Alumni Spotlight - Priyanka Thakkar

Priyanka Thakkar Profile Picture with Employment Information

Priyanka Thakkar
Master of Science in Computer Science (MSCS) 2012


Priyanka Thakkar grew up in the northwest region of India in a state called Gujarat with a passion and a dream of becoming a teacher, which would in turn start her off on an incredibly inspiring journey.


After pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, Priyanka started her career as a Professor in Gujarat. In this role, she faced one of her greatest challenges when she was asked to teach a course that she once took and felt was the toughest subject to understand as a student. That course was called Theory of Automata and Formal Language (TAFL). While Priyanka had doubts she could do it, she was determined to undertake the challenge. Priyanka explains, “I realized my strengths; the way I did research, studied… And the best part was how I taught the course to my students with interactive sessions, so it felt like a fun class.” This became one of many proud moments for Priyanka as all her students passed the TAFL course, which broke the university record.


In 2012, Priyanka moved across the world to pursue her master’s degree at San Francisco Bay University. SFBU was recommended to her by a friend who had a positive experience, Priyanka was attracted to the computer science program because of the curriculum and the professors with tremendous industry experience. When asked what she liked most about attending SFBU Priyanka stated, “There were many things but if I have to pick one, I would say super talented and experienced professors.”


Priyanka graduated from San Francisco Bay University in 2012 with her Master of Science in Computer Science. “I will always be grateful for SFBU, as the university prepared me for success!”


Priyanka believes in celebrating all small wins towards her goal. Her career journey took off working as a software engineer for massive companies such as HP, Amazon, Intuit, eBay, and lastly landing at her current position as a product manager at Walmart Labs/Sam’s Club. "There are many moments that I am proud of, as I celebrate all small wins towards my goal!"


You might be wondering how Priyanka went from software engineer to product manager. It all started while she was working at Amazon. "While working as a Software engineer I got a chance to wear a product manager’s hat and I realized that I enjoy doing product management. It excites me to solve customer problems. All the skills to become a product manager comes with ease for me." From there, Priyanka decided to further her career by exploring the product management role at her current company, WalmartLabs. She learned what it took to be promoted into that role and worked hard to make sure she met those expectations. When asked about her favorite part of being a product manager, Priyanka answered, "I am close to my customers, I hear their needs and problems, and I design the product which truly adds value to their life!"


In addition to Priyanka’s incredible career, she is a mother, daughter, sister, mentor, and lifelong student. She loves to volunteer in the community and works teaching children about Mindfulness/Inner engineering, which includes writing a gratitude journal and practicing affirmations and meditation. Some of Priyanka’s interests include exploring the beautiful California nature, hiking, backpacking, biking, skiing, and dancing! Priyanka’s mantra is “Trust the wait; enjoy the beauty of the journey!”


One of Priyanka’s goals moving forward in her career is to help as many people with as many things as possible. One of her greatest influences is Indra Nooyi, the CEO of PepsiCo. “The way she has a strategic long term vision for PepsiCo products and also the way she leads the entire company towards serving better to the community by providing the health-focused product. I see her as a great leader and would like to follow her way!”


Priyanka’s Advice For Current SFBU Students:

  • Believe in yourself
  • Sharpen your skills
  • Find a mentor
  • Take care of your health


Priyanka’s Tips For Landing a Job:

  • Spend time designing your resume
  • Network and develop connections
  • Find your strengths and weaknesses
  • Do mock interviews
  • Have patience and constantly improve your skills; there is no shortcut to success and failure is part of the journey towards success.


Congratulations and best wishes to Priyanka. Thank you for being such an inspiration to the San Francisco Bay University community!