2020 MBAs To Watch: Candice DeFriend, Arizona State (W. P. Carey)

Candice DeFriend

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

“Data-driven and creative leader, helpful friend, goal-setting go-getter.”

Hometown: Fairfield, Texas

Fun fact about yourself: I have run 3 marathons and 8 half marathons in California, Arizona, Texas, and Ireland (though I think most wouldn’t consider running to be fun).

Undergraduate School and Degree: Texas A&M University, BS in Industrial Distribution, 2013

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Schneider Electric, Business Transformation Specialist

Where did you intern during the summer of 2018? Dell, Round Rock, Texas

Where will you be working after graduation? Key Bank, Technical Product Manager

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School: W. P. Carey Volunteer Council President

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? On the extracurricular side, during this program, I achieved a personal record on my half-marathon time. I attribute my success to the MBA program improving my mental strength and also having fun training on the weekends with my MBA classmates who also enjoy running.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? It’s challenging to pin down one specific moment or achievement when I reflect on my career before entering the MBA program. However, being able to be a part of the Business Transformation team at Schneider Electric served many opportunities for which I could be proud. It was gratifying to achieve the highest performance rating on my annual review during my final year with the company.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? I find it hard to choose just one because there are so many wonderful professors here at ASU. I believe Reynold Byers would have to be one of my favorite professors. His class, Statistics, was extremely challenging to pick up on during the first quarter of the program, but he made statistics fun and interesting. He also was gracious with his time, as several other students and myself frequently came to his office hours in need of help.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? One of my favorite events at W. P. Carey is the tailgates for home football games. It’s a time where the students can relax and have so much fun together, plus the food is fantastic.

Why did you choose this business school? When I began considering going to school to obtain an MBA, W.P. Carey made the most sense because it has the best MBA program in the state of Arizona. I also love living in the Southwest and was looking for a full-time program to fully submerge myself in the learning atmosphere.

What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? Stay focused on your goal and driven by your purpose for obtaining your MBA. 

What is the biggest myth about your school? This isn’t an interesting response, but I don’t recall there being any “myths” about the ASU program.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? If I could do it all over again, I wouldn’t have allowed fear to take control of my motivations. I was so eager to get an internship offer in the first semester of the program that I applied to several job postings which did not align with my purpose and accepted any interview I landed. I ultimately accepted the internship I wanted, but looking back I wasted a lot of time chasing too many other opportunities out of fear of not getting one.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? I really admire my classmate Sarah Patterson. She’s the ultimate go-getter, achiever, and role model. She has to be one of the hardest workers I know.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? I made this decision pretty independently. On a granular level, I wanted to be better at understanding and analyzing different types of data. I also wanted to improve my skills in strategic decision-making and marketing. I was sure to check my decision to return with several others, but ultimately was looking to learn new skills and sharpen my existing ones. Getting an MBA appeared to be the right path.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? Professionally, I simply want to work hard at what I’m passionate about and be rewarded for my work. Simple as that.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? I hope my peers remember me for my work ethic and willingness to offer a helping hand.

Hobbies? Though it seems many hobbies get set to the side during a rigorous MBA program, I still find time to enjoy a good run or complete a quick hike in the Phoenix metro area on the weekends. I also enjoy taking time to enjoy one of my favorite hobbies – a good weekend brunch (brunch is a hobby, right?).

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

“As president of the Volunteer Council, Candice has invested numerous hours in building social awareness among the MBA student population.  Candice embodies the central tenet of the W. P. Carey School of Business, which is to “do good while doing well.” One example of this is the Holiday Party. Candice partnered with a local non-profit and recruited students, faculty, and staff to donate gifts for children of 19 local families. She facilitated the collection of the gifts and organized a gift-wrapping party, which had the added benefit of offering students the opportunity to network with their peers. Finally, Candice led a group of students to a downtown school to distribute gifts, play games, and meet the families.”

Erica Day
Assistant Director of Academic Services

“In the Fall 2019 semester, Candice took on the responsibility of running Volunteer Council for all W. P. Carey graduate students. Despite a grueling academic schedule, she continuously identifies new opportunities for students to give back to their community. While coordinating and facilitating a Holiday Gift Drive for ASU Preparatory Academy, she also organized a Walk for Wishes event aimed at raising money to grant the wishes of children with critical illnesses.”

Victoria Ammons
Full-time MBA Program Manager




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