For School of Accountancy professor Brant Christensen, educating others and teaching younger generations is the family business. But it’s not just about being in the classroom. Understanding that life as a student can be challenging, Christensen earnestly mentors his students at the BYU Marriott School of Business as his predecessors mentored him.
Christensen was raised in Columbus, Ohio, by his father, a university professor, and his mother, a former elementary school teacher. Education was always emphasized in the home, and two of his siblings also went on to earn doctorates. During his high school years, his parents were called to serve as mission leaders in São Paulo, Brazil, to teach and mentor hundreds of missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Initially Christensen was very reluctant to move to Brazil, but he came to realize that his time in Brazil was one of the greatest experiences of his life.
In Brazil, Christensen witnessed how effective mentorship and teaching impact individuals who crave knowledge. “I have no doubt that my experience in Brazil was exactly what I needed at that time,” Christensen says.
After his time in Brazil, Christensen enrolled at Brigham Young University, where he found his classes to be difficult. Thankfully, his professors generously helped him. “Looking back on my professors, I realized my relationships with them reinforced my ability to persevere. They taught me how to learn and work hard, but also how to be a better person,” Christensen says.
Christensen served a church mission in Leipzig, Germany, and then returned to BYU and focused on deciding what he wanted to study. He considered medicine, German, and linguistics before he found his way to the business school. Eventually he decided on accounting, and he’s never looked back.
While working toward his accounting degree, he taught German at the Provo Missionary Training Center (MTC). “Teaching at the MTC had an enormous impact on me,” Christensen says. His decision to teach German solidified his desire to make educating others a priority in his career.
After Christensen graduated with a master's degree from BYU Marriott’s School of Accountancy in 2009, he worked as a CPA in public accounting for a time before deciding to pursue a PhD in accounting from Texas A&M University.
After holding faculty positions at the University of Missouri and the University of Oklahoma, Christensen and his family moved back to Provo in 2022. “In the end, I wanted to follow in the footsteps of my professors,” Christensen says.
Christensen’s professors also inspired him to focus his career on research, teaching, and service—eventually leading him to make student learning a priority in all aspects of his job. “My professors from the accounting program have had an undeniably positive impact on the focus of my own career,” he explains.
In his new position at BYU Marriott, Christensen is excited to mentor and serve students as his parents and professors did. “I know life can be extremely challenging for our students, but I hope they leave school with a strong testimony that God loves them and is watching out for them, even when—or especially when—things get tough.”
Written by Jake Holt