2023 Best & Brightest Executive MBA: Sean Bowie, Arizona State (W. P. Carey)

Sean Bowie

Arizona State University, W. P. Carey School of Business

Age: 39

“Recently retired Arizona State Senator with a passion for public service and public policy.”

Hometown: Chandler, AZ

Family Members: Mother Diana, two brothers Ryan and Devin, sister Tessa

Fun fact about yourself: I was named after Sean Connery!

Undergraduate School and Degree: Master’s in Public Policy and Management from Carnegie Mellon University; Bachelor’s in Political Science from Arizona State University, Bachelor’s in History from Arizona State University

Where are you currently working? Professor of Practice at Arizona State University’s Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? Other than successfully completing my Managerial Accounting course, it would be the opportunity to work on team projects with so many talented classmates, especially our first semester together.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? It would be representing the community I grew up in for six years in the Arizona State Senate, and passing multiple bills that helped restore education funding and provide greater mental health resources for students in our K-12 schools.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Phil Drake, who taught our introductory Accounting course. He was extremely well-organized, knew the subject extremely well, and taught it in a way that was easily understandable, even for someone like me who did not come from a primarily private sector environment.

Why did you choose this school’s executive MBA program? Transitioning away from elected office, I sought an opportunity to broaden my skill set and make myself more marketable for my next career. WP Carey’s Executive MBA program was a fantastic opportunity to do that, expand my network, and teach me marketable skills that I look forward to utilizing in my career.

What is the biggest lesson you gained during your MBA and how did you apply it at work? It was the importance of constructing teams and overall company culture, and how to best drive results with different departments and personalities working together.

Give us a story during your time as an executive MBA on how you were able to juggle work, family and education? My second semester was difficult, because I was in legislative session and going to school at the same time. It forced me to work even harder and better manage my time and personal commitments.

What advice would you give to a student looking to enter an executive MBA program? I would encourage them to think long and hard about where they see themselves in five years, and determine how they can get there. Does acquiring an Executive MBA help you get there, and what specific skills or capabilities do you want to sharpen as you continue to grow in your career?

What is the biggest myth about going back to school? That your classmates will be less focused or rustier because they’ve been out of school for so long. Everyone came prepared from the opening day and never let up until we graduated!

What was your biggest regret in business school? Narrowly missing out on a 4.0 GPA. I finished with a 3.98.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? There are so many to choose from, but if I had to pick one, it would be my good friend Ann Marie Frank. Her hard work, perseverance, and commitment to supporting all of us both professionally and personally elevated our cohort to another level in my opinion.

What was the main reason you chose an executive MBA program over part-time or online alternatives? The executive program was better aligned with my schedule, and I wanted the premiere experience that the business school offered, including our trips to Washington, DC and internationally.

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? Continuing my work in public service and public policy and seeking new opportunities to excel both professionally and personally!


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