If anyone knows how to adapt, it’s Mafaz Maharoof (MBA ’07). It’s something he’s had to do personally, most dramatically by coming to Wisconsin sight unseen from his native Sri Lanka. And it’s something he has had to do professionally in a long career at Best Buy, which has seen its business model and the entire retail landscape change in the past decade-plus.
Retail and consumer goods weren’t in Mafaz’s original plan; he came to WSB with a plan for a career in investment banking. After earning his MBA in corporate finance, he took a position on Best Buy’s corporate development team instead.
“I got to do the same things an investment banker would get to do, but with a better work-life balance,” he says.
He has had a variety of responsibilities at Best Buy as the electronics company has navigated a multitude of changes sparked by the Great Recession and challenges to brick-and-mortar retail. He first helped the company make acquisitions, then helped it close stores and chart new strategy. After six years as Best Buy’s director of finance for real estate, store strategy, and capital planning, Mafaz became the company’s senior director of finance in 2019.
The career plan Mafaz didn’t originally imagine has led to his success—helped by his ability to adapt and take on any challenge that comes his way.
“When I look at my career, I realize I was someone who benefited from being at the right place at the right time,” he says. “In order to be able to take advantage of a situation like that, you have to be open to new opportunities.”