Preparing Future Game Changers

PROVO, Utah – Dec 17, 2018 – For some courses, studying out of a book and memorizing concepts are the only ways to learn; but for a future in international business, BYU Marriott School of Business professor Lee Daniels prefers to prepare his students with experience in presenting themselves and their ideas. 
Daniels’ curriculum focuses on skill development. The students in his international business class learn to interact within a team framework and communicate succinctly in both written and oral presentations. In some classes, Daniels has his students rate each others’ group projects from one to seven and provide feedback based on the rating they give.

“Rating each other can make them uncomfortable, but the assignment helps everyone hone their presentation skills,” Daniels says, “So by the time they’re done with my classes, they’re competent and confident when they need to go into an interview.”  

Daniels wants to prepare his students to do well for their future, and his professional colleagues agree that BYU is an excellent place to do so. On one occasion, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger told Daniels that he felt BYU had a special spirit that was different from any other academic institution he had lectured at.

“That’s what I feel, there’s just something unique about being at BYU,” Daniels says, “I’ve had plenty of opportunities to go back into business, but this is rewarding, it’s fulfilling, and I’m enjoying it. So I’m still here.”

Daniels’ extensive real-world knowledge comes from his career in business management. Two of his more noteworthy positions include: president of AT&T Japan and president of Jupiter Telecommunications Company, also in Japan. Daniels was successful enough in his professional career in business that he was able to retire early and head back to the United States. 

When he and his wife moved to Park City, Utah, they were looking for a way to give back and bless the lives of others. So when Ned Hill, dean of BYU Marriott at the time, asked him if he would be interested in teaching a few courses, Daniels thought, “Why not try it out for a year or two and see what happens?” That was fourteen years ago. 

Daniels has spent many years working closely with young adults in his roles in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Daniels served as a mission president in the Japan Sapporo Mission from 2008–2011. Before his mission presidency, he was a bishop of a young single adult ward, and he served in the Provo Missionary Training Center for five years in a branch presidency after he retired. “I love this age group,” he says. “My kids used to always say to me, ‘Dad, you have more Facebook friends my age than I do.’” 

Working with BYU students is worthwhile for Daniels because he is making a difference by preparing his students. “I think my students are going to be the game changers in the world,” he says. “I can’t think of anything I’d enjoy more than to prepare them to go out into the world and be successful in their professions as they represent BYU and the church.”

Lee Daniels sits next to a full-grown tiger, while holding its tail.
Lee Daniels sits next to a full-grown tiger, holding its tail, while on a study abroad trip with his students.

Media Contact: Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: Katie Harris