Digital transformation strategist prepares to use her two degrees to provide internet service to rural areas
Editor's note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable spring 2021 graduates.
Spring 2021 ASU graduate Sarah Booth embodies the unofficial Thunderbird qualities of a “business mind, service heart.” She has learned and implemented the practice of engaging all stakeholders and perspectives when considering a business idea, evident in her projects and career path.
This multistakeholder approach led her to consult for the Indonesian division of Habitat for Humanity, using her skills from the Thunderbird School of Global Management to refine their digital fundraising strategy and elevate the organization’s capabilities. With her team, she partnered with a local crowdfunding platform to launch consumer behavior surveys and used this information to find innovative ways to grow their donor base. Improving Habitat for Humanity Indonesia’s digital strategy required Booth's team to keep up to date on industry trends. She credits the project’s success to every team member’s hard work and dedication.
After graduation, Booth will take her global business skills to an internet provider operating in rural areas of the U.S. She graduated with honors with a STEM-certified concentration in digital transformation. Booth grew up in Arizona and secured the Thunderbird Alumni Scholarship to cover part of her tuition. Over the summer she’s looking forward to enjoying hiking, travel, kayaking and volunteering for various charities.
Question: Why did you choose Thunderbird and ASU?
Answer: Higher education is very important to my family, which is why I was honored to have received the Alumni Scholarship from Thunderbird. When I visited other college campuses, none of them quite felt right. When I came to Thunderbird and ASU, I knew it felt like home. In addition, Thunderbird and ASU have esteemed reputations and strong alumni networks. The alumni network helped me secure multiple internships and job offers. ASU also has a variety of resources such as cutting-edge research databases, funding for student organizations, free tickets to events, tutoring centers, and robust career services.
Q: What is the most important thing you learned from a professor or peer?
A: While there is no shortage of gifted professors at Thunderbird and ASU, the most important thing I learned was from Professor Suzanne Peterson. She taught me to always consider other people’s perspectives when pushing an idea. She said if you want to get an idea through, think through potential concerns that key stakeholders would have with your idea and find ways to alleviate their concerns.
Professor Joshua Ault’s class had students practice this concept. The class would read a case study and each student was assigned to different roles for the class discussion. The roles spanned a spectrum that included executives, customers, suppliers, governing bodies and unions. This exercise helped me understand more about the perspective of each stakeholder and it’s something I will continue to use throughout my life.
Q: What are your plans after graduation?
A: Postgraduation, I will be a digital marketing specialist at Sparklight, an internet service provider servicing rural areas in the U.S. I will be taking their email marketing efforts to the next level and also doing a little bit of digital advertising.
Q: What separated your ASU Thunderbird experience from your previous educational experience?
A: My ASU Thunderbird experience was different than any other education I’ve had because of its collaborative nature. My previous education was more traditional, learning via lecture, then taking an exam. At Thunderbird, we had many opportunities to participate through class discussions and real-world group projects. This hands-on approach prepared me for the workplace as I consistently practiced adaptability and teamwork.
Q: Have you noticed any changes in your personal life or perspective because of your ASU Thunderbird education?
A: Yes, my ASU Thunderbird education changed my perspective on life. The finance courses I took at Thunderbird helped me with tracking my personal finances and encouraged me to invest in the stock market. In addition, I constantly find myself engaging in discussions with my friends and family about the interesting case studies and lectures from school.
Q: What is something you wish people understood about globalization or international business?
A: Typically, corporations are looking for the cheapest way to operate and while this may benefit some, someone always loses out. An easy example of this is Walmart. Almost all of their products are imported from China, allowing American consumers to get the lowest prices. Having large stores saves time for American consumers as they don’t need to go to one store for groceries, then another store for office supplies, for example. However, this comes at a price of lost American jobs and putting mom-and-pop shops out of business near Walmart stores.
Q: If you had unlimited resources to tackle a global problem or otherwise improve people’s lives, what would you do?
A: If I had unlimited resources, I would make sure that all people in developing countries have access to personal computers and computer literacy training. With so many people reliant on technology, the opportunity for jobs in this space is only going to grow.