2016 MBAs To Watch: Elizabeth Oviedo, Arizona State (Carey)

Elizabeth Oviedo-Arizona State-PoetsAndQuants_MBAsToWatch2016

Elizabeth Oviedo

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

Age: 30

Hometown: Scottsdale, Arizona

Education: Georgetown University, Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration; Arizona State University, Master of Elementary Education

Where did you work before enrolling in business school? Symmetry Software, Marketing Manager

Where did you intern during the summer of 2015? European Innovation Academy, Nice, France

Where will you be working after graduation? Let’s Chat, Co-founder

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School

  • W.P. Carey Open Golf Tournament, Chair
  • MBA Entrepreneurship Society, VP
  • Roast & Toast Committee
  • Beta Gamma Sigma

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I am most proud of the progress that my startup Let’s Chat has made during business school. To be able to directly apply what I’ve learned in school to building a business has been an invaluable learning experience that I did not anticipate having when I first started. The resources that W.P. Carey has provided us in terms of funding from start-up competitions, connections to successful entrepreneurs and mentors, and applicable coursework has been tremendously helpful in propelling us forward. I’m graduating not just with an MBA, but with a team of co-founders, employees, advisers, and supporters that I would not have had otherwise.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I started my career as a first-grade teacher in a low-income area of Arizona. My first year teaching, every single one of my 28 students met our end-of-year goal for achievement in mathematics. This was the proudest moment in my professional career because it meant that all of my students were on track to be successful in the following year and that most of them had closed significant gaps in their achievement to get there. Ultimately, it was my first leadership test that had real-life consequences. Together with my students, their families, and my school, we had passed.

Who is your favorite professor? Wolfgang Ulaga — he can market and sell anything! Ball bearings, gas canisters, coal, you name it. He taught his students how to create, deliver, and capture value in any setting.

Favorite MBA Courses? Lean Launch, B2B Marketing, Organizational Behavior

Why did you choose this business school? I chose W.P. Carey because of the small class sizes, desire to be in the Southwest long term, and access to professors and innovators. In addition, W.P. Carey benefits from being a part of Arizona State University, the most innovative university in the country. It is an exciting time to be an MBA in this dynamic and thriving environment.

What did you enjoy most about business school? Building life-long friendships and relationships with my peers is what I’ve enjoyed most about business school. I have grown so much personally and professionally from learning from people who are so different from one another in a high-pressure, demanding environment.

What is the biggest lesson you gained from business school? Leadership is not so much about the leader, but rather the dignity of the people you are leading.

What was the most surprising thing about business school? The most surprising thing about business school has been seeing the rapid growth in myself and in my peers. We are graduating as transformed, better versions of ourselves, both professionally and personally.

What was the hardest part of business school? The hardest part of business school is managing your competing commitments. For example, there are so many demands on your time — school work, extracurriculars, networking opportunities, social events, family, and friends — that it is difficult to know what should give and take, and when.

What’s your best advice to an applicant to your school? Know what you are looking for and then create the business school experience that you desire. ASU has so many resources and programs that there are endless customizations possible. If you can dream it, you have access to it.

“I knew I wanted to go to business school when… as a junior in high school I was touring universities on spring break and I found myself more interested in their MBA programs than their undergraduate degrees.”

“If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be… working in my family’s software business.”

Which executive or entrepreneur do you most admire? I most admire my dad, a life-long entrepreneur and CEO of a successful software company. His ability to provide value to his customers and nurture and grow his employees, while always being a present, available parent, is remarkable and admirable.

What are your long-term professional goals? I learned about myself during my MBA that I am strong at building businesses … this is what I hope to be doing professionally long-term. To take what I have learned in my MBA, apply it to new or emerging businesses, grow them to success, and then start the process over again with newfound knowledge and experience — that is my dream job.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? My husband Nick for listening to all of my practice pitches, supporting my entrepreneurial aspirations, proofreading my papers, and generally being fantastic.

Fun fact about yourself: I can say and sing the alphabet backwards.

Favorite book:  Matilda by Roald Dahl

Favorite movie: Toy Story

Favorite musical performer: Matt Maher

Favorite television show: “Arrested Development”

Favorite vacation spot: Leland, Michigan

Hobbies? Golf, cooking, building businesses, hosting parties

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

“Over the past fall semester 2015, I had the opportunity to meet with Elizabeth on many occasions in my B2B Marketing class in W.P. Carey’s MBA program. During the semester, I was able to form my own opinion about Elizabeth’s skills, learning progress, interaction with peers and faculty, and about her potential for being a leader in business and society. I’d like to report hereafter on her individual work, her team work in our Marketing Research Project, her approach to case analyses and discussion, and her overall performance in the class.

“‘This past fall, I taught B2B Marketing (MKT 555) in our MBA program. When benchmarking Elizabeth’s performance against her group of peers. I would rank Elizabeth as No. 1 of all MBA students I had this year. The reasons for this evaluation are the following:

  1. ‘Individual Work: Elizabeth was always well prepared for our class sessions. She actively participated in our case discussions. Her questions clearly showed that she had thoroughly reflected upon each case prior to our sessions, and her comments and interactions with others clearly contributed to enhancing the learning experience of everyone in the classroom.
  2. ‘Value-in-Use Assessment (Group Work): Elizabeth worked in a student team on a hands-on value-in use assessment. I was deeply impressed by the depth of analysis conducted by her team. Her team’s report and presentation were excellent. Elizabeth clearly demonstrated that she had not only learned the concepts and tools, but convincingly demonstrated that she knew how to transpose and apply her learning to other business contexts and situations.
  3. ‘Marketing Project: From my interactions with the team throughout the class sessions, it became clear that Elizabeth was the driving force behind her team’s project and led her team toward a successful completion of their marketing project. I repeatedly witnessed Elizabeth’s skills as an excellent team player. Her in-class presentation of final results undoubtedly illustrated Elizabeth’s excellent communication skills.
  4. ‘Final Exam: Elizabeth achieved an excellent grade in her final exam. More importantly, the way she analyzed the case study in our final exam, and the depth and quality of answers she provided, clearly showed that she mastered the key concepts and principles of B2B Marketing.’

“Overall, I experienced Elizabeth as an excellent MBA student. Not only did she stand out in relationship to her peers, but I also truly consider her to be one of the best students I have had in my many MBA classes over the past 14 years at the University of Notre Dame, HEC Paris, IMD Lausanne, and W.P. Carey. Elizabeth grew her own skills and learning about B2B Marketing and she also clearly contributed to the learning of her peers. Most importantly, I could also see how she was able to transpose what she learned in class to the real-world setting of her parents’ software business. I was deeply impressed how she was able to ‘connect the dots’ in such a fast manner and implement her knowledge inside her family’s enterprise.

“Finally, on a personal note, please allow me to add that I experienced Elizabeth as a very positive-minded, motivated student. I greatly appreciated having her in my class.”

Wolfgang Ulaga
Research Professor, Marketing & Co-Executive Director, Center for Services Leadership
Arizona State University, W.P. Carey School of Business

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