The MBA Dad

PROVO, Utah – Jan 28, 2022 – Students in the MBA program at the BYU Marriott School of Business fondly refer to fellow cohort member and 2022 class president Ethan Felix as their “MBA dad.” Despite being older than most of his classmates, Felix connects with other students and empathizes with those going through difficult times. Felix’s life has been shaped by overcoming obstacles, both personal and educational.

Felix’s career path is centered in leadership development, and he uses his experiences to help inspire others. However, he was not always in that field. In 2011, Felix graduated from BYU–Idaho with a degree in finance. While initially working for an investment firm in St. George, Utah, he was approached by a friend, who suggested Felix would succeed at renewable energy sales.

During his time doing sales, Felix noticed how he and his fellow team members could benefit from better leaders. This realization hit home when he was assigned a new manager. Felix watched his team’s momentum fade because the new manager did not know how to motivate Felix and his coworkers. This experience inspired him to switch to the field of leadership development. He saw the impact a motivated, smart leader could make and desired to help produce as many impactful leaders as possible.

After making his career switch, Felix found a job in Afton, Wyoming, located in Star Valley, where he was raised. Beginning in 2018, he was asked to become the director of the newly launched leadership academy at the Bronze Buffalo Club, a ranch that uses horses while hosting business leaders on development retreats. Unfortunately, the job did not last long—Felix was furloughed in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

While furloughed, Felix began considering returning to school for an MBA. He had always wanted to earn a graduate degree for career progression and personal accomplishment, but the timing had never been right. “Around that same time, I felt prompted to request my transcript from BYU–Idaho and reconnect with some individuals whom I hadn’t seen for years,” Felix explains. “Because I had already received letters of recommendation from those individuals and had my transcript, I was able to submit an MBA application almost immediately after being furloughed. Right after applying to BYU Marriott, I was fully let go from my job. Everything worked out, and the timing aligned perfectly.”

After starting the MBA program, Felix wanted to encourage others by drawing from his personal challenges. In addition to sharing about his educational and career journeys, Felix tries to support students who are experiencing personal trials. When deciding whether to run for class president, he was inspired by his wife, who encouraged him to use the opportunity to help others.

“She mentioned that I have an ability to connect with people,” he says. “I've journeyed down a heavy road of personal challenges, including losing my parents when I was young, being adopted into a new family, and being let go from my job. My wife helped me realize that because of these and other experiences, I can relate to people and empathize with them.”

As a class president elected by his peers, Felix tries to connect with and support his classmates one-onone as much as possible, no matter their struggles. His desire to uplift everyone led to the MBA dad nickname.

After graduating in April 2022, Felix knows his relationships in the MBA program will continue to influence his career. “BYU Marriott helped me gain several connections with other students,” he says. “My network is precious to me, and I plan to lean on advice from others as I go into leadership development, where I can launch my own company, join fellow students and start companies with them, or work at an existing company. I absolutely love my time at BYU Marriott and would not change anything about my experiences.”

Second-year MBA student and 2022 class president Ethan Felix. Photo courtesy of Ethan Felix.
Second-year MBA student and 2022 class president Ethan Felix. Photo courtesy of Ethan Felix.
Felix and his wife on his first day of the MBA program. Felix says she inspired him to run for class president. Photo courtesy of Ethan Felix.
Felix and his wife on his first day of the MBA program. Felix says she inspired him to run for class president. Photo courtesy of Ethan Felix.
Felix and his family outside the Tanner Building. In addition to being the
Felix and his family outside the Tanner Building. In addition to being the "MBA dad" for his cohort, Felix is the father of four children. Photo courtesy of Ethan Felix.

Media Contact: Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: Mike Miller