Interview with Ruthie Pyles - Director of Admissions & Recruitment (W. P. Carey School of Business)

F1GMAT: The W. P. Carey MBA program has put emphasis on leadership development and in-depth learning. How is the curriculum structured to help MBA students?

Ruthie Pyles (W.P Carey MBA): The W. P. Carey School of Business full-time MBA program, currently ranked Top 30 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, features a leadership-development component that starts in the first quarter of study and continues through both years. We immerse students in a 360-degree peer review process and provide individual assessments, which include faculty feedback.

Students begin their leadership development with courses in strategic leadership, career leadership and organizational behavior. These classes utilize self-tests and peer feedback to help students develop personal insight into their own strengths and weaknesses. Students also work on personal-development plans, focusing on their own leadership skills. Plus, we teach students cutting-edge theoretical frameworks and best practices for leading organizations and employees. Throughout the first year, students learn how to champion and implement innovative ideas through participation in a business-plan development competition. We also teach negotiation skills.
In the second year, students have opportunities to practice their leadership skills as leaders of our many MBA student organizations. They take courses in ethics and global macroeconomics. At the end of the program, we hold a student leadership awards program that recognizes student growth and achievement in this area

F1GMAT: Can you share some of the concentrations that 2nd Year MBA students can choose from?

Ruthie Pyles (W.P Carey MBA): Whether our students are seeking to change careers or just dive deeper into their current fields, our areas of emphasis and specializations provide students with the breadth and depth of knowledge necessary to succeed.

We offer areas of emphasis in entrepreneurship, finance, health sector management, international business, marketing, leadership, supply chain management and sustainability.

Separately, our specializations allow students to distinguish themselves amongst their MBA peers and, as such, 50 percent of our full-time MBA students pursue multiple specializations.

Recently, our applicants have shown a strong interest in the areas of marketing and finance. The Strategic Marketing and Services Leadership  specialization allows students to learn critical skills and gain knowledge needed to implement superior service quality and services strategies to create a competitive advantage. Students specializing in Financial Management and Markets develop their analytical skills, learn how to manage risk, and grow to understand the links between business strategy and finance.

Our Supply Chain Management specialization is very popular, since our supply chain management programs consistently rank Top 5 in the nation. This specialization teaches students how to gain their companies a competitive position by strategically managing the flow of raw materials, work-in-process inventories, and finished goods. Students can also combine popular areas, such as with our Supply Chain Financial Management specialization.

Since we have one of the top MBA programs in the country, we consider it our responsibility to remain adaptive to the marketplace. One of the ways we remain proactive is by identifying business-community needs, such as the one for more professionals in the healthcare industry. We recently responded with the creation of two new specializations: Strategic Marketing and Services Leadership - Health Sector Management and Supply Chain Management and Health Sector Management.  These specializations combine functional training (in this case, marketing and supply chain) with health sector industry training.

Our final specialization, Information Management, covers everything from the basics of databases to the complexity of systems integration, information securities and controls, and project management.

F1GMAT: How is the student life at W. P. Carey School of Business?

Ruthie Pyles (W.P Carey MBA): Pursuing your MBA is a demanding, but fulfilling experience. It really is what you make of it, and YOU have the ability to determine how involved you want to be. A student can join a variety of clubs and organizations, becoming a well-rounded future leader. The W. P. Carey MBA Experience is more than attending classes; it is learning to work in teams, developing long-lasting relationships, and building leadership skills for the future. These experiences can occur in a classroom setting, but more often than not, they happen when a student leads a club or interacts with his or her classmates outside the classroom. The students at the W. P. Carey School share a common bond as they all start the MBA journey together, and over time, become a support system for each other as they move toward achieving their future career goals, transforming into dynamic business leaders that can navigate through an evolving business landscape.

It is important to note that we have a strong student services team to help with advising, course selection, registration, scheduling and navigating the university system, so students can just focus on their education and their experiences.

F1GMAT: Can you share some of the recent International electives?

Ruthie Pyles (W.P Carey MBA): At the W. P. Carey School, we know that business reaches far beyond the borders of the classroom; it stretches around the globe. One of the ways we prepare our students to understand how business gets done on a global scale is to provide them with opportunities to experience business in other countries. This is done through our international electives and was profiled in an article in The Wall Street Journal.

Last year, we sent students to Peru, Austria/Czech Republic and Germany. We also had students participate in our Business and Public Policy course in Washington, DC, where they met key political players.  In 2013, our students will have the opportunity to participate in international electives in Argentina, China, Austria/Czech Republic, Germany and Peru. Our programs are offered over the spring break and also during the summer, so they do not conflict with classes. Generally, our full-time students can work with their internships or employers to start after the international program is complete.

In addition to the knowledge you gain, participating in international programs is also a great way to increase your peer network, since the international components are offered to students in all of our various MBA platforms, including the evening and online MBA programs. There may also be opportunities to meet MBA students from other universities while you are traveling, since these programs are very collaborative. Each of our international programs provides opportunities to go on company visits and meet with upper-level management, which really helps bring the business concepts you learn in the classroom to life. The networking and hands-on experiences that students receive during these programs add value to their MBA experience.

F1GMAT:  What are some of the unique courses and activities offered in the MBA program?

Ruthie Pyles (W.P Carey MBA): The W. P. Carey School of Business full-time MBA program offers students several unique courses and activities throughout the two-year experience.

Some of our more unique courses include digital marketing, sustainability and social responsibility, and consulting in business. The consulting course is well-suited to our applicants interested in entrepreneurship. In this course, student teams develop strategies and business plans for entrepreneurial businesses. Interaction with company representatives gives students the ability to apply consulting theories and skills learned in class.

Here at the W. P. Carey School, the excitement isn’t limited to the classroom; we also have several unique opportunities to get involved outside the classroom. Each specialization offers an academic organization in which student leaders drive and coordinate activities. Local industry leaders are invited to “Lunch & Learn” events to give students a realistic view of what a career looks like in that particular industry. Outreach trips are also coordinated by these organizations. Students travel to different cities to tour various companies within a particular field. Students are able to learn firsthand what these professions demand and make valuable connections within the companies.

Our diverse student population fosters participation in our MBA Cultural Association (MCA). Students representing countries from around the world make presentations and coordinate authentic experiences for all students to experience throughout the year. The annual “Confluence” event highlights students’ native food, dances, poetry, songs and other talents from the many different backgrounds of our students.

There are a variety of ways to get involved here at the W. P. Carey School, and each of them will help make your MBA experience unforgettable.

F1GMAT: What are some of the post-MBA opportunities available for MBA graduates?

Ruthie Pyles (W.P Carey MBA): The W. P. Carey School of Business has a stellar graduate career center to assist with job searches and one of the highest MBA placement rates in the country. Some companies that recruit at the school include Johnson & Johnson, Apple, Dell and Chevron.

Our graduates find success in many different industries and functions. Post-graduate opportunities range from leadership development and rotational programs in Fortune 500 companies to experienced hire roles in small organizations, and everything in between. Members of the class of 2012 reported successful employment in 12 distinct industries and six broad functional areas. Technology was the most popular industry, with more than 30 percent accepting positions in the sector. Operations/supply chain management and general management were the most common functions.

F1GMAT:  Can you give our readers a snapshot of the latest class?

Ruthie Pyles (W.P Carey MBA): The W. P. Carey full-time MBA program enrolled about 18 percent of its applicants this year. The school thrives because of its students, who bring a diverse combination of cultures, ideas, backgrounds and professional experiences into the classroom.

The class of 2014 represents 14 states and five countries.

The incoming class is 20-percent Arizona residents, 38-percent other U.S. residents and 42-percent international; the most represented countries outside the United States are Canada, China and India.

Understandably, the Southwest is the most popular U.S. region from which our students hail. The next most popular are the West and Midwest regions. 

Twenty-five percent of our first-year class is female, and 18 percent of the students are considered U.S. ethnic minorities.

Different outlooks and perspectives shape not only the students, but also the MBA program itself.

The majority of our first-year students hold business undergraduate degrees, but this is proportionally followed by students from engineering, economics, science/math and humanities majors (in that order).

With an average of 4.8 years of full-time work experience, post-undergraduate, our students add to the classroom’s diversity of thought with prior experience in the following occupational areas: technical/MIS/IT, marketing/sales, business operation, consulting, supply chain management/logistics, finance/accounting, administration, general management, construction, human resources, and production.

F1GMAT:  What are the entry criteria in terms of the number of years of experience/GMAT/GPA for the Full-time MBA program?

Ruthie Pyles (W.P Carey MBA): One of the things I enjoy most about working in the admissions office at the W. P. Carey School of Business is that we have the opportunity to read through each aspect of an application and get to know all of our applicants on a personal level.

This year’s class had an average grade point average (GPA) of 3.38; the middle 50 percent of students had GPAs of 3.14 to 3.62. The average Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) score is 675; the middle 50 percent of students had GMAT scores ranging from 650-710. Again, the average post-undergraduate work experience is 4.8 years. However, numbers do not tell the whole story and are merely a place to begin. What some students lack in experience, they make up for in academic achievement. Remember, there are a variety of things we consider during the application process, and each and every applicant brings something unique and exciting to the table. We look forward to hearing YOUR story.

This year, we’re also hoping to offer more assistance to some of our best applicants. The school is unveiling a new scholarship program called The Wm. Polk Carey Memorial Scholarship Fund, which will provide financial support for some of the highest-achieving individuals. The exclusive scholarship is named after the school’s benefactor, real estate investor and acclaimed philanthropist Wm. Polk Carey, who donated $50 million to the school in 2002/2003. No additional application is required for the new scholarship program; all successful full-time MBA applicants will be considered for the scholarships. Even before this, the W. P. Carey MBA was known for stellar return-on-investment for tuition.

F1GMAT:  What are some of the defining characteristics that you look for in a W. P. Carey Full-time MBA candidate?

Ruthie Pyles (W.P Carey MBA): Although this is one of the largest business schools in the country, and we have access to tremendous resources, the full-time MBA program at the W. P. Carey School of Business focuses on small class sizes and personalized learning and engagement with world-class faculty in a tight-knit community. Due to our size, it is very important to the admission staff that we take great care in creating a diverse and dynamic class. It is our expectation that each member will contribute in a significant way.

Our students come from a variety of different backgrounds and areas of expertise; however, they all share an intellectual curiosity and a desire to learn from their faculty, as well as each other. Each student is an active participant in his or her education, and the students crave that tight-knit community where they can create an impact and have the opportunity to deepen their core knowledge, develop their soft skills and refine their emotional intelligence.

To learn more about the W. P. Carey School’s MBA programs, go to www.wpcarey.asu.edu/mba

About Ruthie Pyles

Ruthie Pyles has served as director of admissions and recruitment at the W. P. Carey School of Business since 2011. Her primary responsibilities are centered on the recruitment and enrollment of the full-time, evening, weekend, online and executive MBA programs. In addition to the MBA programs, she is also responsible for the admission and recruitment of four specialized master’s programs in the school, including master’s degrees in business analytics, supply chain and engineering, real estate development and management. Prior to joining ASU, Ruthie held a dual appointment as admission center manager and associate director of admission at the University of Southern California. She received her bachelor’s and completed her M. A. in communication management with an emphasis in corporate and strategic communication from USC. Ruthie specializes in meeting student needs and expectations throughout the recruitment and admission process. She is passionate about connecting students to opportunities that are right for them and feels fortunate to help students achieve their personal and professional goals everyday.

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