W. P. Carey Outstanding Graduating Senior pairs global perspective with individual impact

Editor's note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable spring 2021 graduates.

The W. P. Carey School of Business is proud to bestow this year’s Turken Family Outstanding Graduating Senior Award to Shakki Bhat.

Graduating with degrees in business global politics and supply chain management, Bhat aspires to be a leader who advocates for equitable and ethical business practices. He additionally participated in the Tillman Scholars Leadership Through Action program, served as a justice for ASU Undergraduate Student Government, worked at ASU’s Luminosity Lab and served as a mentor for RISE Tutoring.

While Bhat’s accomplishments over his time at W. P. Carey are impressive and numerous, what truly makes him stand out is his ability to foster relationships with his peers and inspire change. For example, while working at Luminosity Lab, he organized a team to solve a community problem, culminating in the program “Forks for Families,” a twice-weekly food distribution system in the Valley. Bhat plans to use this unique ability for the betterment of the world as he pursues a career in international business policy, specifically on how governments, NGOs and private-sector companies promote ethical business.

While his gaze is global, Bhat has also displayed a tremendous commitment to the W. P. Carey community and his peers. He is a business ambassador, Leaders’ Academy APPLE, WPC 101 facilitator and more.

We talked with the outstanding graduate to learn more about his ASU experience.

Question: What as your “aha” moment, when you realized you wanted to study the field you majored in?

Answer: I decided I wanted to major in global politics after studying and working abroad in Spain the summer after my freshman year. I was amazed at the similarities and differences between our two societies. That interest, as well as my upbringing in an immigrant household, has made me want to go into a field where I can work on solving global issues. Throughout my time at ASU, I’ve had the chance to meet multiple former heads of state, U.S. senators, ambassadors and many other people making an impact around the world. The W. P. Carey global politics degree, paired with supply chain management, has provided me with a diverse perspective I will carry throughout my career.

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

A: A lesson I have seen displayed firsthand at ASU is the power of individual action. I have met tons of amazing people making a difference in their communities, many of whom are my age or younger. At ASU, I have seen students work on projects that provide education to refugees, micro-financing to small businesses, and platforms for underrepresented groups to have their voices heard. They have taught me that instead of waiting for change to occur, we have the power to make a difference in our own communities through our everyday actions.

Q: Why did you choose ASU?

A: Being a sibling of an ASU graduate and Arizona native, I have always had some interest in the university. What really propelled me to the university was the opportunity to be a part of the Next Generation Service Corps program, which is designed to develop character-driven adaptive leaders who drive positive impact both locally and globally by exposing them to cross-sector collaboration. Comprised of students from over 150 majors, the chance to be a part of this unique four-year program made my decision that much easier.

Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to those still in school?

A: After spending over a year of college on Zoom during the pandemic, one piece of advice I’d give is to appreciate the people around you and be active in the ASU community. College is more than just getting an education; it is a time to make lifelong friends and find out who you really are as a person. Whether it be going to an ASU sporting event, joining a student organization on campus or spending time hanging out with other students, some of my most treasured memories have come from the experiences I’ve had at ASU. Have fun because it will fly by before you know it!

Q: What was your favorite spot on campus, whether for studying, meeting friends or just thinking about life?

A: My favorite spot on campus is the W. P. Carey dean’s patio. It is a nice place to see friends, grab a coffee, and see what is going on around campus!

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

A: If I was given $40 million to solve one problem, I would use it to improve global infrastructure in order to tackle the technological divide. It is estimated that over 40% of the world’s population does not have access to the internet; in the United States, that number amounts to over 18 million people. In a world where knowledge and education are the great equalizers, I believe it is vital to provide individuals with access to the internet. Concurrently, I would also utilize the funding to promote internet critical-thinking initiatives that enable people to be digitally literate and spot online disinformation.