2018 Best MBAs: Rachel Curtis, Arizona State (W. P. Carey)


Rachel Curtis

The W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University

I am passionate, optimistic, ambitious, fun, seeker of adventure, and lover of people and life.”

Age: 29 

Hometown: Yuma, Arizona

Fun fact about yourself: I’ve led youth humanitarian trips to Ecuador and Fiji, and I am number 43 of 45 grandchildren.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Brigham Young University, B.S. in Public Health

Where did you work before enrolling in business school? International Rescue Committee, Anti-trafficking Case Manager & Program Coordinator

Where did you intern during the summer of 2017? The McCain Institute for International Leadership, working as a program officer for The Buffett-McCain Initiative to Combat Modern Slavery in Washington D.C.

Where will you be working after graduation? Undecided, but I’d like to work in public-private partnerships at a macro level, specifically for organizations focused on achieving Sustainable Development Goals, while working on starting a social enterprise on Moringa-based nutrition products that provide natural health benefits as well as fight malnourishment.

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School: Net Impact Co-President – earned the Net Impact Top Conference Promoter at the 2017 Net Impact Conference, initiated and co-led the first annual Net Impact Networking Night at the W. P. Carey School; Latter-day Saint Student Association President at ASU; interfaith strategy team member, helped plan the first annual Interfaith Harmony Week including leading a four-campus wide interfaith worship weekend; Forward Focus scholarship recipient; W. P. Carey School student ambassador; W. P. Carey Net Investor Award recipient, represented the W. P. Carey School at the 2017 Society for International Development Annual Dinner in Washington, D.C.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? It would be initiating and assisting in the development of a new concentration in sustainability and social enterprises, linking the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University with ASU’s School of Sustainability. It would also be going to the 2016 Net Impact Conference with only two other students and a dormant chapter, and then coming back the next year with a Gold Status Chapter and tying for second highest number of students at the conference (after the home chapter). Both took a great deal of effort, but I felt that they would enrich current students and those who follow.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I advocated and worked hard to get foreign national labor trafficking victims recognized and included in the Human Trafficking Victim Services Protocol for the state of Arizona. Most of the focus in anti-human trafficking efforts is on domestic child victims. As a result, foreign national labor trafficking victims are often over looked. This, combined with growing the program to what it became in size and partnerships was very meaningful for me as it increased our capacity to help foreign nationals leaving human trafficking situations.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Program Director Dr. John Wisneski because he leads with vision, passion, and purpose and taught us by example and through his class of how to do the same. He fosters a culture of innovation within the program, which allowed myself and others the chance to not only learn about innovation within the classroom, but to practice it while we were students.

What was your favorite MBA Course (and what was the biggest insight you gained about business from it?) The Forward Focus Leadership course pushed me to think about my individual purpose and how it impacts my career, as well as taught me to solve problems strategically. It was an excellent compilation of everything I need to apply from business school to be a future leader.

Why did you choose this business school? I wanted to go to a school that I knew would provide a personal graduate experience, to be a part of the first Forward Focus class, and because my personal values align with the mission of ASU and President Crow. I also wanted to be a student at the #1 School of Innovation in the country as well as have access to the vast resources at the School of Sustainability and international development departments at ASU.

What is your best piece advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? Connect with current and past students. Come here if you’re willing to be a part of a program that is continuously changing and improving and you’re willing to be a part of that change!

What is the biggest myth about your school? That it’s only a supply chain business school. Although it is heavily focused on that, it is quickly changing to have other concentrations that will be just as well known in the future.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Amine El Housni because he has an incredible thirst for knowledge, work ethic, and is always doing all he can to serve his classmates, the community, and the world at large.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? A best friend, Jenny Taylor, suggested business school. I didn’t seriously look into it until she encouraged me to do so. Heather Hammond, a BYU MBA grad, acted as a mentor during my decision process and then throughout the program.

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…still working with women refugees and foreign national victims of trafficking, and leading youth humanitarian trips abroad during the summer.”

If you were a dean for a day, what one thing would you change about the MBA experience? I would balance out the class and work load more between the first and second year of the program.

What are the top two items on your bucket list? Learn to speak French, hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? As someone who tried each day to reach my potential, worked hard, used my opportunities to bless others, and left others feeling good about themselves.

What would your theme song be? “I Was Here” by Beyoncé

Favorite vacation spot: Lake Atitlan in Guatemala, and The Old City in Jerusalem

Hobbies? Volleyball, sports, mountain climbing, dancing, traveling

What made Rachel such an invaluable addition to the class of 2018?

“Rachel Curtis is passionate about the way businesses impact the community and the world at large, and believes this impact is essential for students to learn about. In addition to her position as co-president of the Net Impact Club at W. P. Carey, a student organization that focuses heavily on these topics, Rachel is also working with the W. P. Carey administration to ensure that students are building awareness and problem-solving skills around these issues. This past year, Rachel worked alongside faculty to develop a curriculum map for MBA students interested in sustainable enterprise, and her efforts led directly to the creation of a new specialization in the Full-Time MBA Program that is set to launch in the Fall of 2018. The new curriculum is truly interdisciplinary, and includes coursework not only offered within the business school, but also from the ASU School of Sustainability, and the ASU School of Design. She hopes that graduates will take this knowledge and make an impact in their leadership positions after graduation, whether that be in for-profit or non-profit organizations.”

John Wisneski

Director of the Full-time MBA program

W. P. Carey School 


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