International Marriott School Students Prepare for a Lifetime of Service

A group of graduate students from across the globe experienced a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity as they visited with leaders from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints about the importance of education and service. These students, part of the Cardon International Sponsorship program, also received a tour of church headquarters during their visit last semester.   

One of the highlights of the visit was meeting with Elder Neil L. Andersen, member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. This was the first year an apostle visited with the CIS students during their annual visit.

"The entire trip, especially visiting with the church leaders, gave us a sense that the church really appreciates this program and us individually," says Stephen Haynes, a first-year MBA student from Brisbane, Australia. "It helped reinforce the spiritual leadership preparation part of the program — to help develop strong church leaders worldwide."   

International students admitted to a Marriott School graduate program are eligible to apply for the CIS program. Applicants must also be members of the LDS Church and commit to return to their home countries after receiving their diplomas to develop their communities and the church. The purpose of the CIS program is to increase these students' business knowledge, preparing them for their careers and to become leaders in their local areas and strengthen the church.

To increase their leadership knowledge students received insights on church operations and implementing their developing acumen in their respective countries after graduation.

Prior to visiting with Elder Andersen the 17 students toured the LDS Humanitarian Center, Welfare Square and Temple Square. Elder Richard E. Cook, managing director of the Perpetual Education Fund and member of the Marriott School's National Advisory Council, also spoke to the students and challenged them to be true to the gospel every day of their lives.

"Whenever we get together as a CIS group it helps me realize the true reason I'm here at BYU — not only to learn business skills but also church leadership principles," says Seiya Komatsu, a second-year MBA student from Osaka, Japan.

Since the initiation of the program in 1986, 174 students from countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Pacific Islands have participated in the CIS program.  

Trajano Lima, a first-year MBA student from Salvador, Brazil, says the biggest benefit of the CIS program is to receive a quality education combined with leadership training. But unlike many sponsorship programs the CIS experience doesn't end when these students receive their diploma.   

"The program is not only about coming here," Lima says. "It's about going back and helping the church to develop in our countries as well." 

For more information about the Cardon International Sponsorship program, visit

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: Sarah Tomoser