Employee Profile: Ikechi Nnamani

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We’re pretty lucky when it comes to the employees who work in the Climb Credit offices every day. So because these offices are filled with talented people who bring their various backgrounds and experiences into Climb as we strive to help improve the landscape of finance and education, we want to take the time to introduce you to some of them. This week, we’re bringing you a profile of Ikechi Nnamani, who works in Partnership and Sales Strategy to make sure we can bring in the best partner schools.

First, we’ll start with a bit of background: born in Chicago to parents who immigrated from Nigeria in the 1970s, Ikechi’s the youngest of four kids. After attending Rice University and the University of Pennsylvania (competing as a collegiate track athlete and getting his degree in political science with an economics minor), he started his career at Bank of America as an analyst. Eventually, he made his way to San Francisco to work at a startup.

Before too long though, in 2016, he moved back east to work at Climb. Though he was still in San Francisco at the time he saw the job posting, he had known he wanted to live and work in NYC. He already had an interest in tech, all the way back to an internship at Google, and he knew he wanted to come back to that. So he’s the perfect fit for a fintech company like Climb. And for Ikechi, “There’s a certain sort of pace that you get in New York — there’s certain types of personalities that you get in New York — that you just can’t find anywhere else.” After seeing the posting and giving several interviews, he was offered a position on the sales team and relocated. In this role, he helps manage Climb’s school partnerships funnel and works to develop new strategies and different ways this company can find footing in a “very niche space.” So far, his experience at this New York startup has reflected what drew him to the city in general; he gets to work with people from different backgrounds and industries within an adaptable, flexible structure. Here, “every month we learn something new; every month we’re doing something new.”

But it’s not all about sales work for Ikechi. In the mornings, he’ll wake up early to hit the gym before getting into the office; after leaving the office on the weekends, he also “consumes and creates” music, starting from age 13 with learning piano and continuing and evolving that interest to this day. And because having all of the skills listed above just isn’t enough, he cooks too. To him, having things outside of the office like music and cooking dinner is important; it “keeps you balanced.” Plus he won our office bracket for March Madness this year, so add that to his resume as well.

So, as someone who is able to see both the school onboarding process and the student loan process, is there anything Ikechi’s seen that can be offered as words of advice to either group? For schools, “it’s helpful to have all of the data on the outcomes of your programs readily available,” not only to make it easier for us to understand the value you bring to your students but for you to get a full picture of that value as well. Otherwise, “how do you know how your school’s doing, how do you justify your tuition costs, how do you justify your expansion?”

For students (of coding bootcamps in particular, who constitute a large portion of our partners), “it’s a great time in general to become a programmer.” Ikechi gets to witness these schools expanding, as institutions like coding bootcamps become the new norm. He can even see himself doing what our Engineering team member Thea did and take a class after work, even just to stay sharp and up-to-date on this industry. And so for people who “are serious about gaining those new skills you’ve been talking about, you should definitely put your money where your mouth is.”

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