From Song to Strategy

PROVO, Utah – Nov 28, 2019 – At first glance, musical theater, business strategy, and chemistry don’t seem to have much in common, but BYU Marriott senior strategy student Connor Workman thinks the three pursuits are more similar than you might think.

Workman’s journey to BYU was rocky, but once he was accepted, he was determined to take advantage of the opportunity to get a great education. “I struggled as a student in high school,” says Workman. “But somehow, miraculously, I was accepted at BYU. I felt like I was given a new lease on life. It was the ultimate second chance.”

In high school, the Fort Lauderdale, Florida, native participated in football, track, and wrestling before discovering a love for vocal performance his senior year. Workman says this performing path was unexpected because he comes from a nonmusical family. “When I originally told my parents I wanted a guitar, they said, ‘No, we’re not paying for that,'” says Workman. “I had to save for two years before I could buy one myself.”

As a college freshman, Workman planned on majoring in BYU’s Music Dance Theatre (MDT) program because of his newfound love of performing. He has participated in productions of “Lamb of God” and “Savior of the World,” and even served as a young performing missionary in Nauvoo, Illinois, during summer 2016. “Being involved with Church productions has been important to keep my life balanced and centered on what is important,” says Workman.

While he knew he never wanted to give up performing, as a sophomore, Workman realized he also wanted a career with more stability. “Performance is a great path,” Workman says. “But it can be difficult to make a career of performance.” So, he looked to BYU Marriott to provide him with the education he needed to create the future he wanted.

Workman took the work ethic he’d gained while performing and applied it to his studies. “Knowing how to work long hours for little to no pay simply because you’re passionate about what you’re doing helped me to succeed in my difficult strategy prerequisite classes,” says Workman, who realized his newfound interest in strategy may lead to the stable career he was looking for. “Strategy is a combination of understanding how analytics work and how people work. That was so appealing to me.” After a few semesters of hard work, he made it into the BYU Marriott strategy program.

Strategy isn’t the only new interest—and talent—Workman discovered at BYU. “I thrive at three main aspects of my life,” says Workman. “Performance, business, and, surprisingly, chemistry.” After taking a chemistry course as a freshman, he was hired as a teaching assistant for chemistry professor Steven Castle. Castle believes the reason Workman succeeds in so many disciplines is because of his skill in and love of solving challenging problems. Workman’s love of chemistry led him to also pursue a chemistry minor.

Workman also feels his study of both science and performance help him be a better strategy student and, most recently, a management-consultant intern with PwC, which has offered him a full-time position starting fall 2020. “Most people don’t understand how much learning about science or taking a singing lesson could help them in business,” says Workman, who has learned to find important lessons in all of his studies and hobbies to apply to his future career.

Workman draws a comparison between scientists and business strategists. “Scientists teach frameworks of how to view the world and then use those frameworks to predict and solve problems. This is essentially what I do as a strategist,” he says. Workman also draws a comparison between performance and business strategy, saying that the time and training necessary to learn to sing well mirrors the time and training a company needs to make organizational and management changes. In order to succeed, both need sufficient time, practice, and patience.

While Workman has chosen to pursue a career in strategy, he plans to continue participating in local theater productions and studying chemistry in scientific journals on the side after he graduates in 2020. “I don’t want to lose any of my passions, because when they’re together, they work wonders,” says Workman. “Together they make me better."

Connor Workman
BYU Marriott strategy student Connor Workman. Photo courtesy of Connor Workman.

Media Contact: Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: Anne Wallace