BYU Students Work at U.S. Treasury During Historic Time

Brandon Muirhead looks out his office window and sees the east wing of the White House. At the end of the day, he exits the building on the back of the ten dollar bill. "I actually work here," Muirhead says. "This is a surreal feeling."

Muirhead, along with Jordan Winder, Ryan Wood and David McCleve are Marriott School students working as interns at the United States Treasury in a time of economic turmoil of historic proportions. They are all working on various parts of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act initiative including the Troubled Assets Relief Program and the Capital Purchase Program. Some of them work in the trading room tracking world markets and conducting industry research.

"I really do feel this sense of honor that I get to work on something so important for the country," says Muirhead, a senior majoring in finance from Colorado Springs, Colo. "That really does make it worth it. The hours can be long and the work is sometimes mundane, but I get to help homeowners who are struggling and business that are facing hard times."

Working at the treasury during the recent financial crisis has been an eye opening experience for Jordan Winder, a senior majoring in finance from West Jordan, Utah.

"I've been fortunate to see the financial crisis unfold from a unique perspective," Winder says. "The United States Treasury really is ground zero of this economic situation."

Part of Muirhead's efforts includes minimizing preventable foreclosures. He works to come up with ideas on how the treasury can help struggling homeowners by making their loans more affordable.

"There are a lot of people who, with a little bit of help lowering monthly payments, can stay in their homes," Muirhead says.

So how did four BYU business students end up at the U.S. Treasury during this pivotal time? BYU alum Seth Wheeler, deputy assistant secretary for federal finance, contacted the school looking for a couple of interns.

Although Wheeler was looking for only one or two students originally, the government was so impressed with the BYU applicants they brought on four.

Kim Smith, director of the school's H. Taylor Peery Institute of Financial Services and adviser to the investment banking club, passed the opportunity along to his students. "They all had outstanding previous internships, strong undergraduate performances and they could take off for a few months and not be hurt academically," Smith says

Wheeler adds, "Ryan, David, Jordan and Brandon have each had a significant opportunity to be here this fall during the financial crisis — while a trying time for the country and for our economy, each of these interns was in a position to help be part of the solution during a very difficult period. I imagine that they will look back on this internship as one of the significant learning opportunities of their careers, though we all hope there's never another experience for any of us like this again."

The Marriott School is located at Brigham Young University, the largest privately owned, church-sponsored university in the United States. The school has nationally recognized programs in accounting, business management, public management, information systems and entrepreneurship. The school's mission is to prepare men and women of faith, character and professional ability for positions of leadership throughout the world. Approximately 3,000 students are enrolled in the Marriott School's graduate and undergraduate programs.

Media Contact: Joseph Ogden (801) 422-8938
Writer: Emily Webster