2022 Eccles Scholars Recognized for International Aspirations

PROVO, Utah – Jun 15, 2022 – Ten BYU Marriott School of Business MBA students were recently named 2022 Eccles Scholars by the school’s Whitmore Global Business Center (GBC). The Eccles Scholars award program provides up to $9,000 in scholarship money to 10 first-year MBA students who are enrolled in the Global Business Certificate program and show a dedicated commitment to international business. 

This award is funded through the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation, which honors the philanthropic efforts of George and Dolores Eccles. During their lifetimes, the couple continually looked for ways to the meet the needs of their Utah community. The foundation supports programs that seek to enrich students’ experiences and provide learning opportunities. 

The Eccles Scholars are chosen after applicants submit résumés and letters of intent, as well as complete interviews with BYU Marriott faculty members. All applicants must be enrolled in the Global Business Certificate program and have prior international experience, fluency in a second language, and a desire to pursue a career focused on international business. 

“When we as faculty at the GBC select the Eccles Scholars, we look for students who have the potential for an international trajectory and are examples of the high-caliber of students in our MBA program,” says Jonathon Wood, managing director of the GBC. “I am confident that this year’s group of students will live up to what we hope for in our Eccles Scholars. I look forward to watching their careers grow as they become global leaders.”

2022 Eccles Scholars Recipients

After graduating in 2003 from BYU–Idaho with a bachelor’s degree in business administration, Marisa Davila earned a bachelor’s degree in education from the Secretariat of Public Education in Mexico. She then completed a master’s degree in applied educational research from Universidad Autónoma de Ciudad Juárez Mexico. In 2007 Davila, who hails from Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico, founded her own private school in Ciudad Juárez, named Colegio Leon Tolstoi. Davila has run the school for 14 years, where she has served as a principal, teacher, and administrator. She created the school’s philosophy and English as a Second Language curriculum. After she graduates from BYU Marriott in 2023, Davila is considering entering a PhD program in business and then later working as a teacher or consultant. Davila appreciates how helpful her BYU Marriott professors are, and she enjoys learning in an environment where gospel principles frame her education. In her free time, she loves camping with her husband, Gustavo, and their four children.

During her time as an undergraduate petrochemical engineering student at Savitribai Phule Pune University in her home country of India, Priyanka Gandhi cofounded TEN Connect Magazine. The publication gives a voice to student writers across India. She worked with TEN Connect for over three years, serving as the chief marketing officer. After graduating with her bachelor’s degree in 2018, Gandhi worked for Reliance Industries Limited, the largest conglomerate company in India, based in her home city of Mumbai. She worked as a strategic marketing executive and then as a business development executive. After three years, Gandhi left India to attend the MBA program at BYU Marriott, where she is currently the copresident of the BYU chapter of the Adam Smith Society, the marketing track lead at BYU MBA Career Services, and a consultant at BYU Marriott’s Marketing Lab. In summer 2022, Gandhi will join Dell Technologies as a product management intern. 

Cedric Huntington, who hails from Palmer, Alaska, started his college education at BYU–Hawaii, where he met his wife, Brianna. The couple decided to serve missions for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and after they returned home, the two married. Huntington then transferred to Provo and earned his bachelor’s degree in marketing from BYU Marriott in 2018. He worked for three years in brand management at wellness company Melaleuca before returning to BYU Marriott to earn his MBA. Huntington was selected as his MBA section’s president for two semesters in a row during his first year in the MBA program, which helped him develop close relationships with his fellow classmates. He is currently the vice president of consumer-packaged goods (CPG) placement in the MBA Marketing Association. Huntington helps anyone interested in the CPG industry with recruitment and job placement. He once competed as a gymnast and now owns a business with his wife, teaching tumbling lessons to cheerleaders, dancers, and gymnasts. 

A self-described theater nerd turned business manager, Sara Isom earned her bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in theater, along with minors in business and dance from Troy University in Alabama. Shortly after graduating in 2012, Isom followed her husband, a soldier in the US Army, to South Korea, where she worked as the executive producer of Camp Humphreys Community Theatre at the US Army’s Camp Humphreys. Years later, when Isom and her husband moved to Utah, she decided to enter the MBA program at BYU Marriott. In fall 2021, Isom and her MBA team took first place at the Purdue HR Case Competition, where she also received the best presenter award. Isom will serve as the co-chief diversity and inclusion officer in BYU Marriott’s MBA Association for the 2022–23 school year, and she will also be the vice president of the school’s MBA Analytics Association. In summer 2022, Isom joins PepsiCo as part of the company’s HR internship program.

While growing up in Houston, Thomas Metcalf attended a variety of religious and cultural events that sparked his “insatiable curiosity” for learning about people from other places and cultural backgrounds. After earning his bachelor’s degree in business management from BYU Marriott in 2016, Metcalf worked at Melaleuca where he was the global liaison of the skin care category, as well as an assistant international marketing manager supporting the Japanese, Mexican, and European markets. Metcalf chose to return to BYU Marriott for an MBA because of the program’s “world-class professors and top-notch students,” as well as the school’s focus on fostering Christlike leadership qualities and its family-friendly program. Metcalf is the incoming vice president of analytics at BYU Marriott’s Marketing Lab and the incoming chief of student life for the MBA program. This summer, Metcalf is interning at Target, where he will enter the merchandising and product track of the company’s leadership development rotational program. Metcalf enjoys spending time with his wife and three daughters, swimming, and participating in Spartan Race training and competitions.

Kabir Rajput has a goal to visit every country—and have a meaningful conversation with at least one person in each country—before he turns 30. To date, he has visited 45 of the world’s 195 countries. Rajput grew up in New Delhi and earned his undergraduate degree in computer science from the City University of Hong Kong in 2018. Then, in 2021, he earned a master’s degree in big data technology at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. After graduating, Rajput worked for AIA, a pan-Asian life insurance group, as a private wealth management associate. In summer 2021, Rajput entered the MBA program at BYU Marriott. Following his graduation in 2023, Rajput plans to work as a strategy associate for Verizon. He describes his experience at BYU Marriott as “transformational,” and says that his classes have taught him how to be an ethical leader and positively influence the lives of people around him.

Before coming to BYU Marriott to earn his MBA, Stephen Slabbert worked for 18 months as an actuarial analyst for Discovery Limited, a financial services group based in South Africa. In this position, Slabbert performed advanced analytics for the short-term insurance portion of the company’s pricing and analytics team. Slabbert, who hails from Centurion, South Africa, earned his undergraduate degree in actuarial and financial mathematics in 2019 from the University of Pretoria in South Africa. During the 2022–23 school year, Slabbert will be the vice president of BYU Marriott’s MBA Strategy and Consulting Club and the executive vice president of career development for the Graduate Finance Association. “The BYU Marriott MBA experience is about finding where I belong and striving to excel while also emulating the ideals of Christlike leadership,” Slabbert says. “I would love to leverage my experiences to create a positive impact on the world that spans beyond borders and creates value internationally.” In his free time, Slabbert enjoys playing piano, watching musicals, and reading.

Before entering the BYU Marriott MBA program in 2021, Tracy Smith-Van Pelt worked in a variety of business-related positions for 15 years. She is currently the vice president of mentorship for the Women in Management Association at BYU Marriott. She is also a member of the Chinese Business Club and the Graduate Finance Association at BYU Marriott. This summer, Smith-Van Pelt is working on Procter & Gamble’s North America Transportation and Warehousing Team as a senior finance manager intern. “By recognizing and reminding me of my potential throughout the MBA program, BYU Marriott has helped me see that my dreams of becoming a CFO at a leading company are no longer fantasies but rather goals with a clear and achievable path forward,” she shares. In her free time, Smith-Van Pelt competes in medieval-style combat tournaments and plays video games with her husband, Christiaan. She also enjoys going on dirt bike rides with her son and drawing with her daughter.

Fabio Souza is the first person in his family to attend graduate school and study outside his home country of Brazil. Before coming to BYU Marriott, he earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering in 2010 and a certificate in strategic management in 2018 from the Universidade Federal do Paraná, a public university in his hometown of Curitiba. He also worked for 11 years in a variety of positions at Aker Solutions, an engineering company in the oil and gas industry, including as an engineering coordinator and a senior specialist. This summer Souza will work for Dell as a product management intern. Souza is passionate about his education and loves solving challenging problems. He is currently the vice president of international outreach for the Graduate Supply Chain and Operations Association and the vice president of alumni for the MBA Product Management Association at BYU Marriott. In his free time, Souza enjoys travelling with his wife, Fernanda, and their three children.

Living in Beijing for 13 years sparked Mont Toronto’s interest in international business. He received his bachelor’s degree in media arts studies from BYU in 2014. Following his graduation, he cofounded Turn 11 Media, a media company specializing in sports marketing content, where he oversaw all preproduction and business administration aspects. In 2020 Toronto’s company received a Silver Telly for a documentary series coproduction with Major League Soccer in the Campaign—Social Responsibility Branded Content category from the Telly Awards, an organization that annually recognizes exellence in video and television across the globe. Toronto currently lives in Lehi and is the president of the MBA Strategy and Consulting Club, as well as a member of the MBA Marketing Association and Cougar Strategy Group at BYU Marriott. This summer, he is working at Delta Air Lines as a commercial strategy intern on the global sales development team. In the future, Toronto hopes to continue leveraging his international upbringing to build a career with global exposure and cultural exchange. 

The BYU Marriott School of Business aspires to transform the world through Christlike leadership by developing leaders of faith, intellect, and character. Named for benefactors J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott, the school is located at Brigham Young University, the largest privately owned, church-sponsored university in the United States. BYU Marriott has four graduate and nine undergraduate programs with an enrollment of approximately 3,300 students.

The 2022 Eccles Scholars. From left: Fabio Souza, Marisa Davila, Thomas Metcalf, Stephen Slabbert, Kabir Rajput, Tracy Smith, Mont Toronto, Sara Isom, Cedric Huntington, and Priyanka Gandhi.
The 2022 Eccles Scholars. From left: Fabio Souza, Marisa Davila, Thomas Metcalf, Stephen Slabbert, Kabir Rajput, Tracy Smith-Vanpelt, Mont Toronto, Sara Isom, Cedric Huntington, and Priyanka Gandhi.

Media Contact: Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: Sarah Calvert