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Student Experiences

Eleven MBA Students Announced as 2021 Eccles Scholars

Eleven MBA students were recently recognized as the 2021 Eccles Scholars by the Whitmore Global Business Center (GBC) at the BYU Marriott School of Business. The Eccles Scholars award is an annual award of $9,000 given to student applicants through the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation.

The foundation was created by George and Dolores Eccles, a couple who valued and supported their community. The foundation seeks to encourage service by promoting projects and programs that aim to better the Utah community and BYU students’ international ventures.

The award winners are selected after a series of interviews with a panel of BYU faculty and staff members. Students who receive this award must demonstrate fluency in a second language, have international experience, desire to pursue international business, and achieve promising academic scores.

2021 Eccles Scholars
2021 Eccles Scholars

“The Eccles award is an accelerator and multiplier that helps students have transformative experiences that propel them along a global business trajectory,” says Jonathon Wood, managing director of the GBC. “Without the award, many would struggle to realize these educational goals. At the GBC, we talk about opening possibility, and that is exactly what this award does.”

The BYU Marriott School of Business prepares men and women of faith, character, and professional ability for positions of leadership throughout the world. Named for benefactors J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott, the school is located at Brigham Young University, the largest privately owned, church-sponsored university in the United States. BYU Marriott has four graduate and ten undergraduate programs with an enrollment of approximately 3,300 students.


While completing his undergraduate studies at BYU, Taylor Ball, a student from Orem, participated in a global marketing study abroad, where he visited eleven countries in under two months. After graduating with a BA in humanities with minors in both global business and Spanish from BYU in 2018, Ball worked for Nu Skin as a compliance officer for the company’s offices and stores in Chile. While working for the company, he realized the importance of language fluency and cultural understanding in international business. As an MBA student who is finishing his first year, Ball plans to continue to build international relationships as he travels to Italy to study for a semester in winter 2022. He also hopes to continue his international experience by moving to Europe for work after graduation.

Caleb Faber, from Bountiful, Utah, was exposed to the joy of learning from different cultures while visiting Mexico and Costa Rica as a youth and solidified that joy as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Mongolia. During his undergraduate degree, Faber expanded his interactions with international cultures through an engineering leadership study abroad in mainland China. After earning his BS in chemical engineering from BYU in 2018, Faber worked as a process engineer at IM Flash Technologies and Micron Technology in Lehi, Utah. After two years of working in the semiconductor industry, Faber returned to BYU to pursue an MBA through BYU Marriott. Faber is eager to expand his business acumen to an international sphere and plans on using the Eccles Scholars award to participate in an international exchange program at Bocconi University in Milan. Faber will also be interning as in international supplier management intern at Micron Technology this summer.

Ethan Felix, from Auburn, Wyoming, recalls hearing stories about his grandparents who moved to the United States from Lebanon and Mexico and eventually started a mercantile business. Felix says he inherited his grandparents’ passion for business after seeing how much the business blessed him, his family, and others. After graduating from BYU–Idaho with a BS in business management in 2011, emphasizing in finance and entrepreneurship, he gained experience working as an analyst and in management positions for companies such as Vivint Solar, Bronze Buffalo Club, and SolarCity, a subsidiary of Tesla. As Felix finishes his first year in the MBA program, he hopes to enrich his studies in international business as a recipient of the Eccles Scholars award. He plans to use the award money to participate in a study abroad experience to Asia, where he wants to learn more about how cultural differences affect the business environment across the global community.

After graduating from BYU–Idaho in 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in marketing and working in various managerial positions for Café Zupas for seven years, Sam Hobson, who hails from Boise, Idaho, joined the BYU Marriott MBA program in 2020 where he is now finishing his first year of studies. Since beginning his studies in the program, Hobson has already participated and received top marks in a number of case competitions and is currently the president of BYU’s Strategy and Consulting Club. His interest in international business came when he was working as an associate manager for Pedersen Worldwide Companies, a parent company of international retail brands that reach across the globe. Though Hobson loves experiencing different cultural traditions and social practices, he also knows that working in international business requires him to dive even deeper—learning about differences in everything from supply chains and markets to currencies and pricing. He hopes to use the award to build his understanding of international business in Asia through a study abroad in 2022.

Having visited more than forty different businesses in Europe, Asia, and Australia during study abroad experiences through BYU Marriott, Brady Johnson, from St. George, Utah, is no stranger to international travel and business. After serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Massachusetts speaking both Cambodian and Spanish, Johnson discovered his love for culture and how it could be applied to a career in global business. Pursuing that love, Johnson earned a BS in business management from BYU Marriott in 2016. After working for Amazon as an operations area manager and at Epic Systems in a number of different positions, Johnson returned to Provo to earn his MBA at BYU Marriott where he is finishing his first year of studies. When he graduates in 2022, Johnson wants to become a brand manager for a multinational company. He hopes to expand his network and achieve his career goals by traveling to South America in winter 2022 with the money he received from the Eccles Scholars award.

Angel Martinez, from Brooklyn, New York, has been in the business world ever since he was young. While living in New York City, Martinez acted as the liaison and logistics coordinator for his father. This fostered Martinez’s love for business, even in high school, when he secured an internship in international sales with Revol Wireless. After receiving his BS in psychology from BYU in 2016, Martinez worked as a talent acquisition partner and consultant for the Allegis Group. His exceptional performance in recruitment and ability to surpass hiring goals was recognized by top executives in the company when he received the 2017 Most Valuable Partner award. As he finishes his first year in BYU’s MBA program, Martinez plans to expand his network to different countries in Asia with the money he received from the Eccles Scholars award.

Before enrolling as an MBA/JD student, Michael McKinley, from Pleasanton, California, studied neuroscience. After graduating with a BS in neuroscience from BYU in 2017, McKinley decided to study business and law. While enrolled at BYU’s J. Reuben Clark Law School, he participated in BYU’s International Law and Religion Symposium three times as an interpreter and host for delegates from Brazil and Portugal. His international experience stretches beyond the symposium to his time spent working as a project director for Humanitarian Experience Inc., where he worked with people from Brazil, Belize, Tonga, Fiji, Israel, Palestine, Kenya, Zimbabwe, and the Philippines. Now, as he finishes his first year as a BYU MBA/JD student, McKinley plans to expand his understanding of international business during a study abroad to Asia in 2021 or 2022. McKinley hopes the experience he gains from this study abroad will further propel his internationally focused career.

While teaching high school Spanish classes, Julia Moorhead, from Colleyville, Texas, realized that the best kind of learning reached beyond the classroom. She wanted to give her students international service experience. After much research, planning, and organizing, Moorhead took thirteen students from her Spanish class to Costa Rica to teach them about the country’s culture and give them opportunities to participate in service projects. With the knowledge she gained from her 2015 BA in Spanish teaching from BYU, Moorhead hopes to build her understanding of different cultures from a business perspective through earning an MBA from BYU Marriott. As an Eccles Scholar who is finishing her first year in the MBA program, Moorhead plans to use the funds from this award to participate in a study abroad to Latin America. She hopes to apply what she learns from the study abroad to help improve international relations for Bayer, a pharmaceutical company that sells goods to countries around the world.

Racheal Neiger, from Orem, double-majored in both English and Spanish at BYU in 2009. After finishing her undergrad, she attended the London School of Economics & Political Science, where she earned her MSc in empires, colonialism, and globalization in 2013. During her studies, Neiger realized the benefits of international connection and diversity in cities such as London—benefits she wants to incorporate in international business. Now back at BYU in the BYU Marriott School of Business, she is finishing her first year in the MBA program. She is currently serving as a chief student life officer and Women in Management club president. When Neiger graduates, she plans to create a nonprofit organization that helps female-led businesses. While still in school, Neiger plans to use the money she received from the Eccles Scholars award to expand her knowledge of international business by participating in a study abroad to Europe or Asia.

For Pavel Semenenkov, education required sacrifice. At age nineteen, Semenenkov packed what he needed and moved from his home in Kaliningrad, Russia, to Rexburg, Idaho. After earning a BS in accounting in 2018 from BYU–Idaho and working as a financial analyst for Melaleuca, he enrolled in BYU Marriott’s MBA program where he is finishing his first year. The personal sacrifices that propelled him to where he is today were motivated by his lifelong desire to work in an executive capacity at an international company. Semenenkov plans to use the money from this award to participate in a study abroad to South America in January 2022. He hopes this experience will expand his cultural understanding of European and Asian cultures as well as North and South American cultures.

Jared Whaley, from Colorado Springs, Colorado, realized that he could contribute on an international scale when he served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Paraguay. Though he lived in the United States for most of his life, the cultural differences he was exposed to while on his mission made him appreciate the importance of learning about different cultures. After graduating with his BS in business analytics in 2016 from BYU–Idaho, Whaley began working for the United States Automobile Association in San Antonio. As he begins his second year at BYU Marriott as an MBA student, Whaley hopes to use the Eccles Scholars Award to expand his understanding of cultures through a study abroad when opportunities to travel become more available.

Writer: Rebecca Nissen