Five Years of Finance

PROVO, Utah – Jan 30, 2019 – A little more than five years ago, finance professors Jim Brau and Andy Holmes, dubbed “the fathers of the finance major” by program director Colby Wright, saw hours of meetings and paperwork pay off in the creation of the finance major at the BYU Marriott School of Business. After existing for years as an emphasis to the business management major, the finance program recently celebrated its fifth anniversary as a standalone major. 

Once granted major status, the finance program faculty wasted no time in creating a slew of initiatives aimed at establishing a cohesive network of students, faculty, and alumni. Having served as finance program director since the first wave of majors entered the program in 2013, Wright has played a significant role in implementing those initiatives, which include a robust calendar of student events. “In the finance major we have six core values: respect, gratitude, professionalism, technical expertise, loyalty, and service,” Wright explains. “The whole idea of these events is to promote those values.” 

Two catered dinners bookend the slate of events during the year, one for incoming freshman and the other for outgoing seniors. In between are milk-and-cookies info sessions, Women in Finance Association dinners, and a senior movie night, to name a few. These program-sponsored events are supplemented by numerous opportunities organized by the Finance Society, the program’s flagship student-led organization.

In Fall 2018, the finance faculty added a brand new event to their annual calendar: a homecoming barbecue meant to facilitate, celebrate, and leverage alumni achievements. The first barbecue was a massive success, said Wright, with alumni from all over the country in attendance. The finance faculty are excited to build on that success in coming years.

In addition to promoting the program’s six core values, obtaining major status has helped the program become a tight-knit unit of faculty, students, and alumni. “There’s something to be said for esprit de corps and unity,” Wright says. “I think you feel a lot more togetherness when you’re part of a major.”

One example of that increased unity is the willingness of students, faculty, and alumni to contribute to the Pay-It-Forward Fund (PIFF). PIFF resources allow the program to provide students with supplemental training and also support many of its annual events. Since 2015, students, faculty, and alumni have donated more than $40,000 to the PIFF. 

Of course, unity is not the only goal of the finance program. Since finance became a major, finance students and faculty have also worked hard to build upon the program’s already excellent academic reputation. During the 2017-2018 academic year alone, BYU Marriott finance students won an impressive five national case competitions. Furthermore, the major’s average incoming GPA has risen from 3.59 in 2013 to 3.81 in 2018 and the number of applicants to the program has also seen a sharp incline since finance received major status, nearly doubling to 529 students. 

“Our progress over the last five years is a story of exponential growth,” Wright says. “And that’s thanks to a massive team effort from our fantastic faculty, staff, students, and alumni.

Students and faculty enjoy milk and cookies after a 2014 info session
Students mingle with finance professors at a 2014 milk-and-cookies event.
Finance students enjoy milk and cookie in the Tanner Building
Students listen to a presentation at a 2014-milk-and-cookies event.
Students and faculty enjoy a meal together at the 2015 finance orientation dinner.
Students and faculty enjoy a meal together at the 2015 finance orientation dinner.
Finance program director Colby Wright pictured with students at the 2018 orientation dinner.
Finance program director Colby Wright pictured with students at the 2018 orientation dinner.

Media Contact: Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: Carson Perry