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Student Spotlight

From Classroom to Boardroom

As an educator, learning was always a priority for Brenna Porter. After being an elementary school teacher for two-and-a-half-years, Porter decided she needed to further her education by earning an MBA at the BYU Marriott School of Business. Porter’s background in teaching helped her forge her own path in the MBA program and bring her true identity to the workplace.

Professional photo of a woman.
Porter is in her second year of the MBA program.
Photo courtesy of Brenna Porter.

When Porter decided to make a career change, she considered many options. “I knew that I wanted to continue my education and I got really excited about a few different things like pursuing a master’s degree in public health, doing a speech-language pathology program, or getting a master’s degree in public administration,” Porter says.

Ultimately, she decided that BYU Marriott’s MBA program would a good fit for her. “I felt like no matter what, an MBA would provide me with opportunity moving forward, whatever that looks like,” Porter shares. “It was a combination of wanting to learn and being inspired by powerful women in my circle who empowered me to go to BYU for an MBA.”

At the start of the program in the fall of 2022, Porter knew she was going to be pushed outside of her comfort zone. “It was so shocking when I came in,” Porter explains. “I had so much imposter syndrome coming into business because a lot of what is taught does not match with my natural strengths.”

However, she soon recognized that connections between education and business would help her excel in her chosen path. “I realized that there is so much that you do in a classroom that is directly related to business, like the soft skills,” she says. “Understanding how to problem solve, how to work with different types of people, and how to make accommodations to create the best outcomes on a team were all things that I learned as a teacher that I could apply in the business world.”

With those skills, Porter helped organize a unique event—the first Faith at Work case competition. “Several students in the year above me brought me onto the team in the beginning of my first year in the program, and I helped them throughout that process. Now I'm in charge of carrying it on this next year,” Porter shares. "It was really cool to be a part of that inaugural event that ended up being super successful and had a profound impact on the students who attended.”

A man and a woman stand on a stage to address a crowd of people.
Porter will lead the upcoming Faith at Work case competition.
Photo courtesy of Brenna Porter.

With the case competition, Porter explains, “The big idea is to help everyone be able to live their beliefs, and that looks different for everyone. You should feel free to live your faith and not hide it, because that makes you a better employee and coworker.”

Overall, being in the MBA program has been a life-changing experience for Porter. She feels like she sees the world in a different way and will be able to use her teaching background and business skills to make an impact on the world.

“The BYU Marriott MBA program will change your life,” Porter says. “It will teach you how to work with people, how to work with teams, and it will push you out of your comfort zone every day. It’ll stretch you in so many ways. There’s no way to come out of it not changed.”

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Written by Kacee Call

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