Eleven MBA Students Named as 2020 Hawes Scholars

PROVO, Utah – Apr 14, 2020 – The Brigham Young University Marriott School of Business named eleven MBA candidates 2020 Hawes Scholars, an honor that carries the highest distinction given to MBA students at the school and a cash award of $10,000.

“Some years the Hawes Scholars are defined by academic excellence, and other years, they are defined by their career potential,” says Grant McQueen, William F. Edwards Professor of Finance and director of the MBA program at BYU Marriott. “I’d say this year’s scholars are characterized by their service and charity.”

Named for successful corporate executive Rodney A. Hawes Jr. and his wife, Beverly, the Hawes Scholar award was created in 1998 to recognize the accomplishments of graduating MBA students. The Hawes Scholar award is one of many initiatives made possible by the Hawes Endowment, a gift of more than $2 million used to facilitate the growth and enhancement of BYU Marriott’s nationally ranked MBA program. Hawes, a Baker Scholar from the Harvard Business School, and his wife wanted to create a tradition at BYU Marriott that recognizes and rewards excellence among students entering the business world. In addition to being widely recognized for his expertise in financial matters, Hawes has a reputation for integrity, hard work, and community service.

Students and faculty nominate and vote for each year’s Hawes Scholars. Final selection is made by the Hawes Scholar Committee and is based on academic performance, leadership maturity, and commitment to high ethical standards.

The BYU Marriott School of Business prepares men and women of faith, character, and professional ability for positions of leadership throughout the world. Named for benefactors J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott, the school is located at Brigham Young University, the largest privately owned, church-sponsored university in the United States. BYU Marriott has four graduate and ten undergraduate programs with an enrollment of approximately 3,300 students.

2020 Hawes Scholar Winners

Katie Apker plans to teach at a graduate business school one day and is currently applying for PhD programs. “Pursuing a PhD was never in my sights before I started my MBA, but the mentorship and education at BYU Marriott has made such a feat a goal within reach,” she says. Her classmates and professors share that she’ll be successful in her future endeavors because she’s “brilliant, tough-minded, and fearless.” Apker, a native of Portland, Oregon, earned a bachelor’s degree in physiology and developmental biology from Brigham Young University. Before starting the MBA program, she ran Fleur Bliss, an event design company, and Katie Max Stock, a stock-photo company serving female-led startups. Besides serving as the vice president for both BYU Marriott’s Women in Management club and its MBA Marketing Association, she has worked as a graduate teaching and research assistant and as a student recruiter with a focus on female inclusion. Apker and her husband, Mark, are the parents of three children.

Neal Ball, a native of Fairfield, California, has pursued opportunities around the world during his time at BYU Marriott. “Though many good experiences have happened within the walls of the Tanner Building, what I appreciate about the BYU Marriott MBA program is the emphasis to explore opportunities outside Provo,” he says. “Some of my favorite experiences happened at career fairs in Detroit and Houston, conferences in Cambridge and Salt Lake City, a case competition in Dallas, and international consulting opportunities in Mexico, Costa Rica, and South Africa.” Prior to beginning the BYU Marriott MBA program, Ball earned a bachelor’s degree in exercise science from Brigham Young University and worked in operations and logistics at Valero Energy Corporation in San Antonio. In the MBA program, he serves as president of the Supply Chain and Operations Association. He was also named a scholar by both Savage Global Consulting and the Healthcare Industry Association. His classmates and professors share that Ball “is the heart and soul of the Supply Chain and Operations Association.” He will return to San Antonio with his wife, Chelsea, and their son to work as a senior project manager at USAA, an insurance and banking company for military members, after his graduation.

Josh Brooks is from Mesa, Arizona and graduated from Arizona State University with a bachelor’s degree in accounting. After graduating with his bachelor’s degree, he first worked at KPMG and later worked at Republic Services with their financial planning and analysis team. During his time at BYU Marriott, Brooks has contributed to the BYU Marriott MBA program by serving as president of the Strategy Consulting Club, the vice president of BYU’s Adam Smith Society chapter, and the legal director for BYU Marriott’s student-run venture capital fund, Cougar Capital. Last summer, Brooks interned in New York City with PWC’s management consulting practice. BYU Marriott classmates and professors share that Brooks is always willing to help others, and he has been a resource to other students throughout his time in the MBA program. He notes that his fellow students have also blessed him throughout his journey. “In the BYU Marriott MBA program, I have learned that we all have our own unique value and ability to contribute,” he says. “This lesson was reaffirmed to me time and time again as I saw fellow classmates continually surprise and inspire me in unique ways.”

Preston Darger is grateful for the opportunity to represent the Hawes legacy of service leadership. “The Hawes family name carries such an important legacy,” says Darger. “My goal is to strive to continue their commitment to service, giving, and generosity.” Darger, a native of Boise, Idaho, started his career in athletic marketing at BYU and Utah Valley University following his graduation from Brigham Young University with a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in advertising. Before returning to BYU to enter the MBA program, Darger worked in New York City managing partnerships and sponsorships for BMW. “I came to the BYU Marriott MBA program with a specific goal in mind,” says Darger. “I knew the industry, company, and role I wanted coming out of school.  Because of the resources available to me as a student, I was able to achieve exactly what I had set to do.” During his time in the BYU Marriott MBA program, he has led his fellow students as president of the MBA Marketing Association. Darger also completed a commercial strategy internship with Delta in 2019, and after graduation he will return to the company full-time with his wife, Audrey, and their two-year-old son, Wells. Darger’s classmates and professors share that he embodies Christlike leadership and BYU values.

Jonathan Fortuna, a native of Peoria, Illinois, has been the managing director of the Kaizen class, a finance sherpa as part of the BYU Marriott’s sherpa program, and a member of the spiritual affairs committee during his time at BYU Marriott. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University–Idaho with a degree in business management and worked at Robert Half as an analyst/accountant and the Arizona Department of Revenue as an auditor after his graduation. Fortuna interned with Intel Corporation in Arizona in 2019, and he will return there after graduation to work on the company’s finance and accounting team. While reflecting on his experiences in the program, Fortuna shares that the students and professors have made the experience of earning his MBA at BYU Marriott valuable to him. “BYU Marriott has such a strong internal and external network of support that is genuinely interested in seeing you succeed in your career and in life,” says Fortuna. “I have made lifelong friends through this experience that have pushed me to be the best version of myself.”

Ruchika Goel is from Rourkela, India, and she earned her undergraduate degree in biomedical engineering from the National Institute of Technology in India. After graduating, she worked as a senior software engineer at Capgemini and a design engineer at the GE Healthcare Global Research Center. When she moved to the United States, Goel discovered her interest in management as she volunteered for nonprofits. Goel interned with Dell Inc. in 2019, and she received a full-time offer to return after her graduation.  She has served and grown in the MBA program as a marketing sherpa, a graduate teaching assistant in corporate strategy, a portfolio director within Cougar Capital, and an executive director of marketing on BYU Marriott’s Student Council. She also serves on the leadership team of Adam Smith Society’s BYU chapter.  Classmates and professors share that Goel exemplifies “intelligence, kindness, a willingness to work hard, and the ability to lift others.” Goel is grateful for her classmates and professors who have helped her feel welcome in the Tanner Building. “I don’t know of any other MBA school in the country where students can feel so valued, protected, and supported, no matter what their background is,” she says. Reflecting on her time in the program, Goel says,“The BYU Marriott MBA program always challenges you to grow out of your comfort zone and has deepened my confidence to thrive in any environment.”

Lawrence Lee’s classmates and professors share that he sees value in every individual, and he makes sure that every person feels included. “The biggest lesson I've learned in the program is that the world can always use more genuine, industrious, ambitious, compassionate leaders who strive to be better for self and others,” says Lee. “We can each choose to elevate those around us in small ways every day.” Lee, a native of Walnut, California, earned his bachelor’s degree in economics from Brigham Young University. He has worked as COO of an online retail startup and worked in retail and commercial banking with three major banks prior to starting the BYU Marriott MBA program. In the MBA program, Lee has involved himself in student organizations as a director in Cougar Capital, the finance track lead of the sherpa program, and the chief inclusion officer in the MBA Association Executive Council.  He has also interned with Amazon and AllegisCyber Capital.

Michael Moore graduated from Brigham Young University with a bachelor’s degree in information technology and later graduated from the University of Minnesota with a master’s degree in geographic information science. Prior to starting the BYU Marriott MBA program, Moore, a native of Ironwood Michigan, worked as a senior software engineer for LuminFire. In the MBA program, Moore has served as BYU Marriott’s MBA Association COO and a supply chain sherpa. After graduation, he will work in operations and production for pharmaceutical company Bayer in Missouri. He is grateful for the classmates and professors that have made his MBA experience memorable. They share that he’s made a positive impact on every other member of the program. “I feel like I have been adopted into a family that will have my back going forwards. I know that I'll be happy to help out my fellow BYU MBA alumni however I can and that they'll help me in my career too,” he says.

Jordon Patton’s most memorable experiences in the BYU Marriott MBA program include leading the student mentorship program as the head sherpa and traveling around Central America consulting for Walmart as a Savage Global Consulting scholar. He also served in class leadership and as the vice president of external relations for BYU Marriott’s Supply Chain and Operations Association. “The BYU Marriott MBA program provides immersive opportunities that help you gain real-world experiences and develop strong relationships,” he says. Patton, who is from Salt Lake City, graduated from Brigham Young University with a bachelor’s degree in business management with an emphasis in marketing. Prior to the MBA program, he worked for Shell Oil Company in sales and logistics. Classmates and professors share that he has a knack for making anyone he talks to feel special and cared for. He interned with Apple Inc. in Austin, Texas, where he will be returning after graduation with his wife, Amy, and their two children. “The BYU Marriott MBA program has helped me develop holistically and has provided a springboard into a career that I'm thrilled about,” he says.

Austin Pollard will start a full-time, brand-management position at Kimberly-Clark Corporation after graduating from the BYU Marriott MBA program. He looks forward to serving with Christlike leadership in his professional life. “Effective leadership can change lives for the better when founded upon the teachings and example of the Savior Jesus Christ,” he says. Pollard, a native of Alpine, Utah, earned a bachelor’s degree in business management with a strategy emphasis from BYU Marriott, and he worked at General Mills managing sales and customer relationships after graduating. Pollard and his wife, Audrey, are the parents of three children, with Audrey having served as the treasurer of BYU Marriott’s MBA Spouse Association while he has been in the program. “The culture and support structure of the BYU Marriott MBA program enables me and my family to thrive together,” Pollard says. He shares that his most meaningful experiences as an MBA student have been his opportunities to serve as BYU Marriott MBA Student Association president, a sherpa mentor, and a member of Kaizen leadership. He has also worked as both a marketing career mentor and a teaching assistant for brand management and strategy.

Tiago Triumpho, who is from São Paulo, Brazil, earned his bachelor’s degree in physics and a master’s degree in astronomy from the Universidade de São Paulo in Brazil. He worked as a data science manager at the Itaú Unibanco Bank prior to starting the BYU Marriott MBA program. Triumpho has worked as the vice president of business development of the BYU Marketing Lab and a teaching assistant for the core marketing course. After his first year in the MBA program, he worked in the Development Program of Strategic Marketing at Owens Corning in Ohio. Professors and classmates share that Triumpho is kind and humble, and he uses both hard work and intelligence in everything that he does. He and his wife, Leticia, have four children, two boys and twin girls. Upon graduating from the BYU Marriott MBA program, Triumpho will reenter the workforce with new knowledge and a new vision. “The BYU Marriott MBA program gave me an amplified vision that allowed me to see a company not as a place to work but as an organization that I can impact and grow,” he says. “The MBA experience opened doors that would never be available otherwise.”

The Hawes scholars with family representatives Holly and Steven Hawes and BYU Marriott Dean Brigitte Madrian at the Hawes Scholar luncheon
(Back, left to right) Neal Ball, Josh Brooks, Austin Pollard, Preston Darger, Lawrence Lee, Tiago Triumpho, Michael Moore, and Jordon Patton; (front left to right), Katie Apker, family representatives Holly and Steven Hawes, BYU Marriott Dean Brigitte C. Madrian, Jonathan Fortuna, and Ruchika Goel at the Hawes Scholar luncheon.

Media Contact: Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: Kenna Pierce