and their contributions to a diverse range of businesses."

Liz Plooster

MBA candidate at Harvard Business School

From studying computer science to building digital strategies

Congratulations on starting business school at Harvard this fall.

Thanks! I’m excited to be here in Boston, finally.

What do you hope to get out of your MBA?

I’m looking forward to learning from my classmates about how to become a stronger advocate for advancing diversity and inclusion in the technology industry, and I am curious to dive deeper into how other industries are handling digital transformation. 

Did you always think you’d work in tech?

No! When I was a kid, I wanted to be a lawyer; I liked the outfits of the lawyers I saw on TV. I thought, “Wow, women showing up strong, dressed classy, and advocating for justice? I want to be like them.” But it turns out that I am more passionate about problem solving than I am about history, so I pivoted. I started college as a triple major—graphic design, math, and Spanish. It was later freshman year that I switched to a dual major in computer science and Spanish.

How did you become interested in computer science?

One of my math professors suggested I take a computer science class. Initially, I resisted the idea because I didn’t think I’d like it or fit in, but my professor insisted I try one course. Studying Spanish cultures had solidified my passion for working with people, and I thought that technology wouldn’t let me build on that passion. (Spoiler alert: I was very wrong about that.) The decision to listen to my mentor’s advice changed everything for me.

What were your early years like?

In retrospect, I can see how my early years were a mosaic of people and technology. I grew up in the Twin Cities—Minneapolis born and raised. My dad works in technology, and his job provided us with the opportunity to travel as a family, most often to Spanish-speaking countries. My mom is a professor at a local university, Bethel University, where I went to college. At Bethel, I interned in technology at General Mills for three summers and lived abroad in Spain twice. After my second stint in Spain, I came back for my job as a consultant in PwC’s advisory practice and then transitioned from there to Best Buy’s strategy office.

What led you to PwC?

In college, I spent hundreds of hours networking with anyone who would agree to share their experiences with me. I’d say: “There are three characteristics that I am searching for in a job: I want to collaborate with people daily, work with technology, and have a chance to speak Spanish in a professional setting. Those are my only requirements. Do you know of any jobs that would let me do those things?” Well, enough people kept saying “consulting” that I started to consider it! I met with a few leaders at PwC and was so impressed with everyone who I met. That is how I ended up at the firm.

How was your experience at PwC?

Working at PwC totally changed my career and my life, largely because of the relationships I built with people there, both internally and on the client side. Particularly as a woman in technology, I was supported by an amazing community of advocates and female leaders. The people who have graciously supported me along my journey is why I have stayed in technology and desire to build my career in digital strategy and transformation.

Does anything else stand out from your time there?

PwC provided me with such a well-rounded experience, including a wide array of clients and exposure to a large variety of strategic problems as well as different kinds of implementation challenges. One of my first engagements was based out of Mexico City, so I even got to use my Spanish from the beginning. I felt like the firm genuinely wanted to use all the skills I could uniquely bring to our clients while also helping grow my career.

So what then drew you from PwC to Best Buy?

Given my passion for digital transformation, it was important to me that my next role after PwC provided exposure to how a company transforms from within, thus complementing my experience with PwC as an external advisor. I was fortunate to land at Best Buy, where I had the opportunity to work on internal strategic initiatives, such as growing the new Best Buy Health business and negotiating our strategic partnership with Google Cloud. I also served as a technology representative on our COVID safety taskforce and saw firsthand how Best Buy genuinely values its customers and employees. For example, we rolled out a national employee COVID testing program (before testing was widely available) to make sure that our associates felt safe coming to work.

What’s the best advice you can offer to others?

The real magic happens in bringing people and technology together. Therefore, don’t underestimate the value of people and relationships. In my experience, the technology itself doesn’t matter nearly as much as how valued people feel throughout any time of change.

What’s next for you?

In short, a lot of learning and growing! I want to continue focusing my career on empowering people and supporting others to be successful—especially as it relates to advancing diversity and inclusion in technology. If I have learned anything from the pandemic, it’s this: Work isn’t just about the bottom line; it’s about putting people first and making sure everyone feels supported every day at work.

This interview was conducted, edited, and condensed by Jen Swetzoff, founder and creative director of CLOSEUP. Jen was formerly the deputy managing editor at strategy+business magazine.

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Amy Paquette

Amy Paquette

US Alumni Network team, PwC US

Sallie Hinson

Sallie Hinson

US Alumni Network team, PwC US

Kerri Murphy

Kerri Murphy

US/MX Alumni Network Leader, PwC US

Katy Nash

Katy Nash

US Alumni Network team, PwC US

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