Skip to main content

Thunderbird Outstanding Graduate uses education to propel own company forward

December 04, 2023

Editor’s note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable fall 2023 graduates.

As the founder and president of Nutritional Manufacturing Services (NMS) based in Chandler, Arizona, Shannon Heying is always looking for ways to become a better leader and provide the highest-quality nutritional products and solutions to her customers. 

Headshot of Shannon Heying
Shannon Heying

Earning an Executive Master of Global Management (EMGM) at Arizona State University's Thunderbird School of Global Management proved to be one of these ways. 

“I chose Thunderbird to enhance my skills and stay competitive in the global market. Back in 2014, Thunderbird was on my radar, but its full-time schedule and Glendale location didn't align with my business and family life. Fast forward to 2022, an email about the executive master’s degree program grabbed my attention. It promised flexibility, an enriching space for collaboration, and networking with diverse professionals, allowing me to balance education, career, and family,” the Outstanding Graduate Student said.

The deciding factor for Heying to enroll at Thunderbird? "The new modern facility at ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus, equipped with cutting-edge technology and staffed by renowned experts, confirmed I was making the right choice."

Heying made great use of the state-of-the-art facility and her time in the EMGM program, putting the knowledge and skills obtained to land NMS a spot in the rankings of the Top 50 Private Fastest Growing Companies by the Phoenix Business Journal and Chandler's Top 100 by the Chandler Chamber of Commerce. 

And, after graduation, she plans to continue to take her business — and her own growth — to the next level.

“My time at Thunderbird has been incredibly rewarding and transformational. I've encountered amazing individuals and acquired skills that have propelled me toward my personal and professional aspirations,” Heying stated.

“My primary focus post graduation is to expand my business, drawing on the valuable insights and knowledge acquired at Thunderbird. I'm committed to mentoring and empowering my team, fostering their career development while also striving for a more balanced life.”

Below, Heying elaborates on her Thunderbird journey.

Question: What do you love about being a T-bird? 

Answer: Being a T-bird is something I greatly value, especially because of the people. This includes the professors and administrative staff, who are exceptional in their roles, and my cohort, a group of diverse and inspiring individuals. What's even more remarkable is the instant welcome and sense of belonging I feel from the alumni. They create a supportive and inclusive community ready to connect, share insights and collaborate. This network of knowledgeable and open-minded people spanning the globe and various industries is invaluable. The collective wisdom, diverse perspectives and strong sense of community make being a T-bird a unique and enriching experience.

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

A: One of the more unexpected lessons from Thunderbird was learning more about myself, which in turn made me a more effective leader. For example, an assessment revealed my highly individualistic nature. I felt very stressed when I had my first group project and recognized the connection there. The vulnerability of not being in control during intense and challenging projects was nerve-racking. However, what I learned was that these collaborative environments, enriched by diverse backgrounds, lead to a much greater outcome. In every team, I found myself among highly intelligent individuals who excelled in areas where I had less expertise. Their support and coaching were invaluable. This experience helped me reshape my approach to leadership in my own company, fundamentally altering my approach to collaboration and reaching higher levels of entrusting others with leading important projects.

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

A: I gained so many valuable insights from some incredible professors, making it difficult to single out just one here. However, one area where I experienced significant learning was in Professor Youngdahl's Digital Transformation course. This topic was a key reason I returned to school, as I aimed to keep my business relevant and connect with experts in the field. Professor Youngdahl's course was particularly impactful, equipping me with the knowledge and tools to enhance efficiency and modernize my business practices. While I have grown and evolved from the lessons of all my exceptional professors, creating a better version of myself, it's the practical and applicable lessons from this course that I find myself actively applying in my business today.

Q: What is your favorite story from your time at Thunderbird? 

A: A great story from my time at Thunderbird involves a remarkable effort by one of our cohort members, Brian. Professor Ramaswamy once shared his regret about missing an opportunity to meet a certain business leader he had done a case study on that he deeply admired. Inspired by this, our classmate went above and beyond as he managed to coordinate a surprise Zoom session with this business leader, who in turn gave us an inspirational talk and shared his story. It was not just impressive in terms of the effort and coordination required, but also deeply touching to see how it moved our professor. This experience highlighted the spirit of initiative and community that defines Thunderbird.

E32 cohort members
Heying smiles with her fellow E32 cohort members in TGM 530: Big Data in the Global Economy, one of the core classes of the EMGM curriculum. Courtesy photo

More Business and entrepreneurship


Exterior of McCord Hall on ASU's Tempe campus.

ASU’s business school offers new, innovative undergraduate degrees

In line with rapid innovations in business and technology, the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University is…

June 20, 2024
Photo of a group of people, some of whom hold large novelty-sized checks.

Thunderbird’s annual Pitch Competition fosters entrepreneurialism

The A. Masrin Center for Global Entrepreneurship and Family Business at Thunderbird School of Global Management at Arizona State…

June 07, 2024
Models in colorful clothing pose in an outdoor setting.

Design student turns passion into a prize-winning fashion line

Thanks to her success in combining a passion for fashion with industrial design expertise, graduate student Uzoma Ndulue recently…

June 05, 2024