A BYU Marriott Education Extends to Harvard

PROVO, Utah – Apr 16, 2019 – Deciding between two summer employment opportunities, especially two great organizations that seemed like a perfect fit, was the root of conflicting emotions for BYU Marriott student Autumn Clark. As Clark traveled to attend the Harvard Business School Dynamic Women in Business Conference this semester, she hoped some resolution to her questions and concerns could be found in consulting with experienced and diversified women. She was not disappointed.

Clark, a junior studying information systems, wasn’t BYU Marriott’s only attendee—forty students from a variety of BYU Marriott programs attended the conference. Many of the students were attracted by the opportunity to experience Harvard University and learn from successful women in business. The conference, though the main attraction, only made up a portion of the students’ positive experience.

Prior to the day of the conference, many BYU Marriott students were able to shadow Harvard students, as the Harvard students went about their regular class schedule. Clark who hails from Cardston, Alberta, shadowed a Harvard student and attended a class on building enterprises, a discipline that interested her. “I learned about setbacks and challenges in that line of work,” she says. “Learning from Harvard professors was neat, and I especially loved the experience of being on campus and realizing that this is what a Harvard student walks through every day.”

When the day of shadowing came to a close, many BYU Marriott students had dinner with and received career advice from BYU alumni who were working professionally in the area, as well as participated in an informal question-and-answer session with BYU alumni attending Harvard. “Chatting with the alumni provided a lot of insight for me personally,” says Orem-born Kiersten Ernstrom, a senior in the IS program. “The experience of meeting people who were in my shoes at one point gave me a better idea of what I want to do with my life.”

For Ernstrom, the opportunity to attend the conference and interact with and learn from successful women in business gave her guidance for her current plans and future career. Ernstrom says attending the conference inspired her to make a difference in whatever she did. “Sometime women have the thought that they can’t do something, but the women at this conference helped reinforce the idea that we can do anything we set our mind to,” says Ernstrom. Additionally, the panels taught her the importance of “knowing what your priorities are and working towards them.” Ernstrom says the speakers emphasized that there’s nothing wrong with doing what’s necessary to balance one’s personal and professional desires.

Clark praised BYU Marriott programs that provide unique opportunities for her to grow on academic and personal levels. She notes that each experience, conference, and event she chooses to participate in provides her with a chance to become a more competent and caring individual. For Clark, her experiences at the conference helped her with her pressing decision—helping her determining what path to take in her career. “I went to the conference trying to decide between two job opportunities I was offered this summer,” she says. “I was able to consult with some of the speakers on what they would recommend.” Clark says the advice she received helped her decide which offer to accept and help her move in a direction she feels good about.

“BYU Marriott not only helps students find and go to amazing experiences that promote personal growth, but the school also brings similar experiences to campus such as competitions, conferences, and experts in their field as guest lecturers,” notes Ernstrom. Recognizing that opportunities for growth stem from the people she’s had the opportunity to interact with, Ernstrom is especially grateful for the community of alumni created by BYU. “Wherever you go, you can find someone who graduated from BYU,” she says. “The thread that weaves BYU alumni together is strong, and Ernstrom looks forward to being a part of the tight-knit group in the near future.

BYU Marriott students pose for a picture at Harvard University.
BYU Marriott students pose for a picture at Harvard University. Photo courtesy of Michelle Checketts
Students from all over the country attend a class at the Harvard Business School Dynamic Women in Business Conference.
Students from universities across the country attending a session at the Harvard Business School Dynamic Women in Business Conference. Photo courtesy of Michelle Checketts
BYU Marriott students pose for a picture at Harvard University.
BYU Marriott students pose for a picture at Harvard University. Photo courtesy of Michelle Checketts

Media Contact: Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: Maren Cline