A Globe-Trotting Professional

PROVO, Utah – Aug 01, 2017 – Note: This story is from the Summer 2017 edition of Marriott Alumni Magazine. Click here to read more from the magazine.

Southern California native Shawn Bryant has more than a few stamps in his passport.

The 2000 MBA grad has taken his business experience to places such as India, South America, Europe, and Canada—an international journey that stemmed from his days at the Marriott School. It began with a chance conversation with Lee Radebaugh, former Marriott School associate dean and School of Accountancy director.

When Bryant mentioned his desire to be an international executive, Radebaugh convinced him that an MBA would help him reach his goals.

“That conversation with Lee persuaded me to apply to the MBA program and was a huge change in my career trajectory,” Bryant says. “It’s nice to reflect on that conversation because I’m doing exactly what I wanted to do, and I credit that to Lee Radebaugh. Looking back, I wouldn’t be who I am today if it wasn’t for that chance meeting.”

With an MBA as the end goal, Bryant switched his major from business management to Spanish and earned his bachelor’s degree in 1998. He then returned to BYU to follow Radebaugh’s advice, graduating with his MBA, corporate finance emphasis, in 2000.

While working toward his degree, Bryant earned a coveted Ford Fellowship for finance, one of the most prestigious and difficult internship experiences offered in the program—or as Bryant calls it, “the cat’s meow” of Marriott School finance internships.

“I felt incredibly prepared when I went to work with the Ford Finance team, and I came back with a heightened sense of accomplishment, knowing that no matter where I went, I would succeed and do well,” Bryant says.

After the MBA program, Bryant worked with Dell’s finance group before joining American Express, where he now works as the company’s VP of finance. Bryant leads a large organization of professionals across thirty-plus countries around the globe and leverages his Spanish skills to conduct business in at least five of them.

“I wanted to be in corporate America, and I chose BYU because it catered to what I wanted to do,” Bryant says. “In the end, concentrating on corporate finance at the Marriott School proved to be the right choice. If I hadn’t earned my MBA, I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing today.”

For Bryant, managing a demanding work life, international travel, family responsibilities, and community involvement requires a deliberate finesse.

He and his wife, April, have five children. Bryant also serves on the board of the Phoenix Chapter of the National Black MBA Association. But a busy schedule doesn’t mean Bryant misses out on his favorite activities: music and travel. “Family Band Night” is a regular happening in the Bryant household; each member of the family plays an instrument or two. Though Bryant is into rock, the evening’s genre depends on which family member is leading the jam session—with the exception of Green Day. “That’s one band we all agree on,” Bryant says.

Bryant also makes sure to involve his family in his international experiences; he and his wife frequently take their children on family trips, helping them cultivate across-the-globe friendships and an international perspective. Their itineraries range from international—Spain, Scotland, France, Italy, and the Czech Republic—to more domestic destinations, such as Mount Rushmore, the Grand Canyon, and even the Provo Wendy’s restaurant where Bryant and April first met.

Bryant could fill a book with the many lessons he learned at the Marriott School, including the importance of mentors and the need to give back. But for now, he’s got a plane to catch.

MBA alum Shawn Bryant with his wife, April, and their five children

Media Contact: Jordan Christiansen (801) 422-8938
Writer: Katie Olson