With so many business schools in the US, it can be difficult to choose the one that’s right for you.
And it’s not only the school you should be thinking about—when you’re spending two years on an MBA program in a new place, you need to know the location is right as well.
Arizona State University’s W. P. Carey School of Business has its campus just 15 minutes drive from downtown Phoenix, the fifth-largest city in the US and state capital of Arizona.
As one of the top-10 largest public universities in the country, Arizona State University offers plenty of opportunities for MBA students to get involved in campus life, and the Phoenix urban area was recently ranked the 20th best performing city in the US, meaning there are plenty of career opportunities in the local area too.
We spoke to current W. P. Carey student Abby Rudd, who grew up in Arizona, about why Phoenix is the best place for MBA students.
1. Job opportunities
While Phoenix is currently the fifth-largest city in the US, it is forecasted to move up to fourth place in the list by 2020, and this growth means plenty of companies are also finding their place in the area.
Four Fortune 500 and 13 Fortune 1000 currently call the city home, including Bank of America, Delta Airlines, and Wal-Mart—where Abby will be doing her summer internship at the end of her first year of the MBA.
“Within the past 5-10 years, we’ve seen a lot of businesses moving out to the Phoenix valley,” Abby says. “There’s a lot of opportunities for people that are not only getting an MBA but trying to build a career in business.”
In W. P. Carey’s 2017 MBA cohort, 73.4% of students had secured a graduate job by the time of their graduation, and 96% of students had secured a job within three months of graduating.
But even just two semesters into the MBA program, Abby already feels confident that she’ll find a position after her degree.
“I feel more ready to tackle the challenges of that unknown business landscape than I would have felt maybe a year ago,” she states.
As well as a hub for international corporations, Phoenix also has a great startup community in the area, and W. P. Carey is part of that entrepreneurial innovation as well.
At Arizona State University—ranked the number one university in the US for innovation—the Centre of Entrepreneurship offers a dedicated startup program to help students get their business ventures off the ground, as well as mentorship opportunities so you can get all the best business tips from entrepreneurs in the Phoenix area.
Innovation is also a strong part of the MBA program at W. P. Carey School of Business—within their Forward Focus curriculum, students get to participate in projects with non-business students in order to develop their cross-functional skills.
In the heart of Arizona, in the southwest of the US, Phoenix is less than a day’s drive from Los Angeles, but students can also take advantage of the opportunities provided within Arizona, America’s sixth-largest state.
In fact, the state is predicted to add almost 550,000 new jobs by 2026, and with W. P. Carey School of Business joined to the state’s largest university, an MBA from the school could open doors to a host of opportunities after your MBA.
As a large urban area, Phoenix offers a cosmopolitan atmosphere to rival the comparatively larger cities in the US, but, according to Abby, it’s the blend of city-sprawl and small-town that makes Phoenix so unique.
“You kind of have the best of both worlds,” she explains. “You have the opportunity to go out and explore the larger companies that are situated in the Phoenix area, but because it is a smaller town you have a lot of small businesses too.”
She also notes that the growing diversity she’s experienced in the Phoenix area is reflective of the diversity within the business school, too.
The MBA at W. P. Carey School of Business prides itself on having a variety of students in the classroom—just 27% of the incoming September 2017 cohort had an undergraduate degree in business.
“W. P. Carey brings in that are pivoting into business from different fields—it’s a unique culture that you don’t see at a lot of other business schools,” says Abby. “It’s interesting to be in the MBA classroom and hear those very unique perspectives.”
5. Opportunities outside of study
For Abby, the time spent outside of the MBA classroom is just as important as the time spent in it. “An MBA is a perfect time for over that two-year period to really broaden your experience and perspective,” she says.
As one of the largest public universities in the US, Arizona State offers MBA students at W. P. Carey plenty of opportunities to join clubs and organizations outside of their business studies, including the chance to get involved with student government and mentoring.
It’s these unique experiences, Abby says, that really make a difference when it comes to applying for a post-MBA job.
“I’ve seen the way in which recruiters are really interested in engaging with W. P. Carey MBAs because we do have a bit of a different perspective with how we approach problems,” Abby explains.
“Ultimately, you feel more prepared to get your first job because you have those broader perspectives.”