ASU Thunderbird grad wants to improve life in her home country of Peru
Editor's note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable spring 2021 graduates.
Ana Paula Chavarry Pizzorno has worked everywhere from nonprofit consulting and managing to analyzing credit risk and founding her own company. To say she is an active learner would be an understatement. Ana has maintained a 4.0 GPA while organizing speakers, mentoring women and soon-to-be-released inmates, and assisting in developing the economy of her home country of Peru, where she has strong ties.
Chavarry Pizzorno’s father studied in one of the Thunderbird School of Global Management's executive programs in 2012 and she was accustomed to Thunderbird alumni from around the world frequenting her house when they visited Peru. After almost attending school in France and then China, the stories of the T-birds she met made her realize that Thunderbird was her home, too. With a focus on becoming an ASU Thunderbird graduate, Ana has spent time with previous cohorts of T-birds and they always made her feel welcome. As a member of the Class of 2021, she is graduating from ASU with a bachelor’s degree and entering her final year of Thunderbird’s 4 + 1 program.
Question: What led you to focus on international business as your academic concentration?
Answer: I chose international business because it has always been a dream of mine to work for a large multinational corporation. I decided to focus on digital transformation because I knew that I could leverage those skills later on in my career. I am very interested in coding and data analytics.
Q: What is the most important thing you learned from a professor or peer?
A: I thought I knew how to work with different people, but as soon as I got here I discovered I knew so little. I learned to push myself and I focused on academics but also spent time building my network with classmates and professors. I have loved studying in the U.S. because it pushed me to do multiple things — I have had internships, part-time jobs, taken on 24-credit semesters and tested my limits and boundaries. I learned about my strengths and weaknesses inside and outside of class from peers, professors and lecturers. I have been able to have eye-opening conversations with peers about trends and dynamics around the world such as the politics of sustainability in Brazil, for example. In Thunderbird’s Latin America Club we were able to have these kinds of conversations with people from so many perspectives.
Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to those still in school?
A: Don't think that you don’t deserve a position or a job. People and especially women often don’t think they are qualified for opportunities that are available to them. Sometimes I get a “no” and that’s fine but sometimes I get a “yes.” I see this a lot in women who are making their way in the business world. It is intimidating to even look at other applicants and think they are so much more qualified, but you have value to bring as well. Know your worth and what you bring to the table. Don't downplay your gifts. Be confident.
Q: What are your plans after graduation?
A: This summer I will be an internal audit intern at Western Union, but my professional experience is diversified. I have worked in corporate banking and managing projects in an NGO. I’m not in a rush. I would love to be a consultant long term, but I have a duty to my country and I feel that everything I learn I need to bring back to Peru, especially with the political crisis going on there right now. At this point, I’m just trying to jump into every great opportunity that comes my way.
I just started a platform connecting Peruvian artisans with conscious buyers around the world with another student, Nuria Shu. I have learned from all my internships and experiences and I’m already bringing those new skills to my current business.
Q: Have you noticed any changes in your personal life or perspective because of your ASU Thunderbird education?
A: Thunderbird draws in global citizens who want to change the world (and) who love culture and you get people who are like-minded in this way but come from such diverse backgrounds, both where they are from and their languages, religions and professional histories. I have learned small nuances that come with these differences and this is what has really enriched my life, and helped me learn more about myself as well.
Q: What is something you wish people understood about globalization or international business?
A: People come from two clashing sides of those who are in favor of globalization and advanced technologies, and others are against it who think it hurts small operations and only benefits large corporations. I see both sides and I think with everything in life, it’s important to understand both sides and learn the facts. We have to learn about negative impacts to learn how to mitigate them and make global business more equitable. The extremes of each side are where things get dangerous.
Q: If you had unlimited resources to tackle a global problem or otherwise improve people’s lives, what would you do?
A: Giving back to our community has always been ingrained in my family. I’m not religious but I was raised in a religious household and respect a lot of the teachings, one of which being that if you have a talent, it is a responsibility that you do more with it. Every opportunity you have is an opportunity to give back.
Problems are multifaceted. The more you work in social impact, the more you find more problems, but the root of everything is education. If I had unlimited resources, education is what I would focus on, not just for children, which is important because they are the future and deserve access to quality education, but it’s also imperative to teach practical skills to adults. I would love to teach business skills and provide entrepreneurial training to people in developing countries so they can generate opportunities for themselves, their families and their communities.