Good weather drew alumnus Mike Reister to Arizona State University. He’s from the Midwest, and he was looking for somewhere with a little less snow. And he was in luck. He was accepted into the Arizona State University W. P. Carey School of Business, which makes good use of the dry climate.
In fact, the business school welcomes incoming students with Camp Carey — a three day trip into the cool pines of Prescott, Arizona, about 90 minutes north of ASU. At Camp Carey, new students have the time to get to know each other and faculty members, and participate in team-building activities and leadership exercises. Upperclassmen mentors also attend the camp, so new students can learn ASU Sun Devil traditions and how to succeed as business students from their peers.
And weather isn’t the only thing that makes ASU special. “One of the things about ASU is it has an environment that makes you want to go to class,” Reister says. “The weather’s beautiful every single day, but also, the campus is very modern, and there are 60,000 undergrads. There’s so much going on around you, in terms of people and culture. I would fall in love with a new girl every single day I was on campus. It’s a lifestyle thing. The school is a good time.”
COMBINE THE ‘NORMAL’ WITH THE ‘NON-TRADITIONAL’
Carey Dean Amy Hillman says the business school accepts students who make A’s and B’s in high school. Once there, she says the business degree is very flexible. Students can pick from more than 30 undergraduate majors, concentrations, and business certificates, and can customize their degrees if they want to.
“You can major in the ‘normal’ subjects like accounting, finance, management and marketing or you can combine the practicality of a business degree with your passion for ‘non-traditional’ topics like law, global politics, sustainability and even Chinese and Asian Studies,” Hillman says.
And they’re always looking for new ways to help students pursue their goals. Hillman says they’ve partnered with a peer college at ASU, and soon, they’ll launch a new major in the business of fashion.
To help freshmen adjust to college and learn about everything the school has to offer, Carey has a living/learning community, designed for new students. It’s a residential community where upperclassmen “residential engagement leaders” live with freshmen and serve as peer mentors throughout the year. Students can get free tutoring in this community, and are encouraged to engage with the business program and become leaders within the college.
But whether or not they live in the Carey living/learning community, every student has a mentor to help customize their business school experience. Freshmen work with upperclassmen. Sophomores work with young alumni, and juniors and seniors have access to corporate mentors.
ONE CAREER COACH FOR EVERY STUDENT
Carey also has a business career center, where every student is assigned to a career coach. The coaches are dedicated to helping students understand the career opportunities within their chosen major, and they offer professional development assistance and soft-skills development, as well as job-search help including assistance writing resumes and cover letters, interview coaching, and opportunities to meet with potential employers.
And aside from career prep and academics, ASU has over 1,000 clubs and organizations that students can join. 42 are business specific. Within the business school, top students can be part of the W. P. Carey Leaders Academy Program, which Hillman says provides additional leadership development and engagement opportunities, and also allows students to take honors level business school classes. The business school also has extracurricular experiences with real business clients, internships, and a Fellows program where students can help run the business services of the university.
LOW EMPLOYMENT NUMBERS
And students have applied learning opportunities in class as well. Reister, the alumnus who came to ASU for the environment, says several of his classes had hands-on projects. For example, in one class they did predictive modeling concerning energy usage, to build pricing models for electricity. And in his junior and senior years, he says most of his classes had at least one project like that, which they would usually complete in groups.
However, alumni awarded the W. P. Carey School some of the lowest scores on P&Q’s survey. In particular, Carey was the lowest rated school concerning extracurricular opportunities, and the lowest rated on how accessible and willing alumni were to connect them with potential employers.
Job outcomes for alumni are also low. The school reports that only 38.4% of the Class of 2016 had an internship before graduating and only 34.9% had a job within 90 days of graduating. The average starting salary for students who did find jobs was $53,975, and top employers included KPMG, Ernst & Young, and Amazon.
WHAT ALUMNI SAY
“For my honors thesis, I conducted a study on millennials’ values and how they perceive work life balance and what companies can do to attract this new generation of talent.” – Class of 2014 W. P. Carey alum
“I studied abroad in Barcelona my last semester of college – it was an incredible experience that helped me focus on what I wanted to do with my life in regards to traveling. I finished my business courses there and it was a great experience to learn from international teachers.” – Class of 2014 W. P. Carey alum
“I worked with a team on a continuous improvement project for Target, providing cost savings analysis for our idea. We were able to present the idea to Target leaders, who gave us direct feedback on our ideas and offered the “winning” teams full-time roles.” – Class of 2014 W. P. Carey alum
Where the Class of 2016 went to work:
KPMG, LLP: 11
Ernst and Young, LLP: 7
Amazon.com, Inc: 7
PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP: 6
Goldman Sachs and Company: 6
State Farm Insurance: 5
General Motors: 5
United States Automobile Association: 4
PetSmart, Inc: 3
Pepsi Company, Frito Lay: 3