2016 MBAs To Watch: Amber Wesson, Arizona State (Carey)

Amber Wesson Arizona State

Amber Wesson


Arizona State University, W. P. Carey School of Business

Age: 30

Hometown: Scottsdale, Arizona

Undergraduate School and Degree: Arizona State University – W. P. Carey School of Business, Bachelors of Science Finance, Honors

Where did you work before enrolling in business school? Ernst & Young, Senior Consultant (Advisory – Performance Improvement – Finance)

Where did you intern during the summer of 2015? Bank of America, Operations MBA Internship Program

Where will you be working after graduation? Point B Consulting, Associate

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

Volunteer Council: 2015-16 Nominated President

  • Coordinated community events across all W. P. Carey School of Business graduate programs – Ronald McDonald House Charities Service Days, Game Night Fundraising, CPLC Parenting Arizona Holiday Gift Drive, Non-profit Executive Lunch and Learn, Annual Softball Charity Tournament
  • Co-developed a Board Fellows program to connect students with non-profit board members
  • Led 15+ vice-chair members and representative positions

Forte Women’s Fellowship, 2014-16 Nominated Fellow

MBA Association: 2014-15 Elected First Year Representative

MBA Ambassador: 2015-16 Member

Graduate Supply Chain Management Association: 2014-16 Member

Graduate Career Center: 2015-16 Graduate Assistant

Curator Engine (start-up company): 2014-15 Graduate Assistant

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? W. P. Carey hosted a business case competition during our student orientation. It was rewarding when my team was announced as the winner by a judging panel of faculty and administration. My team knew that we had performed well because we discussed our strengths beforehand and made sure we were well-prepared.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? During my time as a Senior Consultant at Ernst & Young, I helped to embed annual volunteer events with the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) organization at our local office. As a result, I was nominated to present the topic of corporate responsibility to a room of more than 200 newly-hired staff consultants. It was encouraging to be able to publicize the importance of community involvement to my younger colleagues.

Who is your favorite professor? My favorite professor is Dr. Reynold Byers, academic director for supply chain management. I was fortunate to take multiple courses with him, such as Supply Chain Operations, Project Management, Decision Modeling, and Sustainability. During all of these courses, Professor Byers maintained high standards with students, which challenged us to reinforce our work with well-researched support. At the same time, he balanced those expectations with care and understanding for our personal goals.

Favorite MBA Courses? My top three favorite courses have been Supply Chain Decision Modeling, Negotiations, and Strategic Leadership.

Why did you choose this business school? There are multiple factors that led me to Arizona State University. First, the small size of the MBA program would provide me with the opportunity to build strong relationships with peers and also help me to get actively involved through leadership positions. Second, the culture of the MBA program is very collaborative, which stimulates teamwork and innovation. Third, affordability was a key component in being able to feasibly reach my goal of earning a graduate degree.

What did you enjoy most about business school? The deep connections that I have formed with staff, faculty, and classmates over the course of the two years has made the experience more enjoyable. The positive relationships helped me push forward during stressful times.

What is the biggest lesson you gained from business school? I have learned how important it is to possess an ability to zoom in and zoom out on topics. For example, executives must be able to understand the details and ask deeper questions while also envisioning the larger picture.

What was the most surprising thing about business school? I have appreciated the personal reflection that occurs during the program. The W. P. Carey MBA program emphasizes self-awareness and branding based on our unique strengths.

What was the hardest part of business school? It was difficult to manage the competing demands and opportunities in the first year of the program. For example, we had a heavy load of courses, club activities, internship interviews, and networking events — balancing and prioritizing all of those requirements was challenging.

What’s your best advice to an applicant to your school? This is a good lead off from the previous question. My advice to incoming students is to identify and prioritize their personal goals for the MBA program. It is easy to become overwhelmed by the pace of the program, which requires a strategic approach to navigate successfully. My goals were to build close friendships, get actively involved, and enhance my understanding of strategy and data analysis. I feel lucky to have experienced all of these during my time in the program…even if that meant that I had to forego other experiences.

I knew I wanted to go to business school when…I started taking leadership positions and wanted to better understand how to make informed decisions and communicate effectively.”

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…continuing my path forward to managerial positions at Ernst & Young in order to build my on-the-job experience as well as attending training conferences to further develop my skills.” 

Which executive or entrepreneur do you most admire? Dave Ramsey created the term “Entreleader,” which combines the concepts of entrepreneurship and executive leadership. I like this synergy of ideas because it demonstrates the importance of innovation, change, and improvement in the working world.

What are your long-term professional goals? I would like to move from managing a single project to managing a portfolio of projects at a senior director level. Additionally, I plan to engage in mentoring others, keeping up-to-date on my company and industry trends, and being a key leader in community activities.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? The year that I applied to the MBA program, I had the proud honor of attending my mother’s commencement ceremony at Arizona State University. She balanced the duties of managing a full-time career, raising a family, and earning a bachelor’s degree. Her decision to pursue a degree was not founded on job requirements or external pressures, but rather the desire to positively contribute to her work environment. According to her, a college education was essential for career growth because it “made her mindful of others’ cultural identities, particularly how those differences could impact all levels of a business.” Moreover, it pushed her to “build self-confidence and market herself.” The experience of listening to and understanding my mother’s educational goals was instrumental in my own decision to pursue an MBA. She helped me realize that an MBA would not only teach important technical skills, but also enhance my capacity to lead and work effectively with others.

Fun fact about yourself: I have a 30-pound Maine Coon cat named Bear.

Favorite book: Einstein’s Dreams by Alan Lightman

Favorite movie: Zoolander

Favorite musical performer: Singer/songwriter Rachael Yamagata

Favorite television show: “Friends”

Favorite vacation spot: Sedona, Arizona

Hobbies? Traveling, listening to podcasts, attending concerts, learning to golf, hiking, photography

What made Amber such an invaluable addition to the class of 2016?

“I have come to know Amber through her leadership role as the president of Volunteer Council and also as a student in my Leadership Communication course during the first year of her MBA program. The Volunteer Council organizes events such as a Christmas toy drive for families that would not otherwise have any presents for their children, and activities that raise money to support the other charitable programs supported by the MBA students.

Amber has demonstrated exceptional skills through her implementation of highly successful events for her full-time program colleagues as well as events for students in all graduate programs offered at W. P. Carey.  Amber always proactively approaches her leadership responsibilities by developing processes to ensure successful completion of projects and tasks. As a result of Amber’s effective leadership skills within Volunteer Council, she has cultivated a culture and tone that reflects a mission of service throughout the Full-time MBA program.

Amber was also one of two students who proposed a Board Fellows program where MBA students could support the board of a non-profit with their business expertise while learning more about the operations of non-profit organizations. Once approved, she and several classmates developed an implementation plan and outreach program which made the program a reality in record time.

Amber has had a long-lasting impact on the W. P. Carey MBA program through her involvement in these extracurricular activities, while successfully balancing her classwork and personal life.”

Kay Keck

Director, Full-time MBA Program

W.P. Carey School of Business



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