ASU grad reflects on his growth as a marketer and a leader

July 23, 2020

Juan Valenzuela, a management and marketing graduate from Scottsdale, said the benefit of being at Arizona State University was all the leadership opportunities at his fingertips. One of the many that he took advantage of was working as a community assistant for Vista Del Sol

His experience as a CA gave him a broader awareness of different cultures and backgrounds.

“It helped me to be more acquainted to different sorts of cultures and ideas. It made me become less ignorant as a person,” he said.

ASU graduate Juan Valenzuela

Valenzuela says that being a CA taught him how to work better with other people while respecting them, an important skill for his career in business. Valenzuela’s favorite part of working as a CA was “just building connections and relationships with residents and seeing them grow.” 

“It’s still very rewarding to kinda help them find what they are good at and recommend clubs or meetings or organizations they can get involved in and see them grow throughout the year,” Valenzuela said.

Along with his duties as a CA, Valenzuela was also part of Barrett, The Honors College, a member of the American Marketing Association, and a Fleischer Scholars Program peer mentor.

He was a recipient of the New American Scholarship, the NAMU Provost scholarship, the C.R. Krimminger Fund Scholarship and the Kenn Rowe Scholarship

“I’m just really thankful for the scholarships I got that allowed me to come here. If it wasn’t for that then I probably wouldn't have come here in the first place and I would have missed out on what turned out to be the best four years of my life so far,” Valenzuela said.

As Valenzuela graduated, he reflected on his time at ASU and shared advice for current Sun Devils. 

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

Answer: It actually started all the way back in my freshman year of high school when I joined this marketing class my high school offered. Unexpectedly I just became really good at it; I was really interested in it. We had little marketing competitions we went to with other high schools. I even won some trophies and awards there. So I was kind of like you know what, before that I was kind of lost, but now maybe I can keep doing this.

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

A: Well there's too many to count. I’d say a really important one is probably just like to take advantage of every opportunity you have. It's kind of crazy, looking back at the past four years I’ve been here, the level of opportunities that you have right at your fingertips in such a big school like this one is just incredible. 

I consider myself to have done a really good job in my four years here, and I think that I did what I had to do. It's inevitable for me to have something that I wish I did back when I was a sophomore or freshman because there are just so many opportunities for leadership, learning more about what you are interested in or even doing little fun things like intramural sports. It’s all gone before you realize it. If you see an opportunity that's just kind of dangling there just grab it.

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

A: I would say John Dietrich. The biggest lesson he taught me when it comes to sales is never sell yourself short. So for example if you are giving a sales pitch don’t keep giving discounts on top of more discounts to attract customers. He told me that if what you are selling is really good and you know that what you are selling is the best option out there then you have no reason to be discounting it all the time because your customers are paying for the quality they get. That lesson just kind of taught me that if you're really good at what you do, never sell yourself short.

Q: What are your plans after graduation?

A: I accepted a full-time job offer as an insight sales executive at DHL express at their Tempe office. So basically I am selling DHL’s shipping services to other businesses.

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

A: Well the two things that are kind of in my head right now is climate change and also battling infectious diseases. I would say long-term I think climate change.

Q: What was the theme of your ASU experience?

A: Work hard and play hard. As simple as that.

Q: What courses at ASU have been the most applicable to your professional experience post-grad?

A: I would say MKT452, Business to Business Marketing Strategy, has been the most applicable to my professional experience post-grad since the class focused on business-to-business selling extensively. With that being said, I recently took a job as an account manager at DHL Express post-grad where I am selling DHL’s shipping services to different businesses, which is just what the class was about!