Seven Students Named Stoddard Scholars

PROVO, Utah – Mar 01, 2018 – Seven Brigham Young University Marriott School of Business students were honored with the George E. Stoddard Prize, a $5,000 award given to exceptional second-year MBA finance students.

“These students represent the best and the brightest of the BYU Marriott MBA,” says Hal Heaton, professor of finance and the graduate finance advisor who oversees the selection of the Stoddard Scholars. “We are confident they will go forth and serve in a way that will positively reflect on BYU. We are particularly grateful for the Stoddard family and for the means they provide students to earn degrees and serve the world.”

The 2018 scholars are Trevor Blanc, Richard Bobo, Aaron Hammond, Austin Knutson, David Lake, Grant Manion, and Lauren Tavernier.

The Stoddard Prize was established in 1985 by George E. Stoddard, a 1937 BYU alumnus. His numerous credentials include acting as senior managing director of W.P. Carey & Company, a leading global real estate investment firm in New York. He was a pioneer in the use of real estate transactions known as sale-leasebacks, which provide financing to companies struggling to gain access to traditional sources of capital. Before joining W.P. Carey & Company, Stoddard was also head of the multibillion-dollar Direct Placement Department of the Equitable Life Assurance Society of the United States.

The BYU Marriott School of Business prepares men and women of faith, character and professional ability for positions of leadership throughout the world. 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 ten undergraduate programs with an enrollment of approximately 3,300 students.

Richard Bobo hails from Southern Pines, North Carolina, and has completed eight marathons, including the Boston Marathon. He served in the US Army as a company commander and will serve as a special operations forces controller in the US Special Operations Command after he receives his MBA. “I’m thrilled with my decision to pursue an MBA at BYU,” Bobo says. “My fellow students are bright and supportive. We want to help each other succeed, not just in the program, but in life. The academics are also spectacular—the professors are excellent and engaging and I love how the program is full of true professionals.” Bobo is a dean’s scholar and serves as VP of communications for the Graduate Finance Association and VP of the BYU Veterans Club. Prior to his MBA, Bobo graduated from BYU with a degree in accounting.

Trevor Blanc came to BYU and earned his undergraduate and master’s degree in mechanical engineering. He is currently the EVP of the Graduate Finance Association and serves as a finance sherpa. “I have really enjoyed not only learning from the experienced faculty in the MBA program, but also from diverse and impressive students that I worked with each day,” Blanc says. “Their perspectives and advice have been invaluable while transitioning careers and defining a plan for my post-MBA life. I look forward to staying connected with my classmates as I go forward to add value and make positive impacts at the firms I belong to in the future.” After graduation, Blanc will work at Amazon as a senior financial analyst in the finance leadership development program. Blanc is from San Diego, California, and enjoys playing volleyball and surfing on the beach in his free time.

Aaron Hammond earned his bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Utah. The Holladay, Utah, native enjoys playing soccer and tennis, traveling, and skiing. Prior to his MBA, Hammond worked for four years at Zions Bank as a financial analyst and portfolio manager. As an MBA, he is a member of the Silver Fund and the Graduate Finance Association. After graduation, Hammond will work as a senior financial analyst for Hewlett Packard. “The BYU Marriott MBA program has been an eye-opening experience for me,” Hammond says. “I have gained a fantastic education, great friends, and confidence for my future career path. I know that with this education I can make a difference in the world, and I intend to do so.” 

“I have greatly enjoyed my time at BYU Marriott,” says Austin Knutson. “The breadth of experience, viewpoints, and perspectives that have been shared with me have been rewarding in many ways, both educationally and personally. The friendships and memories I have created here will last for years to come and I look forward to staying in touch with my classmates, following their success, and hopefully working together again.” Knutson left his Idaho Falls, Idaho, hometown to pursue an undergraduate degree in accounting at Utah State University. As a BYU Marriott MBA student, Knutson is a member of the Graduate Finance Association and was the third place winner of The Economist 2016 Investment Case Study Competition. After graduation, he will start full-time as a senior treasury analyst in the treasury leadership program for Ford Motor Company. Knutson is an avid road biker and enjoys skiing the Wasatch slopes.

David Lake graduated from BYU in public relations in 2013. He received a master of education in secondary math from Arizona State and taught math for Teach for America. The Sebastian, Florida, native co-founded Kaizen Internal Consulting and serves as VP in the Graduate Finance Association. Lake also co-founded and served as creative director of Hot Pink Marketing. When Lake has a free moment, he enjoys playing music, games and surfing. After graduation, he will work full-time for Amazon as a senior product manager. “The MBA program has provided opportunities that I couldn’t have possibly hoped for two years ago,” Lake says. “I love the program and my classmates, and I am thrilled with my decision to come here. I hope to take the skills I’ve developed and be successful at Amazon, while also serving my church and community.”

Grant Manion hails from Colleyville, Texas, and enjoys traveling to new places, spending time with family, and working on his Jeep. He serves as executive VP of the Graduate Finance Association and as a Silver Fund equity analyst. “The BYU Marriott MBA program has exceeded all my expectations. It has brought together an extraordinary group of students with diverse backgrounds, high standards, and a drive to help others succeed,” Manion says. “I am continually amazed by the caliber of people I’m surrounded by, and how much I learn from them. I will truly cherish the time I’ve spent here and the great relationships I’ve built.” Prior to his MBA, Manion received his undergraduate degree in finance from BYU Marriott and worked for Fidelity Investments as a finance analyst for five years.

“Getting my MBA has been one of the best decisions I have made,” says Lauren Tavernier, a Mesa, Arizona, native. “The MBA program has given me the knowledge and skills to jumpstart my career. Specifically, the collaborative atmosphere in the BYU Marriott MBA program and the network is one of the best I have ever been a part of. I have loved developing relationships with and learning from other students and professors.” Tavernier serves as VP of the Graduate Real Estate Association and is a member of the Women in Management and Graduate Finance Association. Prior to her MBA, Tavernier received her degree in management from BYU Marriott and worked as a controller associate at JPMorgan Chase for five years. After graduation, Tavernier will join Intel as a senior financial analyst. In her free time, Tavernier enjoys hiking and reading.

2018 Stoddard Scholars
(Back, left to right) Trevor Blanc, Lauren Tavernier, Austin Knutson, David Lake, Aaron Hammond, Richard Bobo, and Grant Manion. Family representatives, Tesla and David Welch seated in front.

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