NetTrekking across America
PROVO, Utah – May 10, 2018 – As a recruiting trip coordinator for BYU Marriott, Hunter Wixom is quite literally giving accounting students a foot in the door at some of the top companies in the country.
Over a year ago, Wixom, an accounting senior from Salt Lake City, came up with an idea to host networking trips designed specifically to help accounting students gain a better understanding of different industries and prepare them for their future careers. Through the trips, students have toured companies such as American Airlines, Adobe, Disney, Toyota, and Bain & Company.
“Not every BYU Marriott accounting student will end up working for the Big Four,” Wixom says. “By giving students exposure to other companies, they can gain a better understanding of what they want to do and what fits best for them.”
Wixom was inspired by the networking trips, dubbed NetTreks, organized by the Department of Finance's Finance Society. In fall 2016, Wixom traveled with members of the society to San Francisco to learn more about corporate finance. While touring various technology companies, he realized that the tech industry wasn’t for him.
“Company culture and location are both big factors in choosing a job,” Wixom says. “Going on that trip helped me figure out where my passions were.”
Wixom realized that he wasn’t the only accounting student who could benefit from such experiences. He approached Brian Voigt, accounting director at the BYU Marriott Business Career Center, to discuss expanding NetTreks to include a greater focus on accounting.
“When Hunter came to me with the idea, I was immediately on board, as long as he agreed to be the student leader,” Voigt says. “His motivation, passion, and desire to serve made him the perfect person to lead these trips.”
The first trip Wixom planned took students to Dallas in March 2017. Since then, students have also visited Salt Lake City, Los Angeles, and New York City. An average of thirty students go on each trip.
Wixom meets with students beforehand to review their résumés. Students are also asked to research each company and come prepared with questions and talking points, as well as an elevator pitch to tell potential employers about themselves. He wants students to be confident in their interactions with the professionals.
Students have enjoyed the trips immensely, according to Wixom. He has received feedback that students benefited from learning about the companies, building networks, and defining their career paths. Multiple students have also received job offers that resulted from the company visit.
“The coolest part of this experience is helping students get jobs,” Wixom says. “The companies see the students fitting in with their culture and their employees, and they are more likely to hire students who show genuine interest in the company and make a proactive decision to come.”
Based on such positive feedback, NetTreks will continue, even after Wixom graduates.
“These trips are Hunter’s legacy at BYU Marriott,” Voigt says. “I’m going to miss working with him.”
In addition to planning the NetTreks, Wixom works for a local startup company and manages a venture capital fund. He will graduate this December and plans to apply to MBA programs at Harvard and Stanford.
Wixom credits each of his successes to the mentorship and guidance he has received through networking. He has enjoyed his chance to serve his classmates and plans to continue to support BYU students as an alum.
“I enjoy being able to give back to BYU when it has given me so much,” Wixom says. “It has been a powerful experience to make an impact.”
Media Contact: Jordan Christiansen (801) 422-8938
Writer: Maggie Kuta