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Marriott School Announces 2015 Eccles Scholars

The Kay and Yvonne Whitmore Global Management Center at Brigham Young University recently named 12 first-year MBA candidates as Eccles Scholars and awarded each recipient $9,000 to aid with schooling costs, international projects and global career exploration.

The 2015 Eccles Scholars (l to r): Ivan Marchenko, Wilford Wong, Nathan Rich, Nicola Harris, Iris Zhou, Leonardo da Rocha, Prerna Gupta, Eric Volmar, Jono Castleton, Mike Johnson, Ben Chapman and Mike Brock.
The 2015 Eccles Scholars (l to r): Ivan Marchenko, Wilford Wong, Nathan Rich, Nicola Harris, Iris Zhou, Leonardo da Rocha, Prerna Gupta, Eric Volmar, Jono Castleton, Mike Johnson, Ben Chapman and Mike Brock.

“Being named an Eccles Scholar shows that a student is serious about becoming a leader in global business,” says Bruce Money, Whitmore Center director. “We are honored to be associated with these fine students.”

The 2015 Eccles Scholars are Mike Brock, from West Valley City, Utah.; Jono Castleton, from Mission Viejo, Calif.; Ben Chapman, from Salt Lake City; Prerna Gupta, from Jalandhar, India; Nicola Harris, from Dallas; Mike Johnson, from Bountiful, Utah; Ivan Marchenko, from Moscow; Nathan Rich, from Rupert, Idaho; Leonardo Rocha, from Rio de Janeiro; Eric Volmar, from Kaysville, Utah; Wilford Wong, from Hong Kong; and Iris Zhou, from Guangdong, China.

A committee of faculty members interviewed 64 applicants and selected the top 12 candidates. The award winners were chosen based on their international business expertise and experience, second-language fluency, GPA, GMAT score and desire to further their careers in international business ventures.

“The chosen students come from an applicant pool of highly accomplished MBA students with a deep desire to excel in the global business community,” Money says. “We are particularly grateful for the generous funding from the Eccles Foundation, which make the awards possible.”

The Eccles Scholars Award is funded by the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation. The foundation was created in 1960 to ensure that the Eccles’ philanthropic work would continue beyond their lifetimes. The foundation supports many projects and programs, particularly in education, at nearly every college and university campus throughout the state of Utah.

The Marriott School is located at Brigham Young University, the largest privately owned, church-sponsored university in the United States. The school has nationally recognized programs in accounting, business management, entrepreneurship, finance, information systems and public management. The school’s mission is to prepare men and women of faith, character and professional ability for positions of leadership throughout the world. Approximately 3,000 students are enrolled in the Marriott School’s graduate and undergraduate programs.

Mike Brock

Mike Brock received his Bachelor of Science degree in finance and worked for the Royal Bank of Scotland and American Express before returning to BYU for his MBA in marketing. Brock has connected with different countries throughout the Americas which helped him realize and learn from differing perspectives. “We face global issues that will require us to reach beyond our respective borders and collaborate with colleagues wherever they may be geographically,” Brock says. He plans to pursue a career in international business by interning with Amazon.

Jono Castleton

After graduating with his BYU Master of Accountancy degree in 2008, Jono Castleton accepted a position with EY for its international opportunities and to work as a senior associate. Castleton transitioned to Blackfoot Capital before returning to BYU for his MBA. “The BYU MBA and the Eccles award provide me with actual experience, here and abroad, that will influence me throughout my entire career,” Castleton says. The Mission Viejo, Calif., native plans to work this summer with Deloitte Consulting as a global supply chain intern.

Ben Chapman

A graduate of BYU in music media studies and sound recording technology, Ben Chapman’s work experiences took him to many locations across the United States, Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark and Canada. As a sound engineer at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City, Chapman worked with dozens of language teams throughout the world to record and edit The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints products for distribution throughout the world. “The academics of the BYU MBA program have pushed me beyond what I thought I could do,” Chapman says. “As a result, I’ve gained new knowledge and insights into many facets and functions of business management that have qualified me for many opportunities.” Chapman will intern with Intel this summer in Phoenix.

Prerna Gupta

Prerna Gupta received her degree in instrumental and electronics engineering from Regional Engineering College in Jalandhar, India, and worked for IBM in India and Ohio for 12 years before coming to BYU for her MBA. Her career plan is to work for a leading technology firm with an international presence where she can utilize her past experience in the technology industry and current business education at BYU. “I feel very privileged to receive the Eccles award,” Gupta says. “It reinforces my will to play an important role in the international business world. I hope to be able to give back to the Marriott School and future generations of MBAs.”

Nicola Harris

Dallas native Nicola Harris received her undergraduate degree from Harvard University in neurobiology with a Spanish citation. While at Harvard, Harris performed with the Harvard Radcliffe Orchestra and toured South Korea, sparking her fascination with Far Eastern culture. Harris plans to expand her experiences by attending the Asia MBA study abroad program this summer. “I plan to apply my international business classes and travel experience as a business leader to represent BYU and its unique mission,” Harris says. “I truly believe that business is the most effective way to influence the world for good, and I plan to use my BYU education to make a positive difference.” Harris will also intern this summer with Intel in operations finance.

Mike Johnson

Mike Johnson always knew he wanted a career in international business that would take him abroad. While double majoring in economics and international business at Utah State University, Johnson interned for an international commodity brokerage that transitioned into a full-time position after graduation. He decided to get his MBA as an opportunity to explore additional options of working abroad. “I have enjoyed how the BYU MBA faculty makes an investment in our education,” Johnson says. “They are actively helping in every way to ensure we gain the best education and internship possible. The culture of serving and giving of oneself is inspiring and I hope to build on that legacy.” Johnson will intern in Boston for Liberty Mutual as a corporate development internal consultant.

 Ivan Marchenko

Hailing from Moscow, Ivan Marchenko came to BYU for his MBA to learn the business practices of the United States and other countries through BYU’s global emphasis. After earning the equivalent of a Bachelor of Science in psychology from M. V. Lomonosov Moscow State University in 2006, Marchenko worked for different management and consulting firms in Russia, Iraq and the United Arab Emirates. “An international career has greater potential to make a bigger difference worldwide,” Marchenko says. “BYU and this award will help me to add even more value to the business of my future employer because of the opportunities to enrich my understanding of the international business environment.” He will intern this summer with Honeywell in its Europe, Middle East and Africa division.

Nathan Rich

After obtaining his bachelor’s degree in business management from BYU–Idaho in 2008, Nathan Rich began working for Avery Dennison where he explored his interest in international business. Rich decided to attend BYU for his MBA because of the existence of the Global Management Certificate and the program’s international expertise. “Receiving the Eccles award is an honor when considering the depth of talent in the BYU MBA program,” Rich says. “I'm thankful for the opportunity to carry this legacy forward in my career.” Rich will pursue venture capital and private equity internships.

Leonardo Rocha

Leonardo Rocha, a native of Rio de Janeiro, graduated from Federal Rural University of Rio de Janeiro with his Bachelor of Business Administration in 2007. Rocha transitioned to IBM where he worked as an incentives team leader in Brazil and a financial team lead in Turkey before coming to BYU for his MBA. “The BYU MBA program has provided me with unique access to an extensive network of American and international professionals,” Rocha says. “I am confident the BYU experience will enable me to become a global leader who can positively impact business by representing the values espoused by the university.” Rocha intends to return to Brazil and apply the principles he has learned abroad as he seeks to further his international career.

Eric Volmar

While working for Accenture Management Consulting, Eric Volmar adopted the company’s motto, “One Global Network.” A BYU accounting graduate, Volmar went to Zimbabwe this past May as part of a humanitarian team to help a small school with its business model. He plans to conduct similar business training programs in villages near Mexico City. Volmar will enroll in a PhD organizational behavior program after graduation with the intent to be a business school professor. “The generosity of the Eccles Foundation is helping me gain a more global perspective, and I intend to contribute to the missions of the Eccles Foundation and the Marriott School by helping strengthen higher education in developing countries,” Volmar says.

Wilford Wong

At the age of 17 Wilford Wong moved from Hong Kong to Utah in search of a better education and more opportunities. After receiving his bachelor’s degree in economics from BYU in 2009, Wong returned to Hong Kong to work for Chong Hing Bank before starting his BYU MBA in finance in 2014 to further expand his knowledge. “The Eccles award provides me the ability to experience international business in different ways as an extension to the skills and knowledge that I have gained within an academic setting,” Wong says. “It will better prepare me for taking on leadership roles in global business settings.” He plans to pursue an internship in real estate.

Iris Zhou

A native of Guangdong, China, Iris Zhou is no stranger to differing cultures. Having traveled to 17 countries between Asia, Europe and America, Zhou has made her mark among eastern and western ways. She earned her undergraduate degree in management from Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, China, before pursing her Master of Accountancy from City University of Hong Kong. “Coming from China, the learning experience in BYU’s MBA program far exceeded my expectations,” Zhou says. “The world-class faculty, talented students, supportive network and fun activities makes it an eye-opening journey for me.” Zhou plans to intern this summer with General Motors in corporate finance.


Writer: Caroline Smith