Meet Arizona State’s MBA Class of 2018

Zachary Mardoc

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

Describe yourself in 15 words or less: Pragmatic Humanitarian, Capitalist Dreamer.

Hometown: Enfield, CT

Fun Fact About Yourself:  My favorite karaoke song is David Bowie’s “Golden Years”

Undergraduate School and Major:

Boston University, Psychology

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation:

Liberty Bank, Service Associate

Peace Corps, Madagascar, Health Sector Volunteer

Melmark New England (Autism Services), Applied Behavior Analysis Counselor

The Edinburg Center (Mental Health and Disability Services), Community Recovery Counselor

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: My biggest tangible accomplishment so far is my sanitation project in rural Madagascar. Less than 25% of my 2,000-person community there had access to bathroom facilities when I arrived, with no signs of the situation changing.  At the culmination of a year of work, over 75% of the community either had access to a proper latrine (>50%) or were actively constructing one (>25%).  This was accomplished entirely with materials, labor, and finances from within the community.  I intentionally did not seek outside funding, for the sake of promoting attitudes of agency, self-sufficiency, and ownership of the project. My role was to provide motivation, organization, and technical education to help my community take effective action on their self-determined priorities.

Looking back on your experience, what advice would you give to future business school applicants? Demonstrate that you are already engaged with the topics you hope to be studying. Read relevant publications; take up a part-time job; do related volunteer work; take courses online or through a community college; or work toward a certification in your intended field.  These activities communicate your passion for a specialty, while building valuable knowledge and experience.

This is especially necessary for career-changers like me. First of all, don’t worry. There are many of us in MBA programs. It’s an expected part of the territory.  Once you start school you will immediately begin applying for internships. Having something other than your current pending education to show recruiters helps reinforce their confidence in you and sets you apart.

What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA? The Forward Focus Scholarship at W. P. Carey made it possible for a person like me, with a low-paying humanitarian/non-profit background, to attend a high quality MBA program without taking on a crippling amount of debt.  That first hurdle of accessibility was removed.

I was attracted to taking part in a program in the first phase of a major transformation. Periods of upheaval create openings for creativity and innovation, as well as opportunities to influence the future structure of the program.

Having lived and worked abroad, I appreciate the value of intimate exposure to people from different backgrounds.  The comparatively small, yet uncommonly diverse (not to mention impressively qualified) class W. P. Carey enrolled is a unique and valuable asset to each student’s education.

Lastly, I chose W. P. Carey because they valued me as an individual.  Yes, when applying, I had to demonstrate my ability to succeed academically and professionally like anyone else.  However, I was selected because of how I differ from my peers; something communicated repeatedly throughout the application process. I never experienced that from another school.

Tell us about your dream job or dream employer at this point in your life? I dream of working for an impact investing firm focused on sustainable agriculture, clean energy, and/or closed-loop waste management.  Relatedly, I hope to make sustainability performance more transparent and accessible to investors, through sustainability accounting and reporting (i.e. SASB, GRI, etc.). My goal is to bridge the information gap about the social and environmental impacts companies create alongside their financial performance, empowering investors to make informed decisions in line with their values.

What would you like your business school peers to say about you after you graduate from this program? I would be happy to leave this program with a reputation for challenging myself and uplifting my peers.  I value those qualities in others, and strive to embody them personally.

Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.