Editor’s note: This is part of a series of profiles for spring 2019 commencement.
Henrielle “Ellie” Millon has had an interest in business since she was in high school. That interest led her to Arizona State University where she will graduate with two bachelor of science degrees — one in finance and the other in marketing — from the W. P. Carey School of Business in May. She also will receive honors from Barrett, The Honors College.
Millon was born and raised in Toulouse, France, and moved to Chandler, Arizona, as a junior in high school.
“When I was younger, I had no idea what I wanted to study. At one point, I wanted to become a scientist or a cardiologist. It wasn’t until high school that I started learning more about business and got interested in the field. Taking a macroeconomics class as a senior in high school changed my perspective on what business really is and, at that moment, I knew I wanted to become a businesswoman,” she said.
At ASU, Millon became immersed in business-related activities. She was a Sales Scholar in the business school, an exclusive sales program of 15 marketing students dedicated to developing their sales skills by engaging in practical learning and networking opportunities with professional sales executives.
She was a member of Academy Peer Programmers for Leadership Engagement, an organization that organized social and professional events for honors students at W. P. Carey. She also was a W. P. Carey Business Ambassador who helped recruit students to the business school and gave information sessions to prospective students, as well as a facilitator for an introductory business course and for Camp Carey, a three-day camp with teambuilding, entrepreneurship and business activities.
In 2017, Millon learned about hotel management, customer service and marketing during an externship with Choice Hotel Group in Cannes, France.
She teamed up with three other Barrett students to produce a documentary film titled “Being Sparky. Forks Up. Mask Off” that showed behind the scenes in the life of a student who portrayed the ASU mascot at games and events. Millon helped to produce, promote and market the film.
Question: What was your “aha” moment, when you realized you wanted to study the field you majored in?
Answer: I could not have chosen a better school than ASU for my business degrees as I have learned so much not only about my fields of study, marketing and finance, but also economics, supply chain management and accounting. Looking back, ever since I was a kid, I was interested in how businesses function. So I wouldn’t say that I ever had an “aha” moment on what I wanted to study, but I have that “aha” moment when looking at pictures of my younger self trying to sell drawings that I had made, and I tell myself, “Aha! I was made to become a businesswoman from the very beginning.”
Q: What’s something you learned while at ASU — in the classroom or otherwise — that surprised you, that changed your perspective?
A: The main skill I learned while at ASU is time management. Coming in as a freshman and wanting to join every club and organization on campus to get involved, I became overwhelmed very quickly. I soon realized that, although I am very curious and interested in numerous subjects, I needed to prioritize what to be involved with. Trying out the different organizations allowed me to see what I enjoyed and what I didn’t, and I stuck with the activities I loved the most. I started using Google Calendar — which has become a life saver — and I now include the classes I am taking, club meetings, professional events and social events to organize my days. Throughout my three years at ASU, I have been involved with numerous organizations, including taking on leadership roles, while keeping a 4.0 GPA, getting enough sleep and exercise and hanging out with my friends. What is most surprising is that, if you want to, you are able to do all of these activities in a day. Time management takes practice but, in the end, you are able to juggle everything that you want to do.
Q: Why did you choose ASU?
A: As a senior in high school, I wanted to go out of state to experience college away from Arizona and explore the world. However, a family friend brought me on the ASU Tempe campus and gave me a little tour. I learned more about Barrett, The Honors College, and W. P. Carey, along with student life and the resources offered by the university. Considering that I want to do a master’s degree in the future, joining Barrett seemed like a good fit. Along with that, W. P. Carey is well ranked as a business school, so I decided to apply. After being accepted, I participated in a program in which I spent a day with a Barrett student and slept in the Barrett residential halls for a night. I loved it, from the Barrett dining hall food, to the sports on the Sun Devil Fitness Complex field, and the study areas for Barrett students. From there, coming to Arizona State University seemed like my best option and, looking back, it really was. Everyone around you, from your professors, to your adviser, and your Community Assistant, cares about your success and how you are doing. The amount of resources available to us is indescribable and the networking opportunities available to students is greatly advantageous when you start job searching. Along with that, Barrett really creates a smaller community within ASU which quickly makes this big campus feel like home.
Q: Which professor taught you the most important lesson while at ASU?
A: Kay Faris, my WPC 101 professor, had the biggest impact on me. As a freshman just starting at the business school, she taught me to be open-minded and curious about all the opportunities on campus. Every time there was an interesting event, she would encourage me and my classmates to attend. She taught me to go out of my comfort zone and challenge myself. One of my goals was to improve my public speaking skills and she directed me to an organization called Business Ambassadors in which we give 30-minute information sessions to prospective students and their families. To this day, I am still involved in this organization and I am much more comfortable speaking in front of a large group of people. She taught me to believe in myself and always supported me when I took on leadership positions. Even when the class ended, we kept in contact and she has always been my mentor all along my college journey.
Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to those still in school?
A: The biggest piece of advice I would give to anyone still in school is to take advantage of the resources that are available and start networking and discussing your goals with professionals. College allows us to meet new people every day who have different interests than ours. Take advantage of that. There is no other time in your life where you will have access to such diversity. Attend lectures on subjects you had never thought about or ask someone you admire to get coffee to learn more about how they got to where they are. If you are unsure of what career path you want to take, meet as many professionals as possible and ask them questions about their everyday duties and what their favorite part of their work is. Meeting people and discussing with them will open doors and give you opportunities, so go out there and start doing it today!
Q: What was your favorite spot on campus, whether for studying, meeting friends or just thinking about life?
A: I have a few favorite spots on campus that I like to go to depending on what I am doing. To do homework, I go to the W. P. Carey Leaders Academy Lounge in McCord Hall. If it is nice outside and I feel like getting a drink at Starbucks and having a discussion with friends, I go on the Dean’s Patio near the Memorial Union. And, finally, when I don’t have much homework to do and I want to hang out with friends, we grab a smoothie and head over to the Vista del Sol pool.
Q: What are your plans after graduation?
A: After graduation I will be doing the International Sales Development Program for Textron Aviation. I will be spending six months at their headquarters in Wichita, Kansas, before going to Paris for another six months. During that time, I will learn about the different private airplanes they make so I can become involved in selling and servicing them in Europe. I am very excited to start this new position as I have always had a passion for private jets and am looking forward to traveling.
Q: If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem on our planet, what would you tackle?
A: If I was given $40 million to solve only one problem on our planet, I would tackle education. Education is a basic human right, but many children still do not have the opportunity to learn, especially if they live in poverty or are girls. Increasing access to education can improve health and longevity, grow economies and even combat climate change. There is a lack of funding for education, especially in developing countries. Classrooms need to be built, professors need to be trained, materials need to be bought, and everyone should get an education no matter their gender, race, ethnicity or disability. Small contributions add up to big ones and will make great impact on communities throughout the world in the long run. Everyone should be able to learn.
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