Marriott School Students Win Prestigious Language Scholarships

Years of practice and precision in a foreign language are paying off for two Marriott School students who recently received a combined $20,000 in tuition and stipends from the U.S. Department of Education.

Second-year MBA student Daniel Myers and business minor Andrew Gee, two students pursuing Global Management Certificates, have found the Foreign Language and Area Studies Scholarship to be another way to leverage their second-language skills and gain a return on investment. The scholarship encourages students of all disciplines to study less commonly taught languages and become experts on a geographical area or international issue.

"The FLAS scholarship let's you go deeper, learn things beyond the language in a particular area and find what really matters to the people and culture," says Lee Radebaugh, director of the Kay and Yvonne Whitmore Global Management Center. "Students set themselves apart when they have both the language and the area expertise."

The scholarship, available to both undergraduate and graduate students, is a strong complement to the Global Management Certificate's study of business principles, language acquisition and international issues.

For example, Myers was awarded $15,000 to study Russian and corruption within the Ukrainian education system. Inspiration for the research came while on his mission in Russia where he saw students stress­ about scrounging up a few rubles to give their professors — the only way to ensure an A.

"In places like Eastern Europe, sometimes grades are bought rather than earned," says Myers, a native of Salem, Ore. "This is particularly chilling for fields like medicine. There are also higher bribes for things like admissions to prestigious schools and outright diploma buying."

Corruption, whether in the political, educational or corporate sphere, is an important issue, especially for businesses looking to expand into different markets.

"Businesses have to know the risks and liabilities which may prevent them from entering these markets," Myers says. "Corruption is an interesting combination of politics, business and development. It's secret, it's under the table, it's illegal — trying to find a way to bring this issue to light is something I want to spend my time doing."

Andrew Gee, a business minor studying Chinese and Japanese, is using scholarship funds to study foreign direct investment in Japan.
Andrew Gee, a business minor studying Chinese and Japanese, is using scholarship funds to study foreign direct investment in Japan.
Gee, a senior Chinese and Japanese dual-major from Sandy, Utah, is using his knowledge of Asian languages and the $5,000 from the scholarship to study the intricacies of foreign direct investment in Japan, something that sparked his interest while he studied abroad in Japan last summer.

"Foreign direct investment is very low in Japan, which is odd considering it is the third largest economy in the world," Gee says. "It is difficult for businesses to get in and compete, but three Chinese IT firms have done surprisingly well in this traditionally difficult market. I'm trying to figure out what they've done and how those strategies can help companies from the United States, China or the EU to be just as successful."

Myers and Gee are two Marriott School recipients of the prestigious FLAS award, out of the 45 recipients for the 2010-2011 academic year. For those interested in applying for a FLAS award, the next round of applications for both spring/summer and fall/winter are due Jan. 15, 2011. There will be approximately 10 awards for spring/summer 2011 and at least 35 awards available for fall 2011/winter 2012. Interested students should visit or contact the David M. Kennedy Center at (801) 422-3377 for more information.

The Marriott School is located at Brigham Young University, the largest privately owned, church-sponsored university in the United States. The school has nationally recognized programs in accounting, business management, public management, information systems and entrepreneurship. The school's mission is to prepare men and women of faith, character and professional ability for positions of leadership throughout the world. Approximately 3,000 students are enrolled in the Marriott School's graduate and undergraduate programs.

Media Contact: Joseph Ogden (801) 422-8938
Writer: Carrie Akinaka