2020 Best & Brightest MBAs: Samuel Salvador Romero, Arizona State (W. P. Carey)

Samuel Salvador Romero

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

“Charismatic leader, goal-oriented personality, devoted husband, and exhausted father of three.”  

Hometown: Mesquite, Texas

Fun fact about yourself: I enjoy learning and performing magic tricks. My four-year-old son also loves magic and is my biggest fan.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Brigham Young University, Marriott School of Business, BS in Finance

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Union Pacific Railroad in Omaha, Nebraska. I was the Mechanical Budget Manager responsible for the efficient use of $230 million in operating expenditures.

Where did you intern during the summer of 2018? Micron Technology in Boise, Idaho. I worked with the Sales and Operations Planning team and found ways to streamline and automate internal reporting processes.

Where will you be working after graduation? Micron Technology in Boise, Idaho. However, this time I will be working in the Financial Planning and Analysis group in charge of improving sales forecasting accuracy and timeliness.

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

Community/ Leadership

  • Strategic Planning Graduate Assistantship, Department of Strategy at ASU
  • Lead Carey Collaboration Manager
  • Full-time MBA Student Ambassador
  • Sunday school instructor at my local church


  • Forward Focus Full-time MBA Scholarship
  • MBA Fellowship Scholarship, 2019-20

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? The week my wife and I left Nebraska to come to Arizona for my MBA, we found out we were having twins! Growing a family while completing the program has to be my proudest business school accomplishment. With the newborn babies, it did not matter if it was finals weeks or if I had an important presentation, they still needed to be fed and diapers still needed to be changed day and night. Learning to balance my obligations at home, while maintaining my commitments at school (e.g., good grades, finding an internship and job, attending events, graduate assistantship) was not easy, but brought me great satisfaction. I learned to be more efficient, the learning moments felt more purpose-filled, and I am grateful for my two years at the W. P. Carey School of Business.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? Two years into my career at Union Pacific, I became interested in learning more about the billing processes for the mechanical maintenance we perform on our companies’ freight cars. By leveraging big data, I discovered that there were many inconsistencies with our billing and collection process and implemented audits and controls to improve the overall accuracy. Within the first month of implementation, we recollected over $4 million for repairs that would have otherwise been lost.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? This question is tough. There have been so many professors who have inspired me and helped me develop my business acumen. For this quarter, my favorite professor has been Thomas Kull. He teaches Supply Management and Negotiations. The course focuses on the execution of spend-category strategies, with a specific focus on buyer-supplier contracts and negotiations. I enjoy Professor Kull’s class because he challenges us to be creative and think outside-the-box. When we discuss cases, it is common for Professor Kull to question our assumptions and require the use of data-driven recommendations to solidify arguments. Besides the cases, the lectures and activities are also very engaging and get me excited about real-world applications.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? At ASU, business is personal and the tradition that manifests this motto the best is our tailgates. Before each home football game, a recruiting company sponsors a tailgate that is open to friends and family. This tradition has helped staff, faculty, students, and families build a stronger bond.

Why did you choose this business school? At first, W. P. Carey was a program I did not consider. However, the more I researched the program and talked to alumni and the recruiting team, the more I wanted to be a part of it. Ultimately, I chose ASU because my goals closely aligned with what the program was able to offer. For example, I knew I wanted to go to a school with a strong alumni network. ASU has a thriving network of nearly 500,000 alumni across the world. Also, I wanted to go to a business that would help me cultivate my leadership skills. W. P. Carey offers an amazing executive mentor course, which helps you connect with an executive mentor in your field and industry. My mentor, with whom I have established a strong rapport, is a retired senior executive from the Mars Corporation.

What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? Start early. Reach out to one of the recruiting members and let them know you are interested. Remember: business is personal, so do not be afraid to send an email or make a phone call. Also, feel free to find me on LinkedIn. I would love to talk to you about the program or help you connect with the right person.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? One of the wonderful things about a large institution like ASU is that there is a myriad of courses offered across campus. As part of our MBA education, we are encouraged to step out of the business school and cultivate new skills that are not business-related. If I could go back, I would have taken a painting class. This is a skill I have always admired and a hobby I hope to start soon.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Moises Espinosa is the classmate I most admire. He and I have often worked together in groups and against each other in competitions. He is a fun and intelligent classmate, but I admire him because he is not intimidated to share and defend his beliefs. Moises engages in meaningful conversation effortlessly while maintaining respect for others and listening to their perspective.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? Irasema Romero, my older sister. As the first one in my family to go to college, she was the trailblazer who decided she would succeed in her career of choice and has encouraged me to do the same. Because of her, I never doubted myself. Now my next goal is to eventually make more money than her…kidding, kidding.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list?

  • As a Forward Focus scholarship recipient, I feel an obligation to give back to my community and the W. P. Carey School of Business. On my professional bucket list is my goal to advance in my career so that I may become a lifelong net investor of the university. I hope to be able to return to ASU as a successful professional and give back (e.g., mentorship, recruiter, guest speaker).
  • Start my own business. It has always been my desire to be an entrepreneur and build a business from the ground up. Even though I consider myself to be risk-averse in nature, the MBA program’s holistic approach to business has prepared me for such an endeavor.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? I hope to be remembered as someone you would trust to do business with in the future.

Hobbies? In my limited spare time, I enjoy going on family hikes, running, playing soccer, and watching The Simpsons.

What made Samuel such an invaluable member of the Class of 2020?

“Samuel is a quiet, yet highly effective leader who possesses the unique and admirable quality of being able to discern the most efficient ways to make a significant impact on the projects he is involved with. For example, this past year, Samuel served as a leader of Carey Collaboration, our WP Carey Freshmen mentoring program. As a part of this program, Samuel took it upon himself to model what good mentorship looks like for his peers, and began conducting knowledge sharing sessions with all MBA students to highlight best practices amongst his peers that could be replicated across the program. Samuel was diligent about making sure each mentor had the tools and resources to effectively mentor the freshmen they had been assigned and was quick to dive in and research answers to questions raised by both MBAs and freshmen alike. Ultimately, the benefit of the mentorship program is increased retention rates between freshman and sophomore year at WP Carey, and I feel confident in saying that no one has done more to affect this metric this past year than Samuel.”

John Wisneski
Faculty Director of the MBA Program
W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University


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