MBA Outstanding Grad combines law and business for maximum impact

May 2, 2022

Editor's note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable spring 2022 graduates.

Chikezie “Chike” Anachu was midway through his law degree when he realized more school was in his future. W. P. Carey's Outstanding Graduate Student, Chike Anachu, on the Tempe campus. W. P. Carey School of Business Outstanding Graduate Student Chikezie “Chike” Anachu was also named one of Poets & Quants' "Best & Brightest MBA" students this year. Download Full Image

“In law school, I often found myself wondering about the real impact of legal concepts and principles on business performance, especially how business-friendly regulations and policies could be used to incentivize the growth of small and medium enterprises,” explained Anachu. “Naturally, this curiosity led me to consider attending business school.”

Several years down the road, and the Lagos, Nigeria, native and W. P. Carey School of Business Outstanding Graduate Student is graduating with his MBA and has a job lined up in Dallas as an associate at McKinsey & Co. He was also named one of Poets & Quants' "Best & Brightest MBA" students this year.

Anachu shared more about his MBA experience, his most valuable graduate school lessons, and what he would tackle with $40 million.

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

Answer: One of the most profound things I learned was that leadership isn’t linear. Through involvement in student clubs and organizations, I came to realize that there will be many ups and downs in leading teams and organizations, and that’s OK. Typically, when we think of leadership, we hear strong stories of success, of getting the job done no matter what. But the down moments are often relegated to footnotes. During my time here, I have learned that moments of strength and weakness are equally important in a leader’s journey, because what matters is consistency, staying the course. Things will not always go right, and you should be prepared to adapt to those contingencies to achieve your set goals or pivot in a new direction.

Q: Why did you choose ASU?

A: Initially, ASU wasn’t on my radar, but in the early spring of 2020 a friend of mine recommended I check out the W. P. Carey MBA program. After comparing it to other schools within my consideration set, I chose ASU for its incomparable combination of value for money, quality education and optimal outcomes. As a graduate student, I wanted a program that offered the best combination of all these things so that I could justify the cost of taking two years away from work to return to school. ASU has exceeded my expectations on all three fronts, especially once considering scholarship opportunities. Looking back now, I realize how incredibly fortunate I am to have listened to my friend who advised that I apply to ASU.

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

A: I would say to make the most of it. Every minute spent on campus is very special. You’re surrounded by so much intelligence, so many cool and bright people. And you should get to know them, learn from them and share with them. Someday when you’re graduating, you will realize the magic of an academic environment is not just the classroom learning you gained, but the ways in which you grew personally, the connections you made and the challenges you overcame. If you play it safe and never embrace the full potential of a campus environment, especially one as vibrant as ASU, you not only shortchange yourself, but you will have deprived others of the opportunity to get to know you and help shape your story.

Q: What was your favorite spot on campus, whether for studying, meeting friends or just thinking about life?

A: McCord Hall was my favorite spot on campus. It’s such a modern building with many resources for graduate students. I loved to use the team rooms for personal study time and team meetings. In addition, something I especially loved about McCord was the opportunity to bump into classmates from time to time and catch up on what’s going on in their lives. You never know who you are going to meet at McCord when you go there — classmates, friends, faculty, strangers that become friends, etc., and I found that quite exciting.

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

A: I would tackle global hunger and malnutrition. I think this is a fundamental problem we have to address for the future of our planet. As climate change accelerates, entire populations are at risk of losing access to not only food sources, but their livelihoods too. Already, too many kids grow up in homes where there is no guarantee of a single meal a day, not to talk of three. Those kids are often forced to fend for themselves or become targets of abuse. Moreover, without proper nutrition, kids are mostly unable to unlock their full potential, physically, academically and otherwise. In today’s world, where we have the capacity to grow enough food to feed the entire planet, hunger and malnutrition really should be a thing of the past. Unfortunately, it is not. Without hesitation, I would invest the $40 million into sustainable agriculture and food storage systems that have the potential to strongly advance food security for vulnerable populations globally.

Emily Beach

Director of Communications, W. P. Carey School of Business

(602) 543-3296

‘Do what you love’: First-generation college student brings stories to life in theater design and production

May 2, 2022

Editor's note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable spring 2022 graduates.

Graduating senior April Maytorena worked on the recent Arizona State University theater production of “La Comedia of Errors,” a bilingual retelling of Shakespeare’s “Comedy of Errors.” Maytorena used clay to mold and create the exaggerated facial features for the production’s masks. She said the experience helped her feel connected to her grandmother on her mother’s side, who was talented with sewing and handicrafts.  During her time at ASU, April Maytorena’s focus has been on costume and props technology. Download Full Image

“She created a lot of things by hand with clay,” said Maytorena. “For me, I love being part of the creative process that brings stories to life.”

Hailing from the border town of Rio Rico, Arizona, Maytorena is a first-generation Mexican American college student. She is graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in theatre with a concentration in design and production from the School of Music, Dance and Theatre.

Despite her artistic tendencies, Maytorena hadn’t considered studying theater in college — she wasn’t even sure she was going to attend college — when her high school theater director suggested ASU. She had just finished performing in “Little Shop of Horrors” and loved being part of theater, but she wasn’t interested in being on stage again. 

“I didn't want to do acting,” Hernandez said. “I’m so thankful for the design and production program. They told me, ‘It’s OK if you don’t know much. We’ll teach you.’”

During her time at ASU, Maytorena’s focus has been on costume and props technology. She has had a hand in almost every main-stage production. Some of her credits include props artist for “Tigers Be Still,” stitcher for “CREAM!,” props head for “The Snow,” first head for “Hedda Gabler” and wardrobe supervisor for the “Emerging Artist” dance show. 

The skills she gained even led her to a position as an alteration specialist for David’s Bridal. She said she wanted to take advantage of every opportunity that came her way. 

“I just throw myself into things and hope for the best,” said Maytorena.

Maytorena’s skills and determination made faculty members take notice.

“She is an outstanding individual who has grown immensely during her four years with us,” said Connie Furr. “She is well versed in costume technology and has distinguished herself in this area. She is also an outstanding collaborator working diligently to produce high-quality costumes and props for theater and film productions.”

Question: What was your “aha” moment where you knew what you wanted to study?

Answer: I like to think back to my freshman year where I first got to create something others could enjoy. Our final project was to design for the dance show “Come AZ You Are.” We got to collaborate with the dancers. I was so excited to work with the dancer and create something. The dancer I worked with, her piece revolved heavily around her Navajo heritage. She gave me all this research to work with, and it was such a nice collaboration between us. Going through that was just like a great experience, to come together and create something. 

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

A: One thing that really surprised me was the amount of diversity in race, sexual orientation and gender identity there is here. Coming from a small town where all this isn’t talked about, it was surprising to come to the city and see how freely people talk about it. It was a bit of culture shock. I like how it helps build a community where we can be ourselves and connect with one another.

Q: Which professor taught you the most important lesson while at ASU?

A: I can’t say just one professor. I’ve worked with so many along the way, and they all taught me so much, whether sewing advice or life advice or something else. They all just inspired me so much. After all this time, it’s really a community for me, all the people who have fed me all along this journey. Last year during the summer, (Costume Shop Supervisor) Cari Smith and I were talking about shows, and she said, ‘It's not for the money, it’s about making art.’ I just sort of had a moment of realization. I thought — oh my goodness — I’m an artist.

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

A: It’s kind of cheesy, but my best advice would be to do what you love. If you’re going to spend a lot of time doing it, you should pick something you enjoy.

Q: What was your favorite spot on campus?

A: I'm always in the costume shop or the scenic shop. But when I get out of the building, one spot I love is by the Student Services building, near the Memorial Union. There’s this little spot — it’s very green and there are trees and a lot of shade all semester. I love to just go there and relax and eat my food.

Q: What are your plans after graduation?

A: I have been hired as an apprentice at the Santa Fe Opera as a stitcher. It's just for the summer. The plan so far is to come back to the Valley and work around any theater shops that are hiring. I want to work in theater one way or another. As a lover of the arts in all its forms, I hope to keep on creating with like-minded individuals. 

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

A: First, I’d get myself and my family out of debt. I would definitely put money towards the arts in schools, especially those who don't get as much funding for the arts compared to sports — here in the Valley and also in smaller towns. And then some for homelessness. It seems like there’s always enough money for war, but not enough money to actually house people. Forty million dollars just doesn’t seem like enough! It’s so much money, but at the same time, you can only do so much with it. 

Lacy Chaffee

Media and communications coordinator, School of Music, Dance and Theatre