Suits and Swords

PROVO, Utah – Feb 17, 2021 – Whether he’s training employees, helping nonprofits set their budget, or staging fights in authentic medieval armor, Austin Smith follows his passions to find success. His journey as a human resources management (HRM) junior at the BYU Marriott School of Business has helped him share his enthusiasm for HR to find business opportunities for his fighting team and internship opportunities for himself.

Smith’s interest in human resources began in 2017 when he worked with Utah Youth Village, a nonprofit that helps foster children. While Smith initially took the job because he was interested in becoming a therapist, his time at the village ultimately led to the discovery of his real passion for working in human resources.

“I’m interested in making a positive impact in people’s lives, and my time at the Utah Youth Village helped me understand there are many ways to do that, including HR,” he says. “Many of the duties I was assigned to do at the nonprofit were HR related. I worked on payroll and helped with department budgeting and eventually became certified to be a trainer for the company.” After completing his work with the Utah Youth Village, Smith decided to pursue a degree in human resources from BYU Marriott.

Smith says he believes his experience in the HRM program at BYU Marriott will help set him up for a successful career. One particular aspect that Smith has found impactful are the opportunities he’s been given to develop his abilities to professionally network. “Since day one at BYU Marriott, I’ve grown as both a student and a person. I’ve learned how to maximize tools such as LinkedIn and alumni networks to make connections that not only benefit me but also help connect other students and alumni together. My time at BYU Marriott has helped me become better at many things, including knowing how to better use software tools to analyze data, in addition to the skills I’ve learned about networking,” he says. “These skills will ultimately help me move forward in my career and establish professional relationships.”

Smith’s knowledge and hard work recently paid off when he received coveted Summer 2021 internship offers from companies that he’d like to work for. “During fall semester I spent a significant time networking and applying to nearly one hundred companies to find the right internship for me,” he says. “To hear back from some of them and reach final interviews with several companies was awesome and all my efforts felt validated.” When he’s not in class learning new skills or leveraging new technologies and services to build his professional network, Smith puts his business knowledge to work into something a little more archaic.

As a co-owner of the Salt Lake City Crusaders, a group that stages fights in authentic medieval armor, one of Smith’s many responsibilities is to help promote the club. “Our team is the first and only professional medieval fighting team in Utah. We participate in historically accurate medieval fighting using real steel weapons and wearing actual blacksmith armor,” he explains. “My team and I have done events ranging from corporate events and demonstrations at shopping malls to being used as actors in filming projects, including music videos.”

Smith’s work with the Salt Lake City Crusaders allows him to get hands-on experience in a number of different areas of business. “In addition to my efforts in marketing the group, I’m also the director of business development and the group’s legal counsel,” he says. “I've been fortunate to have the opportunity to learn a lot from my time at BYU Marriott and through other means about business law, marketing, and other business-related topics that I apply in my work with the team.”

Whether he’s using his business skills to promote a staged medieval fight or land the perfect internship, Smith knows he’s been blessed to learn from so many BYU Marriott opportunities. “My mother didn't graduate from high school, so she always emphasized education because she always felt like her life was held back from not being able to complete those academic endeavors,” he says. “I’m grateful to BYU Marriott for giving me opportunities to learn and grow and helping me to find success.”

BYU Marriott HRM student Austin Smith
BYU Marriott HRM student Austin Smith. Photo courtesy of Austin Smith.
Smith and the Salt Lake City Crusaders
Smith and the Salt Lake City Crusaders. Photo courtesy of Austin Smith.

Media Contact: Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: Kenna Pierce