From Student to Teacher to Student

PROVO, Utah – Jan 29, 2018 – Paul Godfrey has had a thirst and love for knowledge his entire life.

He grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah, “literally in the shadows of the University of Utah,” the BYU professor recounts. He stayed true to his red roots and graduated from the U of U in political science in 1983. 

“I loved studying political science and learning about how businesses interact with societies at large,” Godfrey says. “Political science also taught me how to write well and how to think about problems that did not have an easy solution.”

Godfrey wanted to get an MBA in marketing and organizational behavior because he loved working with people and had plans to work in corporate America. Though Godfrey put his education on hold between his first and second year of his MBA to serve a two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Germany, his learning and knowledge continued. His experience as a foreign missionary broadened his understanding on the importance of diversity of cultures and how these differences can impact a business.

Upon returning to the United States, Godfrey continued his intellectual pursuits and eventually received both his MBA with an emphasis in marketing and organizational behavior and his PhD in strategic management from the University of Washington. Godfrey received his doctorate because fell in love with strategy as an MBA student and decided he wanted to learn more.

“Strategy is the big picture of a firm,” Godfrey says. “It integrates all the elements of a business—marketing, organizational behavior, accounting, and operations. Plus it explains how organizations interact in the larger society. So, in a way, by studying strategy I kind of returned to my original interest in political science and specifically the relationship between society and businesses.”

After receiving his doctorate in 1994, Godfrey switched roles from learner to educator. Next year, he will celebrate twenty-five years of teaching at BYU Marriott School of Business. 

His favorite part about teaching at BYU can be summed up in two words: the students.

“It is a privilege to work with people of such a high caliber,” Godfrey says. “They are competent, hard-working, and talented, and they have great character. They come to class prepared and ready to engage in the classroom."

As a professor, Godfrey enjoys being able to include the entire realm of education in his teaching, accessing both secular and spiritual truths.

In addition to his teaching experience at BYU, Godfrey has had some unique opportunities overseas. Godfrey has returned to Germany to teach courses on decision-making and business ethics at establishments such as the University of Munich. This has allowed him as a professor to observe the difference in student response towards the same subject matter, an experience that Godfrey describes as rewarding and growth enhancing.

Aside from teaching undergraduate, MBA, and EMBA students, Godfrey participates in a variety of research projects. For one project, Godfrey partnered with the BYU Ballard Center for Economic Self-Reliance, which took him to Africa and the lands of the Navajo reservation. There he met inspiring individuals who got themselves out of conditions of poverty. What he learned from these people led him to author the book, More than Money, which talks about developing economic self-reliance.

Godfrey’s advice about learning and education? “You can never get enough. In this day and age, an undergraduate degree is no longer adequate.”

However, amid his formal education, professional training, and research, Godfrey has learned another valuable lesson.

“Never let your schooling interfere with your education,” advises the BYU professor, who loves to spend time with family, hike, take photographs, and barbeque. "Remember that there is a lot of education that happens outside of school. It happens everywhere you are and in everything you do."

Professor Godfrey
Godfrey and his wife, Robin, attend the BYU Marriott Awards banquet.

Media Contact: Jordan Christiansen (801) 422-8938
Writer: Kelly Brunken