2021 Stoddard Prize Awarded to Ten MBA Students

PROVO, Utah – May 04, 2021 – The Brigham Young University Marriott School of Business MBA program has awarded ten students with the 2021 George E. Stoddard Prize, an award given to first- and second-year students in the BYU Marriott MBA program.

“The BYU Marriott MBA program is grateful for the generosity of the Stoddard family in giving this award that provides support for MBA finance emphasis students,” says Hal Heaton, BYU Marriott professor of finance and the graduate finance advisor who oversees the selection of the Stoddard prize winners. “These students have demonstrated their leadership potential through their performance in the program and their service in the Graduate Finance Association (GFA) and sherpa program, as research and teaching assistants, and in other service opportunities.”

The Stoddard Prize was established in 1985 by George E. Stoddard, a 1937 BYU alumnus. His numerous credentials include working as the 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 Stoddard Prize was expanded to better assist students in the BYU Marriott MBA program. Previously, the award was only presented to second-year students toward the end of their time in the program. However, additional prizes were added for first-year students based on exceptional performance in the MBA program.

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 degrees with an enrollment of approximately 3,300 students.


Former GFA president Brad Arnell is married with two children: Bill and Dot. Originally from St. Louis, Arnell first came to Utah to earn his undergraduate degree in accounting from BYU Marriott in 2016. Arnell is now a recent MBA graduate. “My time here at BYU Marriott has been great, getting to know so many intelligent and humble people. Everyone I met in the program was so willing to give of their time and talents to help others, and I hope to pay that forward over the course of my career,” Arnell says. Before returning to BYU Marriott to attend the MBA program, Arnell worked at John Deere for three years as a finance development program analyst. Arnell will soon begin work at FedEx as a senior financial analyst. When he’s not studying, Arnell loves spending time with family, reading, being outside, and being active.

Benjamin Aston, a native of Farmington, Utah, is a recent MBA graduate. He received his undergraduate degree in finance from the University of Utah in 2015. Aston is married and has two daughters, one just born in April 2021. During his time as an MBA student, Aston has participated in the GFA and the MBA sherpa program. He also interned at 3M in financial planning and analysis. Aston will soon return to 3M in a full-time position as a financial analyst in the health information systems division. Aston has enjoyed his time at BYU Marriott. “The MBA program has taught me what a career should be and how my career fulfills the broader purpose of caring for my family, being a leader, and giving service,” Aston says.

For Baltimore native Brett Diggins, his time at BYU Marriott has been a turning point in his career. “The MBA program has not only deepened my understanding of business and finance, but this program has also made me a better leader and has enabled me to build relationships with many amazing people,” Diggins says. He received both his BS in architectural engineering and MS in structural engineering from the Milwaukee School of Engineering in 2010 after completing a five-year dual-degree program in four years and graduating with high honors. Before graduating from BYU Marriott in April 2021, Diggins served as an equity research analyst at BYU Marriott’s Silver Fund, the MBA program’s career launch website manager, a recruiting KPI manager, mock interviewer, and a member of the GFA and the MBA Analytics Club. When Diggins has the chance, he loves to go scuba diving. He is a certified PADI open water diver and has dived in nine countries so far. Before coming to BYU Marriott, Diggins worked for companies such as Thornton Tomasetti, Skidmore Owings & Merrill, and Whitney Bailey Cox & Magnani in engineering positions. Diggins will soon join Amazon's finance leadership development program.

BYU Marriott has been a part of Matthew David Drake’s life since before he was born. He was born in Provo when both his parents were attending BYU, with his dad in the BYU Marriott MBA program and his mom earning her PhD in organizational behavior. A native of Peachtree Corners, Georgia, Drake met his wife in Atlanta while studying construction management at the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he graduated in 2009. Drake and his wife, KayLa, have three beautiful daughters with another child due in July. He loves spending time with his wife and family, and looks forward to their next family road trip. “Attending the MBA program has been a life-changing opportunity for my family and I. The program has enabled me to achieve the long-term goal that I set prior to applying to business schools: pivot my career into corporate finance,” Drake says. Before graduating in April 2021, Drake participated in a number of associations and societies and received the 2020 Eccles Scholarship and the 2020 Hal Heaton Finance Scholarship along with the Stoddard award. Before coming to BYU Marriott, Drake worked for Techtronic Industries Co. and McDermott International. He will soon work for Pacific Gas & Electric in San Francisco as an MBA financial leadership development program candidate.

After graduating from Arizona State University in 2014 with a bachelor's degree in political science and business, Jackson Guinn worked at the Bank of America. He held roles as a financial solutions advisor and a relationship account officer. Both Guinn and his wife are from Mesa, Arizona, and the couple has a two-year-old daughter. A 2021 MBA graduate, Guinn has a goal to become a CFO or founder of a company in the future. He interned at Amazon as a senior financial analyst and will now return to work there as a senior financial analyst as part of the financial leadership development program. During his time at BYU Marriott, Guinn was an MBA sherpa for students participating in the finance track, a teacher’s assistant for financial modeling, and a finance chair for the Adam Smith Society Chapter at BYU Marriott. “I have loved learning from some of the best professors in the world. I have met lifelong friends in my fellow MBA students who push me to be better and do more. I am ready to go forth and serve,” Guinn says. When he’s not studying, Guinn loves playing sports, watching movies, and reading.

American Fork, Utah, native Sarah Ann Hatton says she appreciates her fellow MBA students. “The students are friendly and have a collaborative mindset. Our work on teams has been productive and enjoyable, which I think is a distinctive feature of the BYU Marriott MBA program,” Hatton says. When she’s not busy with school, Hatton likes to write, garden, and hike in the mountains. She is always trying to learn new things. Before coming to BYU Marriott, she graduated from BYU with her undergrad in 2012 and masters in 2016, both in linguistics. She will complete both her JD and MBA in 2021 and is currently the managing editor of publication for the Brigham Young University Journal of Public Law. She has also worked for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the Utah Division of Securities, and the BYU Marketing Lab.

Graham Johnson comes from a family of BYU Marriott MBA graduates. Both his father and father-in-law graduated with their MBA degrees from BYU Marriott. Johnson received his undergraduate degree in chemical engineering in 2017 at BYU, where he met his wife, Claire Lewis. In his free time, Johnson enjoys mountain biking and skiing with his wife, and eating chocolate chip cookies. A two-time Stoddard award recipient, Johnson is a recent MBA graduate. During Johnson’s first year at BYU Marriott, he was a member of the Silver Fund and served in leadership positions in both the Adam Smith Society chapter at BYU Marriott and the GFA. In the GFA, he planned weekly seminars for first-year students. Johnson worked for Halliburton Energy Services for two years as an engineer before coming to BYU Marriott and then interned at ExxonMobil in financial services. He will soon begin full-time work for chemical company Henkel AG & Co. in its leadership development program.

Jordan Brooks Rapp grew up in Okotoks, Alberta. A recent 2021 MBA graduate, Rapp was involved in the MBA sherpa program and in GFA activities. “I loved the camaraderie of my MBA cohort. The relationships that I developed with the other students and the faculty have been wonderful,” Rapp says. He received his undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering from BYU in 2017. Before coming to BYU Marriott, Rapp worked at Bechtel for two years as a field coordinator where he managed and coordinated telecom infrastructure construction. While working towards his MBA, Rapp interned at Intel as a finance intern where he developed a strategic margin model on Intel's competition. One of Rapp’s notable accomplishments was hiking Y Mountain fifty times during summer 2020. “I recognize that I have been blessed by being able to attend BYU Marriott's MBA program, so my goals after my graduation are to place myself in a position where I am able to serve and give back,” Rapp says.

For Maxwell Bret Vaterlaus from Boise, Idaho, BYU Marriott’s MBA program was exactly what he was looking for in a graduate program. After graduating from BYU with his undergrad in economics in 2015, Vaterlaus went on to work for Clearwater Analytics as a data integrity analyst for four years. A recent 2021 MBA graduate, Vaterlaus says he is excited to see what the future holds. “Now that I’ve graduated, I am eager to continue to grow and to help others reach and expand their potential,” Vaterlaus says. He also says BYU Marriott has opened many doors for him, such as an internship with Disney Streaming Services where he worked as an enterprise portfolio project manager. When he isn’t studying for classes, Vaterlaus says he loves going on adventures with his wife Kara, and children, Sawyer and Emery, even if that means just throwing rocks in a pond.

Jarom Dean Walker from Gilbert, Arizona, is a second-year MBA student graduating in 2022 with an emphasis in global supply chain. He graduated in 2015 from Arizona State University with his undergrad in business sustainability. In addition to the Stoddard award, Walker has also received the Whatcott Family Scholarship and the Larry H. and Gail Miller Enrichment Scholarship. Before coming to BYU Marriott, Walker worked as a senior analyst for three years at Engie Insight. “The MBA program has been a great transformational experience for me and my career. It has provided a great opportunity to meet a bunch of awesome people and to open my eyes to a wide variety of careers. In the future, I hope to be able to apply all the different frameworks I've learned to bring success to those I work with.” When Walker isn’t studying, he likes to spend time with his wife Morgan, and their three daughters: Molly, Jalee, and Lacey.

2021 Stoddard Award Winners
2021 Stoddard Award Winners

Media Contact: Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: Veronica Maciel