Not As Easy As ABC

PROVO, Utah – Mar 18, 2019 – BYU Marriott School of Business students are taught to have winning business communication skills, but Kylan Rutherford, a 2018 economics grad from Thousand Oaks, California, is using his communication skills to literally win competitions. Rutherford took first place in The Association of Business Communication (ABC) annual competition, which tests the writing abilities of business students around the country. 

The ABC case involved participants taking part in a hypothetical performance review of a talented employee who doesn’t work well with others. After reading the summary of a successful meeting to set goals and openly discuss issues, participants were instructed to write a review of the meeting in an email to the employee to solidify the goals set in the meeting. 

Rutherford drew upon his experience in group projects throughout his undergraduate career and at the Missionary Training Center to formulate his response. Rutherford focused on presenting the expectations for the employee in a reasonable way. “I said, ‘You are a valued employee, which is why we are having this meeting. We want to keep you,’” Rutherford says. 

According to Rutherford, written communication skills are imperative for success in business. “Group projects during my undergrad were definitely an inspiration for my answer,” he says. “I had to work to perfect the skill of motivating colleagues to do their part without offending them.” 

In 2017, Rutherford was awarded second place in the same ABC writing competition. Though that was a prestigious placing, Rutherford decided to aim even higher the next year. “I thought to myself, ‘Okay, I’m good at this. Let’s go again and see what I can do,’” he explains. While the first-place cash prize was worth the effort, Rutherford says what made the difference between winning first and second place was the annual ABC conference winners are invited to attend in Miami. 

Normally at the conference, the competition winner only hears a variety of academic presentations from business communication teachers around the country. However, Rutherford’s sponsor, Marianna Richardson, a BYU Marriott adjunct professor and editor-in-chief of the Marriott Student Review (MSR), was unable to attend, and Rutherford was asked to fill in and present in her place. 

Rutherford presented his and Richardson’s work on the Marriott Student Review, a student-run publication at BYU Marriott focusing on business, where Rutherford worked with Richardson as the managing editor for two years. While Rutherford already knew he was interested in teaching, presenting at the conference solidified that desire. 

“I chose to sponsor Kylan both years because he is a talented writer,” Richardson says. “He is well qualified, and I believe working with the Marriott Student Review primed him for the competition.” Richardson first noticed Rutherford’s superior writing abilities and understanding of business communication through his work at MSR. 

Rutherford is currently applying to political science PhD programs at some of the country’s top universities and will begin a program in the fall. Richardson says she is happy with the way Rutherford has used his winning communication skills to positively represent BYU Marriott and the Marriott Student Review around the country. 

Kylan Rutherford
Kylan Rutherford

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