Experiential Learning

Putting classroom skills into practice is a priority for the BYU Marriott MPA program. Hands-on experiences provided through the Grantwell program, Good Measure, and the Ballard Center for Social Impact set our students apart as they enter the workforce.

BYU Marriott MPA courses emphasize practical skill development and real-world application. Semester projects give students frequent opportunities to partner with professional and government organizations to evaluate, analyze, and solve real-world issues. Every year student projects result in actual policy changes and organizational improvements for our partner organizations.

Additionally, students have the opportunity to visit potential employers and work locations on career trips, participate in study abroad programs, and gain valuable experience during summer internships.


Grantwell is a student-run, faculty-advised consulting program. Through Grantwell, graduate students advise large donors in various aspects of their giving.                                

The program gives students a chance to apply the nonprofit management expertise they learn in the classroom to real-world projects. Since Grantwell’s founding in 2008, more than 350 students have helped donors give over $35 million in grants.



Previous clients have included the Walmart Foundation, Ray and Tye Noorda Foundation, Forever Young Foundation, Fredette Family Foundation, and Peery Foundation. Together, Grantwell’s clients manage more than $1 billion in philanthropic assets. Click here for a list and description of current projects.

Project Types

  1. Grant Allocation: Grant Allocation teams evaluate grant proposals, select the best projects, and present findings to the foundation donating the funds. The allocation process includes conducting financial analysis and rating the project’s potential impact based on the values and mission of the foundation.
  2. Strategy: Strategy teams work as consultants for nonprofits, helping them to develop programs and processes that better fulfill the grantmaking goals of the organization.
  3. Evaluation: Evaluation teams perform efficiency and effectiveness assessments, using quantitative and qualitative data to measure how well the organization’s grantmaking efforts are achieving the desired results.

“Grantwell first attracted me to the MPA program, propelled me through it, and launched me into my career. In my job interviews, my ability to speak fluently about nonprofit management, share leadership experience, and identify meaningful results all greatly boosted my credibility. The team building, leadership, and nonprofit management experience from Grantwell has come into play daily in my current work.”

—Andrew Marshall, Grantwell alum

Good Measure

As part of their studies, MPA students provide program evaluation planning and statistical analysis services to nonprofit and government partners in the community. Each semester students serve at the federal, state, and local levels to develop a broad understanding of how quantitative skills can be applied in organizations of any size and in any policy area. Through these programs, we have served more than one hundred community partners, including the following organizations:

  • American Red Cross (local chapters and national headquarters)
  • Utah Division of Forestry, Fire, and State Lands
  • Utah Division of Drinking Water
  • HELP international
  • HEAL international
  • Various city governments

These experiences gives our students a distinct edge in the current climate of performance management and evidence-based practice. One recent alumnus writes, “I can confidently say that the program evaluation class alone has already set me apart as an employee who has the skill set necessary to make the organization function more effectively.”

Community partner applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Click here to become a partner for the program evaluation class or click here to become a partner for the statistics class. For more information about the program, contact Eva Witesman.

Ballard Center for Social Impact

Learn how the world’s most vexing social problems are being solved at the Ballard Center for Social Impact. The center pairs students with worthwhile educational experiences that lead to a meaningful life of doing good.

Enhance your impact on the world today by signing up for one of the following Ballard Center opportunities:

  • Attend the center’s events and club meetings to learn how to make your philanthropy smarter.
  • The center’s classes provide frameworks for social change and teach students how to leverage their skills.
  • On- and off-campus internships offered through the center can help build your résumé and solve social problems.
  • Competitions, such as the Social Venture Academy, provide students coaching and funding to make their socially minded business ideas become a reality.

Whether it’s for one hour a semester or several, there’s a place for you at the Ballard Center. Students from any major can set up an advisement session to construct a personalized plan for incorporating the center’s programs into their BYU experience. Sign up here.

Career Trips

Each year, students have the opportunity to go on career trips throughout the country. They learn about potential careers and network with MPA alumni while visiting NGOs, state and local governments, and other places of interest.

Select the career trip locations below for a list of previous career trip site visits.

  • Animal Care Services
  • Center City Development & Operations Department
  • City Manager’s Office
  • Economic Development Foundation
  • Human Resources Office
  • Office of Management and Budget
  • San Antonio Water System
  • Solid Waste Management

  • Advocacy Center
  • American Red Cross
  • Ashoka
  • Capitol Building Tour
  • Capitol Hill
  • Department of Defense
  • Department of Labor
  • FBI
  • Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
  • LDS Church Public Affairs Office
  • Office of Administration
  • Partnership for Public Service
  • The State Department
  • Target Point
  • The Pentagon
  • UN Foundation
  • USDA
  • US EPA
  • U.S. Government Accountability Office
  • World Bank
  • World Food Program

  • Arizona Governor’s Office of Strategic Planning and Budgeting
  • City of Gilbert
  • City of Mesa
  • City of Surprise
  • Department of Water Resources
  • Make-A-Wish America
  • Maricopa County Auditor’s Office
  • Mercer
  • New Pathways for Youth
  • PHX Audit Office
  • Save the Family

  • Bureau of State Audits
  • California Department of Finance
  • California Legislative Analyst’s Office
  • City of Folsom
  • City of Sacramento
  • Nevada Audit Division
  • Nevada Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
  • Panasonic, U.S.
  • Rancho Cordova

“Career trips are an incredible resource for us in this program.  The well-known BYU and Romney Institute names to help us meet and make connections with important people. Additionally, visiting different areas will give you an idea of whether or not you may like living there. For example, Boise is an incredible place to live and work, but to someone who has never been to Idaho before or has just driven through, it sounds like a drag. I guarantee that you will think differently when you go and see for yourself. If you want to visit a city, start talking to people in our program, and make it happen!” –  Zachery King, MPA Alum


The Romney Institute is dedicated to the professional success of its students. In fact, an entire office is dedicated to helping students find internships and pursue their career goals.

The MPA career director works diligently to help students find meaningful internships and secure their first job. Examples of recent internship placements are listed below.

  • Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation 
  • Sandia National Laboratories
  • US Department of Justice
  • US Department of State
  • US Government Accountability Office

  • Utah Department of Corrections Performance
  • Auditor’s Office
  • Utah Division of Housing and Community Development
  • California Department of Finance
  • Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development
  • Utah Division of Forestry, Fire, & State Lands

  • City of Orem
  • City of Lehi
  • City of Pleasant Grove
  • Eagle Mountain City
  • City of Roseville
  • City of San Antonio
  • Heber Valley Office of Tourism and Economic Development

  • American Red Cross
  • Ashoka
  • Heritage Foundation
  • Make-A-Wish America
  • The Color Run
  • United Way
  • Partnership for Public Service
  • A Safe Haven Foundation
  • Net Impact
  • Academy for Creating
  • Enterprise
  • HELP International
  • Millennium Challenge Corporation
  • Ascend Alliance
  • Empower Playgrounds
  • Fundación Paraguaya
  • Sustain Haiti
  • EcoPartnerships (Utah-Qinghai)
  • Hadley Impact Consulting

  • Intermountain Healthcare
  • Charleston Area Medical Center
  • Mercer 
  • Poudre Valley Hospital Foundation
  • Salem Hospital
  • Utah Valley
  • Specialty Hospital

Study Abroad

Each spring, the BYU Marriott MPA program leads graduate students on three-week study abroad experiences to Ghana or Asia. These life-changing and career-enhancing experiences are highlights in an MPA education.


In Ghana, students get firsthand experience in international development by meeting with an array of nonprofit professionals (past visits have included USAID, World Bank, the West Africa AIDS Foundation, and many other small nonprofits and social ventures). Students also conduct an in-country consulting project with a non-governmental organization (NGO) client. The program provides opportunities to travel to various regions of Ghana and learn about the history of the slave trade and Western influence.

Student in Ghana


Students visited several countries in Asia, including China, Cambodia and Thailand. The study abroad includes cultural experiences and site visits to various nonprofits and government agencies.