Applying Campus Skills Beyond the Requirements

PROVO, Utah – Sep 07, 2021 – Completing an internship is a graduation requirement for the experience design and management program (ExDM) in the BYU Marriott School of Business. Because of the importance of these positions, the ExDM program helps its students—including seniors Andrew Manger, Melissa Jensen, and Madeleine Pitcher—to be prepared for their internships beyond just checking off a requirement.

For Manger, his ExDM classes not only readied him for his position, the ExDM program also helped him find his current internship. The New Haven, Connecticut, native works for the Mexican restaurant chain Costa Vida as a marketing intelligence specialist. Manger’s current boss, Ben Rabner, is also one of his former professors at BYU Marriott. Shortly after Manger finished Rabner’s class, Rabner was hired as Costa Vida’s chief marketing officer, and he needed an intern to focus on employee and customer insight. Manger heard Rabner was hiring, reached out, and was brought on for summer 2021.

In his role, Manger works on teams with members of Costa Vida’s marketing division, working both remotely from his apartment in Provo and at the company’s corporate headquarters in Lehi, Utah. He says the ExDM program prepared him well for this type of collaboration since most of his classes involve group work. “Working with others on projects is applicable to the workforce because you’re always going to be collaborating with other people to accomplish goals and acquire the resources you need,” Manger explains.

The ExDM program also helped Jensen land her internship. She works for the Utah Motorsports Campus in Tooele, Utah, as an event organizer. In 2020, Jensen attended meetings for the Experience Design Society (ExDS), a BYU Marriott student association that helps ExDM students network with and learn from each other. At one event, Jensen attended an event that featured a guest speaker, who is now her boss at the Utah Motorsports Campus. When Jensen, who hails from Meridian, Idaho, heard the company was hiring, she remembered how interesting and friendly her would-be boss had been at the ExDS meeting. Jensen decided to apply in order to work with someone who would create a fun work environment.

The decision to work for someone she had met previously has paid off for Jensen. “I have only worked at the Utah Motorsports Campus since March of this year, but my boss trusts me, and I have been able to fulfill what she envisions for the role I’ve been in,” she says. Jensen has already been offered a full-time position with the company after her graduation in April 2022.

Jensen also applies the skills she developed in her ExDM classes to her internship every day. “I took ExDM 412: Event and Experience Management, which is all about preparing for events,” she says. “As an event planner, I constantly use what I learned in that class to plan corporate events, wedding receptions, motorsport competitions, large festivals, and more.”

The BYU Marriott ExDM program is also responsible for Pitcher’s internship. She is spending her 2021 summer in Surfside Beach, South Carolina, as an experience coordinator at the Grand Palms Resort. Like Jensen, Pitcher took ExDM 412 during the winter 2021 semester. In that class, a guest speaker and ExDM alumna who is currently employed with Grand Palms talked about the possibility of doing an internship at the resort. The alumna explained how the internship connects to ExDM, and Pitcher decided to apply. She also relished the opportunity to return to the East Coast and be in the same region as her home town of Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia.

Pitcher views the experience as worthwhile because the internship relates to her future goals. “I want to work in hospitality, so this internship is perfect,” she explains. “In the hospitality world, job offers and promotions are based on how much experience you have. I knew I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to gain more experience.”

Like her fellow students, Pitcher uses experience design principles in her internship. “In the ExDM program, we talk about empathy and how you need to understand a guest’s perspective in order to make their experience more personal,” she says. “On my team at Grand Palms, we frequently think about what guests and families want and how we can make their time at the resort special.”

These three interns are a few of the many ExDM students who participated in internships this past summer. The program strives to support its students in their efforts to maximize their education, gain valuable experience for their future careers, and fulfill their graduation requirements. To that end, ExDM internship coordinator Joel Agate works with students to help them expand their horizons and find the best possible internship positions.

“Too often students don’t realize how many wonderful opportunities are available to them,” Agate says. “I urge our students to go out and find internships all over the country. At BYU we say, ‘The world is our campus.’ I want students to embrace that mantra and find a position that takes them down the path they want to go in their career and personal life. That way, they’re not just saying ‘the world is our campus,’ they’re actually living it.”

BYU Marriott ExDM senior and Costa Vida intern Andrew Manger. Photo courtesy of Andrew Manger.
BYU Marriott ExDM senior and Costa Vida intern Andrew Manger. Photo courtesy of Andrew Manger.
Melissa Jensen (left) enjoying the racetrack at her internship with the Utah Motorsports Campus. Photo courtesy of Melissa Jensen.
Melissa Jensen (left) enjoying the racetrack at her internship with the Utah Motorsports Campus. Photo courtesy of Melissa Jensen.
BYU Marriott ExDM senior Madeleine Pitcher during her time as an experience coordinator at the Grand Palms Resort. Photo courtesy of Madeleine Pitcher.
BYU Marriott ExDM senior Madeleine Pitcher during her time as an experience coordinator at the Grand Palms Resort. Photo courtesy of Madeleine Pitcher.

Media Contact: Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: Mike Miller