2019 MBAs To Watch: Amie Pierone, Arizona State (W. P. Carey)

Amie Pierone

Arizona State University (W. P. Carey School of Business)

Hopelessly curious to figure out why things work as they do.”

Hometown: Lake Oswego, Oregon

Fun fact about yourself: I am a gospel music singer and avid piano-player.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Arizona State University, B.S. in mathematics, minor in economics

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Scottsdale Community College, Administrator of Arizona Mathematics Partnership project.

Where did you intern during the summer of 2018? American Express in Phoenix, Arizona.

Where will you be working after graduation? American Express in Phoenix, Arizona as a Manager in the Enterprise Digital and Analytics division.

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School: As a second-year MBA, I was recognized as being a Net Investor for coordinating and implementing a statistics review session for first-year MBAs. Leveraging my quantitative background, I designed my own curriculum to help students prepare for exams, knowing that statistics can be challenging for those who have not exercised their “mathematical muscles” for some time.

I am also one of two marketing managers in the pilot year of the Carey Collaboration mentorship program for undergraduate business students. I was selected for the Carey Collaboration leadership team to help define, execute, and analyze the success of the program.

Lastly, while not directly connected to W. P. Carey, I am the president of ASU’s Gospel Choir – an ensemble of undergraduate and graduate students, as well as community members.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I am most proud of designing and leading the statistics review sessions mentioned above, for two main reasons. Firstly, I challenged myself to transfer my own content knowledge into pedagogical content knowledge. This forced me to understand the material more deeply than when I was taking the course. Secondly, this was a voluntary exercise, coming from a place of wanting to help reduce stress among the first years. Many fellow MBAs came up and thanked me for taking the time to teach. Knowing that the preparation time I invested paid dividends for my fellow classmates is a tremendously rewarding feeling.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? Getting my first full-time professional job as the administrator of the Arizona Mathematics Partnership (AMP) ranks high on my list of achievements to date. At the time of hire, I had no substantial experience in accounting or procurement – which were requirements for the position – but I had proven my ability to learn quickly as an undergraduate research assistant for AMP. AMP leadership trusted me to learn new ropes and navigate them better than other candidates. As cliché as it may sound, it means a lot when people believe in you.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Reynold Byers, who taught Statistics and Decision Modeling, was my favorite professor. His teaching style allows students to make sense of the “whys,” not merely the “hows” in a hands-on, constructive and collaborative learning environment. He poses relevant challenges to students that require critical thinking. I respect him for administering problems that may be more time-consuming to grade but afford rich learning opportunities. I spent over 10 hours on one decision modeling problem, and was incredibly proud and satisfied when I arrived at a conclusion.

What was your favorite MBA Course? Managerial Accounting is in my Top 3 MBA course list. Several key ways of thinking emerged from the course including the importance of recognizing sunk costs as sunk costs, as well as the importance of considering opportunity costs when making decisions.

Why did you choose this business school? As an undergraduate in ASU’s math department, I always regarded W. P. Carey students as being bright and motivated individuals. Moreover, the professors I had for economics courses were some of the best teachers I had experienced. I had the perception that W. P. Carey was the premier school on campus, and imagined myself as being part of that community. When considering business schools for graduate programs, W. P. Carey was a clear choice for me, demonstrating prestige, innovation within the program curriculum, and strong industry relationships.

What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? W. P. Carey is looking for all-around MBAs, who care not only about personal success and growth but about contributing to a larger community of learners and professionals. We have a mindset of being “net investors” – meaning we give back in ways that enrich, refine, and strengthen the program, and the school at large. Especially during interviews, be able to articulate how you will support the community in W. P. Carey.

What is the biggest myth about your school? ASU at large has a reputation of being a party school. President Crow has worked diligently in recent years to shift this perception, and I can honestly say that my experience at ASU has not been clouded by rowdy, irresponsible partiers. My peers are motivated, bright, and conscientious individuals.

Think back two years ago. What is the one thing you wish you’d known before starting your MBA program? I wish I had recognized from the beginning that the value of an MBA program is much more than the academics in the classroom. I was hyper-focused on grades, which caused me to short the effort of learning to work with people who were very different than myself. If I could send a message to myself two years ago, I would say, “Amie, zoom out; you have a lot more to learn than marketing, analytics, supply chain…”

MBA Alumni often describe business school as transformative. Looking back over the past two years, how has business school been transformative for you? Business school has changed how I see the world and how I see myself. I have a much stronger grip on how the business world works “behind the scenes” of commercialism, especially from the perspectives of marketing and data analytics. I have also realized that I entered business school with perhaps an over-inflated sense of self. I recall believing that the way I saw things was often the most correct. Going through so much team-based work has allowed me to genuinely value differing perspectives. For this, I am tremendously grateful.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Jen McAlpine is a standout classmate. Her past experience with the State Department, living and working all over the world, has made her classroom insights fascinating and realistic. She has such a buoyant, friendly, approachable attitude combined with unmatched professionalism. Jen is also one of my favorite classmates to hear present in class; her public speaking skills are stellar. Not to mention, she’s navigated the craziness of the MBA program while raising a young daughter. Respect!

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My former boss, April Strom, has been a role model and mentor in recent years. She helped me navigate my math degree, and mentored me in my role with the AMP project, and witnessed as I got antsy in the education sphere. Although she wanted to see me pursue a math education career route, she ultimately encouraged me to explore, aim high and follow my heart.

What is your favorite movie about business? For those who know me well, my repertoire of watched movies is an easy area to poke some fun at me. I haven’t seen many. Will Smith’s The Pursuit of Happiness is one that comes to mind that impacted me. Navigating careers may not always be easy, but don’t quit steering the ship when the turn up ahead blocks your view.

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…a recording artist, traveling the world performing for audiences.”

What dollar value would you place on your MBA education? Was it worth what you paid for it – worth more or worth less? Granted that my MBA education was on scholarship, I will say it was worth the opportunity cost of not working for two years, and more! My learnings both inside and outside the classroom have been invaluable in moving my career to the next level.

What are the top two items on your bucket list?

1) Travel to Switzerland and hike the Alps

2) Witness and/or instigate a flashmob

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? I would like to be remembered as a person with great depth, genuine integrity, and an unshakeable smile.

Hobbies? Baking, writing/recording music, hiking, solving logic puzzles.

What made Amie such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2019?

“From Day 1, Amie approached her academics here at W. P. Carey like the consummate professional. Being a former educator herself, Amie set an example for her peers by approaching her curriculum with the kind of intentionality and purpose that typifies serious-minded students. Utilizing her previous training in teaching mathematics, Amie offered tutoring sessions for her MBA peers to help them with quantitative courses in the areas of finance and economics. Her willingness to assist in this capacity demonstrated a real commitment to the program, and more importantly, a selfless investment in the development of her classmates that was truly extraordinary.”

John Wisneski
Director, Full-time MBA
W. P. Carey School of Business

Are you a friend of Amie? Leave a comment to congratulate her.