2019 MBAs To Watch: Caitlin Dishon, Arizona State (W. P. Carey)

Caitlin Dishon

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

A detail-oriented, passionate individual who seeks new adventures, challenges, and service opportunities.”

Hometown: Mesa, Arizona

Fun fact about yourself: As part of the Arizona Ambassadors of Music program I was able to sing in seven European countries and was a featured soloist in St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice, Italy.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Arizona State University B.S. Earth and Space Exploration (Geological Sciences)

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Ashton Tiffany, LLC – Risk Management Analyst

Where did you intern during the summer of 2018? PolyOne Corporation in Avon Lake, OH

Where will you be working after graduation? W. L. Gore & Associates as an associate in their Supply Chain Rotational Program

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • President of the W. P. Carey Graduate Programs Volunteer Council – 2018/19
  • Fundraising Committee Chair for Volunteer Council – 2017/18
  • John W. Teets Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Assistant – 2018
  • Full-time MBA Student Ambassador – 2017-2019
  • Event Planning Advisor for the Delta Xi chapter (Arizona State University) of Alpha Gamma Delta International Fraternity

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I am most proud of the Volunteer Council events I have organized and participated in. They include fundraising and volunteer events such as a blood drive, donating holiday gifts to 20 local underprivileged families, raising money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and volunteering at Feed My Starving Children, the Arizona Humane Society, and Keep Nature Wild cleanups.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? One year into my job after my undergraduate I was asked to lead a team tasked with re-evaluating the HR on-boarding process for new employees. It felt amazing to be recognized as a hard-working and organized individual that was capable of leading a team so early on in my career.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Reynold Byers. He pushes us to think through problems on our own and challenges our answers. He’s exceedingly kind and outgoing, while also maintaining high expectations of his students and the work we produce.

What was your favorite MBA Course? Decision Modeling. It provided me with fundamental ways to approach problem-solving that I have used time-and-time again since taking the course. It demonstrated how powerful Excel can truly be in a variety of situations and levels of uncertainty.

Why did you choose this business school? While I was, of course, attracted to the world-class Supply Chain Management program, small class sizes, and a newly-implemented Forward Focus curriculum, it was the flexibility of the program, embodied by their slogan “Business is Personal,” which sold me. As someone who was unsure of the path I saw for myself after graduation, I knew I found a program that would support my exploration and encourage me to pursue opportunities beyond my core curriculum would be the best fit for me. I was very lucky to have such a program in my “backyard.”

What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? Be yourself. It sounds easy, but being honest about your experiences and who you are, in your application and interview, is the best way to find yourself in a program that is a good fit for you. I would also recommend researching W. P. Carey and their values to see if there is an alignment.

What is the biggest myth about your school? Arizona State University, as a whole, has a reputation as being a party school. But being in the Full-time MBA is not the same as being a part of undergraduate population; it’s more removed but in the best way. The MBA program is like a family. So my experience has been shaped by my classmates who make up that family. While we can be found at karaoke on Thursday night, we also take our education very seriously and demand the best from one another.

Think back two years ago. What is the one thing you wish you’d known before starting your MBA program? I wish I would have known to set aside more time for my personal health at the beginning. The start of an MBA program can be a whirlwind, but there is absolutely enough time in the day or week to get in a workout (whatever that may be for you). We all want to be good students and teammates, but it starts with taking care of yourself first. Scheduling out your time and not putting meetings over it was a Q2 realization I wish would have come to sooner.

MBA Alumni often describe business school as transformative. Looking back over the past two years, how has business school been transformative for you? My transformation is one of confidence. As a younger candidate, I was initially intimidated by my classmates’ experience and knowledge. I was not quite sure who I was as a leader or what I even wanted out of my career. W. P. Carey pushed me to break out of my shell. The opportunities I received inside and outside of the classroom helped me gain the confidence to speak up, voice my opinion, and lead.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Carrie Houston. You’ll be hard pressed to find a more kind, generous, and intelligent individual. She carefully considers all of her answers in the classroom. She is the type of person to meet with anyone if they ask for help. She, in conjunction with some of my other amazing classmates, created an Excel workshop series to teach some advanced excel skills. But even though she is easily one of the most intelligent and talented individuals I have ever met, she is incredibly humble. I have been lucky to have her as a classmate and a friend.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My then-boyfriend and now husband, Matt. He was pursuing his MBA at the time, so when I began to express dissatisfaction with my career path he helped me think through my options. He was able to articulate all of the possibilities an MBA program could provide and assured me that I would be a great candidate. He had confidence in me when I’m not sure I had it in myself yet.

What is your favorite movie about business? The Pursuit of Happyness. It conveys a powerful message of perseverance in the face of adversity and taking your success into your own hands. Success is never just handed to you. No matter your story, if you work hard (a key element of the movie) and believe in yourself you can succeed.

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…managing accounts at Ashton Tiffany as a Certified Insurance Counselor.”

What dollar value would you place on your MBA education? Was it worth what you paid for it – worth more or worth less? ONE MILLION DOLLARS *Dr. Evil laugh* Honestly, I’m not sure I could place a dollar value on my MBA education and I’m glad I didn’t have to. The Forward Focus Scholarship all of my classmates and I received allowed us to attend W. P. Carey tuition-free. While I, of course, missed out on income over the past two years, the self-discovery, career path shift, connections, and friendships cultivated made it more than worth my time.

What are the top two items on your bucket list? 1 – Travel to space 2 – Scuba dive at the Mid-Atlantic Ridge off the coast of Iceland

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? Someone who is thoughtful, caring, intelligent and dependable.

Hobbies? Hiking, baking, trying new restaurants, geology, singing, and re-watching Harry Potter and the Office.

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

“Caitlin served as the president of the W.P. Carey MBA Volunteer Council, a student-led initiative focused on providing community service and philanthropic opportunities to Full-time MBA students. Under her leadership, the number of volunteers grew substantially. This past spring, Caitlin worked with the Alumni Relations team to organize a charity softball tournament for current students and area alums. All proceeds from the event were donated to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and the event would not have been a success without Caitlin’s leadership and attention to detail.”

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

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