2017 Best & Brightest: Spencer William Elliott, Arizona State (W. P. Carey)

Spencer William Elliott

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

“Professional snow skier, maintained three businesses during undergrad, and went completely deaf sophomore year.”

Fun fact about yourself: When I was 10, I played chess on behalf of the United States with the U.S. Chess for Peace team in Russia.

Hometown: Ahwatukee, Arizona

High School: Mountain Pointe High School

Major: B.S. Economics and B.S. Entrepreneurship

Minor: Honors Business Consulting (Certificate)

Favorite Business Courses: W. P. Carey Capstone Course, Industrial Organization and Competition Theory, Business Model Development, and Honors Advanced Macroeconomic Theory.

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:

Vice-Chair, City of Phoenix Village Planning Committee. I was the youngest person appointed to a City of Phoenix post, and was elected unanimously to the position of Vice-Chair for the Ahwatukee-Foothills Village.

Humanitarian Mission to Costa Rica. Traveled to San Jose, Costa Rica to help finance and construct an orphanage.

Flinn Scholar. As the most prestigious scholarship in the State of Arizona, the Flinn Scholarship, in partnership with Arizona’s public universities, covers room and board, tuition, fees, travel abroad, and development opportunities.

McCord Scholar. The McCord Scholarship Program is the most prestigious scholarship within the W. P. Carey School of Business, and includes a mentorship program (in which Scholars advise incoming freshmen), community service events, and other personal development activities. Through the McCord Scholars Program, I participate in community service with the Ronald McDonald House, St. Mary’s Food Bank, and other charitable activities and organizations.

A.G. Bell College Scholarship Recipient. The Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing awards merit-based scholarships to the nation’s highest performing college students who are profoundly deaf. I have bilateral cochlear implants, and am completely deaf without them.

Ahwatukee Chamber of Commerce Foundation Scholarship Winner. I wrote a competitive business plan for the Chamber’s outreach and placed first among the submissions.

Additional Awards/Scholarships: Halstead Foundation Scholarship, W. P. Carey Department of Management Merit Scholarship, DECA International Competition Winner Scholarship.

New Venture Group: a class/extracurricular consulting group that provides services for real-world clients.

Devils’ Advocates, Arizona State University’s recruitment organization.

Business Ambassadors, the student-run recruiting organization for W. P. Carey.

Honors Societies: Beta Gamma Sigma, Phi Kappa Phi, Phi Theta Kappa

Where have you interned during your college career? Simplicit Financial in Scottsdale, AZ as a financial analyst.

Describe your dream Job I would like to be an entrepreneur who runs my own private investment firm. I will invest in other companies to increase their productivity and help other entrepreneurs succeed. Business is about people, and I would like to help others as part of the process of pursuing my own goals.

Who is your favorite professor? Dr. Fernando Leiva Bertran, economics faculty who was my instructor for Intermediate Microeconomics and Industrial Organization and Competition Theory. He taught me to think like an academic economist.

Which executive or entrepreneur do you most admire? John Bogle for creating a financial industry through sheer force of will and by making smart decisions. He brought investment opportunities to the “common man.”

What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business? Very few things are as they immediately seem, and that your “gut” instinct can be your most valuable tool.

Where would you like to work after graduation? I plan on attending graduate school. Afterwards, I would like to join a law firm in order to have a deeper understanding of the legal aspects of business, especially contracts.

What are your long-term professional goals? I would like to earn a JD and MBA, start a business that lends to and invests in other businesses, and become an author and speaker who specializes in financial education.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? Two things: 1.) Go to class. 2.) Only work in positions that teach you how to specialize, even if other jobs pay more.

“I knew I wanted to major in business when…at the age of 4, I learned about the power of compound interest. I later confirmed it when I met a billionaire who told me to go to Law School!”

“If I didn’t major in business, I would be…a speechwriter and historian.”

“Before I entered business school, I wish I had known…that life is an exciting adventure – it is okay to enjoy it along the way!”

What was the happiest moment of your life? When I was able to successfully help people in Guatemala by volunteering for a medical humanitarian mission and serve as a dental assistant. We worked for over a week to bring medical care to one of the poorest regions of the country.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? My most proud moment was when The Arizona Republic, the major newspaper for the greater Phoenix metropolitan area, named me a “Person to Watch” in their year-in-review publication.

What animal would you choose to represent your professional brand? The Eagle, for its keen vision, loyalty, and power.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? K. R. Scott, for teaching me the importance of attention to detail and focusing on specific goals.

What would you like your business school peers to say about you after you graduate from this program? “I’d vote for him.”

Favorite book: The Law by Frederic Bastiat.

Favorite movie: The Silence of the Lambs. I mean, who doesn’t enjoy a nice chianti?

Favorite musical performer: Eagles. Not “The” Eagles, just Eagles.

Favorite vacation spot: Puerto Peñasco (Rocky Point), Sonora, Mexico.

What are your hobbies? I enjoy trying new and exotic foods, and pairing them with wine or distilled spirits. I love skiing, playing chess, reading, and thinking big thoughts.

What made Spencer William such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2017?

“It is an honor to have Spencer Elliott represent the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. Any student who has created and managed three businesses before even graduating from college is simply amazing, and that’s Spencer. He has an inner drive and an innate entrepreneurial spirit to achieve while giving back to the community, making him an exemplar W. P. Carey student.

Spencer’s accomplishments have come both inside and outside of the classroom. He has served the City of Phoenix on a planning committee and participated in humanitarian missions to Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Mexico. He has contributed to the business school in many ways, from serving on the Dean’s Advisory Council to teaching incoming freshman in our WPC 101 class. Prior to receiving bilateral cochlear implants while in college, Spencer was completely without hearing, yet one would never know that he has a disability. He is one of the most positive, genuine students that I have had the pleasure to know, and I have no doubt that he will continue to make us proud for years to come.”

Tim Desch
Assistant Dean
W. P. Carey School of Business, Arizona State University



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