Pasha Nahass
Pasha Nahass
Home Region

Agoura Hills, CA

Undergrad Education

Stanford University, Computer Science, 2010

Previous Experience

Google, Inc.; Amazon.com, Inc.

“You get to meaningfully know 90 people—a home base within the larger HBS community.”

Pasha Nahass entered Stanford with an interest in political science and an eye toward government service. But in his freshman year, he took a computer science course “just to get the applied engineering requirement out of the way.”

To his surprise he fell in love with it. “Every assignment felt like we were solving a riddle or a puzzle,” Pasha says. “We created tangible products others could see and use.”

In a combined undergraduate/graduate program, Pasha specialized in human computer interaction—“a cool combination of technology and psychology”—then accepted his first career role with Amazon. “In 2010, mobile was not as ubiquitous as it is today. It was a new challenge: how do we apply all the things Amazon is good at to a tiny screen on a device that may have poor Internet connectivity?”

The work was rewarding, but after one-and-a-half years, “I found myself less interested in writing code than in what the vision for the product should be.” A subsequent rotational program at Google introduced him to product management, where he “worked with multiple stakeholders—engineers, designers, sales, marketing, product people—to come up with a plan of action.”

Breaking out of the bubble

Seeking more opportunity, Pasha turned to the MBA. “I was lacking business skills in strategy, finance, and accounting. I wanted a formal exposure to those areas, which would be especially valuable if I wanted to start my own company.”

Pasha chose HBS to extend his reach. “Most of my educational experience was focused on technology, which is a bit of a bubble. I wanted to be surrounded by diverse people working in diverse industries.”

“One of the things that has pleasantly surprised me is the section experience,” says Pasha. “I was worried about the class size, 900. How would I make significant connections among so many people? The section makes it manageable. You get to meaningfully know 90 people—a home base in the larger HBS community.”

After finishing his classes this spring, Pasha participated in a Field Global Immersion (FGI) in Bucharest, Romania. His team, composed of colleagues from different sections, helped a large bank craft a digital pipeline for students and other young people accustomed to mobile devices. “It’s great exposure on how to do business and add value to a culture different from your own,” says Pasha.

Pasha plans to return to tech product management post-MBA, the only question is where. In general, he wants to “take what I’ve learned in business school and combine that with my technology experience to have the greatest impact.”