Expanding His Turf Outside the Classroom
PROVO, Utah – Jul 26, 2022 – For Adam King, a senior in the finance program at the BYU Marriott School of Business, a good college education extends beyond the classroom. By pursuing internship opportunities, becoming involved in club leadership, and even starting his own business, King has truly embraced the idea of the world as his campus.
When King first came to BYU, he wasn’t sure what he wanted to study, so he attended five or six different clubs every week to explore his interests. Most of the clubs he attended regularly were part of BYU Marriott’s Finance Society, an association for current or prospective finance students.
The clubs covered subjects such as real estate, investment banking, and venture capital. “My experiences through the clubs at BYU Marriott have been just as valuable as the material I learn in class,” King says. “For example, even though I’m not going into investment banking, I am grateful for the investment banking club leaders who have helped me build my résumé over the past few years.
“I’m also thankful for the unsung heroes behind BYU Marriott clubs. The organizations are well-structured, and many students put in tons of time to serve their peers and provide good experiences and opportunities for their fellow students,” King continues.
King is the copresident of the Private Equity and Markets Association (PEMA), a club that belongs to the Finance Society and focuses on providing resources for students interested in working in private equity and venture capital. “In PEMA, we as club leaders prepare students for internships, provide access to internship and job applications, and create a network of students who want to do similar things in their careers,” King explains. “We help students practice mock interviews and build their résumés. This past April, 14 seniors from our club transitioned directly into private equity and venture capital roles after graduation, which is awesome.”
After he graduates in 2023, King would love to work in similar areas, such as in early-stage private equity or venture capital. His interest in these areas increased during an on-campus internship in fall 2021, during which he worked for Battery Ventures, a technology-focused investment firm. “I worked in a sourcing role. I looked for young and growing enterprise software companies,” he says. “Battery Ventures had a structured training program, and my learning experiences with the company were fantastic.”
At the beginning of summer 2022, King joined another sourcing team: one for M33 Growth, a venture and growth stage investment firm. “Shark Tank is the best example I can give for what venture capital is,” King explains. “My sourcing role with M33 Growth is to find interesting businesses and entrepreneurs in the healthcare sector, hear their pitches, and evaluate potential investment opportunities. I love talking to people who are passionate about their ideas.”
Although the internships King has completed during his time at BYU Marriott have helped orient him on the correct path for his future career, he also gained firsthand business experience in another way: by starting his own company. When King’s family moved from his hometown of Sacramento, California, to Utah in summer 2020, new homes were going up so fast that sod farms in Utah completely sold out of grass. King learned about this problem when his parents’ neighbor, who is a homebuilder, came over for dinner one night.
“I thought, ‘Hey, my aunt and uncle have a massive sod farm in Idaho,’” King remembers. “I called my uncle and asked, ‘If I were to set up a business buying sod from you, do you have enough sod that we could ship a semitruck load every day from Idaho to Utah?’ And he said, ‘Yeah, let’s do it.’”
So, King created and ran his own company last summer—a sod delivery and installation service called the Turf King. “I became a retailer of sod during an extremely constrained market. Right after I sent out my first ads on Google and Facebook, I worked for 16 hours straight—my phone rang from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.,” he says. “I realized, ‘We might be on to something here.’ During summer 2021, we moved a semitruck full of sod each day from Preston, Idaho, to Utah County.”
During those busy business days, King had to make several personal sacrifices, including missing out on a family scuba diving excursion when the semitruck driving his sod hit an elk on the road, requiring King to quickly find another option for transportation. However, such challenges reinforced King’s belief that real-world experiences, when combined with vital knowledge gained in the classroom, often lead to personal learning and growth.
“Managing a business was challenging and stressful, but I gained so many valuable insights,” King shares. “I’m grateful for both the experiences I’ve had with my fellow students and also the concepts I’ve learned from my professors at BYU Marriott. These components of my education prepared me for success when I started my company and will help me in the future as I transition into my career.”
Media Contact: Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: Sarah Calvert