Meet Arizona State’s MBA Class Of 2020

Ryan Early

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

“Authentic, reserved – a friend who enjoys meaningful conversations and a good laugh.”

Hometown: Scottsdale, AZ

Fun Fact About Yourself:

I appeared on a police report at age three after shifting an idling car into neutral and rolling it into a couple parked cars. It’s a long story. No one was hurt (except for my mom every time I tell this story – love you Mom).

Undergraduate School and Major: University of Portland, Finance

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: CVS Health, Omnicare Billing Supervisor

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far:

My biggest career accomplishment so far was helping successfully transition Omnicare billing operations from an out-of-state facility to CVS Health’s Phoenix Shared Services Center. This involved partnering with internal experts to learn the job function, then hiring, training, coaching and leading my newly formed team to carry out day-to-day operations in support of over 200 long-term care facility clients. Throughout the process, I worked closely with my fellow supervisors, management and our enablement team to ensure a smooth transition of responsibilities. As part of this process, I was also tasked with creating reporting tools to communicate performance metrics to staff and management.

What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? Supportive is the quality that best describes my classmates. They are eager to help others and proactive in offering their time and knowledge to see others succeed. My classmates have a broad range of industry experience, encompassing engineering, academics, consulting, finance, marketing, supply chain, etc. – even someone who worked in PR. There is a vast pool of expertise to pull from and many who are ready and willing to offer assistance. It is rare to find a group of people who root for each other to the extent my classmates do.

Aside from your classmates, what was the key factor that led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA and why was it so important to you? The key factor that led me to choose the Full-Time MBA program at W. P. Carey was the culture established by program administrators, faculty, staff and students. The whole operation made a strong impression on me when I interviewed for the full-time program. My interview day included time spent speaking with program officials, engaging with students in the classroom, at lunch, and on a guided tour of the business school and surrounding facilities. Everyone was welcoming, and the information provided was thorough, assuring me that this school had people who were invested in my success and who truly wanted to see program participants have a first-rate MBA experience. Taking it a step further, the program administration communicated a vision of MBA students as net investors actively involved in building and shaping the program. The opportunity to be involved in that was too good to pass up.

What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? I’m really looking forward to being one of the program’s student ambassadors tasked with hosting prospective students and participating in interviews. This is an opportunity for me to give back to the program by providing a positive experience to visitors like the one I received.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career?

My first experience as a manager exposed a lot of shortcomings in terms of my leadership skills and overall business savvy. I knew an MBA program would help me develop in both areas. I aspire to lead teams again in the future. In my next opportunity, I will be able to work much more effectively using improved leadership, strategic planning and technical skills.

How did you decide if an MBA was worth the investment? Surprisingly, although I am a numbers guy, I didn’t do any quantitative analysis when considering leaving work to pursue an MBA. I took stock of where I was in my career and saw an MBA as the most expedient way to open doors to new and exciting opportunities. I also spoke with trusted friends who encouraged me to follow this path.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? I only applied to the W. P. Carey program at ASU.

How did you determine your fit at various schools? Culture, cost, location, concentrations offered, and average post-graduation starting salary were the primary factors I considered when looking at different MBA programs. I ultimately decided I wanted to stay in the Phoenix area and knew W. P. Carey was a highly-ranked business school that offered a concentration in Business Analytics, an area of interest to me. My visit confirmed the school’s culture would be a good fit for me and that the program would set me up for success.

What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? I experienced a distinct moment where I was hit hard by the reality that my life was not heading in the direction I intended as an undergrad. I had become passive, going through my daily routine without an eye to the future. That moment was my wake-up call. Now I look for purpose in my daily activities and put my faith in a higher power for the assurance that my time here is going to make an impact.

What do you plan to do after you graduate? Smile and give high-fives! In all seriousness though, I hope to take a couple weeks to unwind from the rigors of the past two years, then move straight into my new role. Fitting some travel in would be awesome, maybe to my other hometown of Portland, OR, or even a trip to Europe if I can fit it in.

Where do you see yourself in five years? My goal in five years is to be in a leadership role on a data-driven team with a forward-thinking organization, one that genuinely values its employees and the people it serves. It’s obviously difficult to predict what the future holds, so I plan to focus on making good decisions day-in and day-out and seek the advice of more experienced people. I know this approach will result in a balanced, fulfilling life five years from now.

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