Darron Billeter cherishes the moments when his students knock on his office door for a quick visit. He sees the value and potential each student has as he sits down and chats with each of them about their current circumstances and lives.
Billeter’s overall goal as an associate professor of marketing at the BYU Marriott School of Business is to spend his time serving those he works with and those he teaches, emulating the light of his Savior, Jesus Christ.
As Billeter grew up in Oakland, California, he discovered that he wanted to become a professor. “Back then—and still today—I love to constantly learn,” Billeter says. “I had relatives and close family friends who taught at college and universities, and the idea appealed to me. From the time I recognized that’s what I wanted to do, I worked to fulfill that goal.”
After graduating high school, Billeter gained a vast amount of education and experiences. He served a full-time mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Dresden, Germany, shortly after the reunification of the country since it was divided following World War II. After returning from his mission, he graduated from BYU with an undergraduate degree in statistics in 1996 and then earned his master's degree in industrial engineering from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, in 1999.
Shortly after receiving his masters, he worked at U.S Airways in Washington, DC, for three and one-half years in the internal consulting group, learning different aspects of business. He then finished his education by attending Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to receive his PhD in marketing with an emphasis in consumer behavior. During this time in Billeter’s life, he realized there was more to these accomplishments than just a degree and title.
“Throughout all my experiences and education, I couldn’t imagine being where I am today without my mentors and the people who served and cared about me,” says Billeter. “I’ve been able to accomplish some important things in my life, but I’ve learned those things do not mean anything without the people who have stood by my side. The moments and relationships you create with others is so important, no matter where you are in life.”
Billeter held on to that realization as he began his career as a professor at BYU Marriott in 2008 shortly after receiving his PhD. His focus was not just to teach but to make a difference in the lives of his students by becoming a mentor and friend. Just as people graciously served him throughout his life, his mission is to do the same with his teaching.
“It’s such a rewarding feeling when students come to me and open up about things they’re going through—both good and bad,” says Billeter. “It gives me the chance to help them and serve them with what they need.”
When Billeter is given the opportunity to support his students, he not only feels richly rewarded but also is grateful for the reminder to focus on the example of his Savior, Jesus Christ. “As I’ve gone through my life and looked back at my challenges, mistakes, and successes, I can see how blessed I’ve been. I’ve also seen, however, how my life could have been better if I applied the teachings of Jesus Christ and followed His example more often.”
“I keep learning over and over again, and I keep trying to be better at that,” Billeter continues. “However, the mission of BYU and the people who occupy this campus help me stay on track. I love teaching at this university and the influence it has on every person who attends—including the influence it has on me.”
Writer: Sophia Shafkalis