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Scholarship enables master’s student's dream of a law degree, inspires him to give back


photo of Vince Nicholes and family

Vince Nicholes (center), who graduates this fall with a master’s degree in legal studies and business administration, as part of a concurrent degree program between the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law and the W. P. Carey School of Business, poses with his family.

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December 06, 2019

Editor’s note: This is part of a series of profiles for fall 2019 commencement.

Vince Nicholes is a busy father and working professional who is about ready to graduate with a master’s degree in legal studies and business administration, as part of a concurrent degree program between Arizona State University's Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law and the W. P. Carey School of Business. When reflecting back on his law school and business school journey, Nicholes considered himself lucky for this opportunity.

“I have a top-ranked business school and law school in my town. It allowed me to minimize disruption to my career and family life while pursuing a world-class education,” Nicholes said.

Recently, Nicholes was promoted to the western region development manager for T-Mobile, and credits his participation in this degree program for that recent success. However, like many students, Nicholes had a few challenges balancing school and his professional life.

“There were times when I felt over my head,” Nicholes said. “To face these challenges, I looked to others who had gone before me for advice and I broke the challenge down into manageable pieces.”

Nicholes was also the recipient of a scholarship that helped to lessen the loan debt that some students face while in graduate school. He recognizes the opportunity that came to him from receiving financial support.

“I likely would not have pursued the dual degrees had I not gotten the help and encouragement that came with the scholarship assistance,” Nicholes recalled. “Associate Dean Menkhus was also a great help in encouraging me to stay on track. The scholarship allowed me to finish my degrees with considerably less student loan debt.”

ASU Law sat down with him to learn more about his ASU Law and W. P. Carey School of Business journey.

photo of Vince Nicholes

Vincent Nicholes, Fall 2019 Graduate.

Question: What was your “aha” moment, when you realized you wanted to study both law and business?

Answer: I had always been interested in studying law but due to career and family obligations, did not have the flexibility to pursue a JD. While researching the evening MBA program, I learned about the concurrent MBA/MLS program and saw it as my chance to finally do it.

Q: What’s something you learned while at ASU Law — in the classroom or otherwise — that surprised you or changed your perspective?

A: The subjectivity that exists, and has always existed, in our laws is a double-edged sword. It can be a source of liberation or oppression, depending on the skills — or lack thereof — of the person wielding it.

Q: What has your experience at ASU Law been like?

A: Invigorating. Learning about the intersection of the law and business has been enlightening and invigorating.

Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to those still in law school?

A: To current and future MLS students: you get out of it what you put into it. Dig into the materials and take advantage of the opportunity to learn from the professors.

Q: If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem on our planet, what would you tackle?

A: Easy. Discipline in education. I would engage with the 'school-to-prison pipeline' that exists in many parts of the country where disruptive behavior — particularly of students of color — is treated as criminal instead of an opportunity to teach and develop.

Q: If you could speak directly to the philanthropists that donated for your scholarship, what would you like to tell them?

A: I believe that, next to a relationship with your creator, an education is the most redemptive goal a person can pursue. I sincerely thank you for enabling me to pursue mine. Please continue to do this work and help others. Because of you, I will too.

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