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Master's graduate uses 'global mindset' for international business management

Portrait of ASU grad Taylor Hess.

Taylor Hess, Thunderbird School graduate and School of Earth and Space Exploration student worker. Courtesy photo

May 08, 2024

By Gabrielle Sangervasi

Editor’s note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable spring 2024 graduates.

Rio de Janeiro's pearl white beaches and lush rainforests. The bustling streets of Brazil's financial district in Sao Paolo. Colorful colonial mansions lining Santo Amaro’s narrow historic streets.

Arizona State University graduate Taylor Hess’s academic journey has taken her a long way from her small hometown of Huntington, West Virginia. But her study abroad trip to Brazil while pursuing an undergraduate degree in marketing at West Virginia University is what solidified her interest in international business. Now, she will graduate this spring from Arizona State University’s Thunderbird School of Global Management with a master's degree in global management.

“I studied abroad in Brazil for three weeks for the purpose of analyzing how marketing and business as a whole works across areas with different levels of industrialization,” Hess said. “I had always known that I was going to pursue my master’s degree one day, and studying international management seemed like a perfect marriage between the field that I had studied during my time in undergraduate and my interest in culture.”

After realizing what she wanted to study, Hess was drawn to Thunderbird. The school has a 75-year history in the field of international management and strives to instill a “global mindset” in its students, faculty, staff and alumni, a skill Hess believes will greatly benefit her future career.

“A global mindset is characterized by a set of individual qualities, communication skills and actionable knowledge that empowers those in leadership roles to influence multicultural individuals, groups and organizations. Living in a vastly connected world means that we must look at problems with a collective approach while embracing perspectives different from our own,” Hess said.

Thunderbird School Distinguished Professor of Practice Euvin Naidoo first met Hess while teaching Principles of Accounting. Her growth mindset when presented with tough questions or challenges set her apart as one of the standout students in his class. And in his opinion, Hess epitomizes the global mindset.

“Taylor was a key voice that leaned into a challenge and took others along,” Naidoo said. “At Thunderbird, our goal is to ultimately teach our community to be problem-solvers and continuous learners. Taylor did these but also did so with empathy and encouragement to all around her.”

While working toward her degree, Hess was awarded the Thunderbird Alumni Scholarship. Hess also participated in Thunderbird’s Global Challenge Lab with a team of her peers. For this capstone experience, they worked on-site for three weeks with a cosmeceutical startup in Barcelona, Spain, to create a U.S. market entry strategy for the company.

When Hess wasn’t studying abroad or working on class projects, she worked in the School of Earth and Space Exploration (SESE) with the community outreach group as a marketing assistant. 

“Taylor joined SESE as our student worker to support our marketing efforts,” said Kim Baptista, media relations and marketing manager for SESE. “She has been an integral part of our group and has helped us tremendously with our marketing efforts for SESE.” 

After graduation, Hess wants to continue focusing on global marketing and brand management.

“I am eager to bring my passion and skills to a dynamic role within a brand agency or a cosmetics company,” Hess said. She is looking forward to shaping brand narratives and strategies on a global scale, and the opportunity to have a great impact.

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

Answer: This is a difficult question, but with those resources, I would focus on combating poverty, climate change and animal cruelty. I would want to use the money to create jobs, improve education and health care to break the cycle of poverty, invest in renewable energy to combat climate change, and enhance animal welfare and conservation to prevent cruelty. Each of these issues are dear to me and it would be my goal to create long-term sustainability in the prevention of these issues.

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

A: I have had the privilege of having many astounding professors during my time at ASU and each have taught me valuable lessons along the way. While pursuing my degree, I have taken three separate classes (Principles of Accounting, From Agile to OKRs, and AI and the Future of Work) with the esteemed Professor Euvin Naidoo. I have learned countless lessons in his classroom from guiding principles of ethical AI in such an unprecedented time for the technology to the fundamentals of agility, but the lesson I have kept with me throughout each of the classes is to always keep asking questions and stay curious. It is through this persistent curiosity that we can not only learn from others, but others can learn from us as well leading to further understanding and connection. This is a lesson that I will carry with me and one that I believe is paramount in today’s world.

Q: Any influences from past teachers, friends or family?

A: My parents, both veterans of the U.S. military, have been the most significant influences in my life. They not only instilled in me the value of resilience, integrity and service but also prioritized my autonomy. They continuously support me in exploring my passions and career interests. This openness to pursue my own path has been invaluable. My interest in international management was sparked by my father's experiences overseas. Similarly, my mother, a nurse in the military, showed me the value of service and the strength it takes to stand out as a woman in a male-dominated field. Their strength and resilience has shaped me into the person I am today, and I could not be more thankful for their examples.

Q: How do you balance the demands of graduate studies with personal life and self-care?

A: I won’t lie, it is challenging to balance the demands of your studies, your personal life, your work and self-care all at the same time. It is neither an uphill or downhill battle, but an ongoing road with peaks and valleys. However, I really believe in having a strong support system around you that understands and empathizes with what you are going through. I have made many incredible friends during my time here that have not only supported me, but fundamentally understand what it means to balance studies and life as they were doing the same thing. It is a really special gift when you can find people who are going through the same experiences as you and offer help or guidance along the way.

Q: What advice would you give to incoming graduate students to help them make the most out of their ASU experience?

A: Never stop learning. You will inevitably learn much throughout your coursework at ASU, but I challenge incoming graduate students to learn from peers and experiences outside of the classroom. The community around us is bursting with knowledge, and overlooking any aspect of the community or opportunity to learn from it is truly regrettable.

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