Marriott School Internship Competition and Fair Prepare Students for Internships

Four Brigham Young University students walked away with distinguished internships after competing in the fourth annual MUSA Internship Competition. New to this year's competition is an internship fair and a series of workshops to help students seek employment and improve their professional skills.

At the competition's final event on Feb. 10, sponsored by the Marriott Undergraduate Student Association, seven finalists presented a 30-second elevator pitch to a crowd of more than 200 and a panel of judges. Judges provided feedback on the students' presentations and emphasized the importance of using a friendly, casual opener and ending in a way that leaves the listener wanting to know more.

Following the finalists' presentations, representatives from the three participating companies announced their selections. The Buckner Company offered its summer marketing internship to Tyler Beck, a senior marketing major from Cincinnati.

"We wish we could hire all of you," declared Ron Gardner, vice president of sales at The Buckner Company and a member of the BYU Management Society Steering Committee. "We're very grateful for the quality of people that are coming out of this university."

In addition, Excend Capital Group awarded its private equity internship to Matt Morrell, a senior economics major from Higley, Ariz. Air Liquide chose to offer two internships in acquisitions and assets management, to Steven Marcum, a junior majoring in accounting from Salt Lake City, and Ben Fletcher, a senior accounting major from Salt Lake City.

Beck says participating in the competition was a valuable learning experience. He credits his success to preparation from his marketing classes.

"As I completed the executive summary, including some of my preliminary ideas for The Buckner Company's marketing plan, I felt confident that I could really contribute to the company because of what I had learned in the classroom," he says.

Beck and other students also had out-of-classroom experiences to prepare them for the internship application process. Leading up to the competition final, MUSA joined with the Marriott School Undergraduate Advisory Board to host activities such as résumé review workshops, mock interview sessions and a "Meet an Intern" event where students share their own internship experiences.

"We wanted to do something different this year that would benefit more students," says Andy Turner, vice president of MUSA. He notes that students are already reaping the benefits of preparation and networking; one student, for example, is currently in a final round of interviews with a well-recognized firm thanks to a contact he made at the "Meet an Intern" event.

Advisory board member Michelle Linford, who helped coordinate the MUSA events, agrees that finding opportunities to network is essential for students.

"The more experience students have interacting with professionals in their field of interest," Linford says, "the more comfortable they'll be when they're in the selection process — so that when it counts, they can communicate with confidence."

Many students also made new connections at the internship fair that followed the competition.

Jason Black, a junior accounting major from Livermore, Calif., says he discovered several potential internships at the fair and plans to apply for at least one of them. He even made contact with someone who will be able to help him with his own business, a music entertainment company.

"It was great to have all of those opportunities in one place," Black says. "And the skills I learned from the various MUSA activities will help make the selection process much smoother."

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, entrepreneurship, and recreation management and youth leadership. The school's mission is to prepare men and women of faith, character and professional ability for positions of leadership throughout the world. Approximately 3,300 students are enrolled in the Marriott School's graduate and undergraduate programs.

Media Contact: Joseph Ogden (801) 422-8938
Writer: Holly V.W. Munson