“If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be ill-prepared for the challenge of becoming CEO of one of the country’s fastest growing companies,” Scott Gates told Poets & Quants upon being named its Best EMBA of the Class of 2015. “It is not an exaggeration to say that my MBA has fundamentally changed the way I look at and approach business. I am much more prepared, and much more confident regarding the unique challenges of running a $100 million business.”
So, how does one win a Best EMBA award? Scott says that just before graduation in May, he heard that Poets & Quants was asking top business schools from around the country to submit their highest-performing students. “It was a special honor to represent our incredibly talented cohort and the W. P. Carey School of Business,” Scott says.
“The questionnaire and interview process was pretty extensive,” he recalls. “The irony was I actually really enjoyed doing it. As I answered the variety of questions asked it enabled me to reflect back on the formative 21 months that made up my EMBA experience. I relived the incredible friendships, the challenging classes, the brilliant professors, and the steadfast family and friends that carried me through. It was a bittersweet capper to a period of my life that I will never forget.”
Scott earned his bachelor’s degree from the W. P. Carey School in 2004, and knew when the time came to pursue his MBA that he’d be back. “When I was young, my professional goals centered around business success that I would measure by my income or leadership position,” he told Poets & Quants. “After spending time later in life visiting impoverished communities in Mexico, Brazil, and Africa, I realized just how futile these goals seemed. Success is about so much more than making money or climbing the corporate ladder. It’s about people, and the impact you make on their lives.”
His journey led him to join Valley-based Western Windows, first as its marketing director and now as its COO. Although he is aiming to be a CEO of a $100 million company, Scott’s experiences have taught him there’s more to leading a valuable life than that. “I plan to spend my life running businesses that greatly bless our employees, our vendors, and our customers. I want to help improve the lives of people around me. If I do that, I know I will have lived a very successful life. That seems like a goal worth chasing.”
As for a short-term goal, Scott says he took the Poets & Quants competition very seriously, but was still surprised by the results. “The day I found out I had been selected was fairly surreal. Anytime you see your name, your business, and your school mentioned in Fortune magazine, it’s an unforgettable moment,” he explains. “As word got out to family, friends, coworkers, and connections at ASU, encouragement and congratulations poured in. It truly was an emotional day.”
“All I can say is I am grateful to W. P. Carey for an amazing EMBA experience,” Scott adds. “It was everything I hoped for and more. To be included in this elite group of students and represent a school that I love is an incredible honor.”