As a senior in marketing at the BYU Marriott School of Business, Kirsten Keith has embraced the program’s emphasis on community. This has helped her succeed in her studies and build a network of connections—with industry professionals as well as her peers and mentors in and out of the program.
Prior to serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Minnesota, Keith pursued a non-business major at Brigham Young University. “I remember feeling a little out of place,” Keith explains. “I didn’t like the work I was doing or the classes I was taking. I wasn’t getting the grades I wanted. And not being able to make lasting relationships with the people in my classes was really hard for me.”
This is a contrast to the marketing program, where the students in Keith’s tight-knit cohort braved junior core together and fostered a strong sense of teamwork. “The activities that we have at BYU Marriott, the way that classes are structured—they’re all catered to your personal development and also to your development with the people around you,” she says.
“The marketing program has given me a home, and that’s something that the Marketing Association and the program try to instill,” Keith continues. “BYU Marriott is so driven to help its students find belonging—both in school and after they leave.”
The strong sense of community at BYU Marriott has helped Keith become more comfortable in her major and more confident as she prepares to begin her career. “I was actually very intimidated by the business world at first, but marketing was something that combined a lot of my strengths: I love people, I love being creative, but I also have a very analytical brain. I love the marketing program so much,” Keith says. “Having the ability to connect with people has opened the world to me.”
Keith has taken the initiative to work two on-campus jobs, one for the Marketing Association and the other at the Marketing Lab. “In the Marketing Association I interact with new marketing students coming in as well as faculty and professors. At the Marketing Lab we work with real clients, so I get to make connections outside of BYU,” she says. “I owe a lot of the opportunities I have to those two windows being open.”
Working during her senior year has helped her connect with people in her field, but Keith is also making connections on a different kind of field—playing ultimate frisbee. “I’d never been able to do an intramural sport, because I've been so busy,” Keith says. “This semester I was able to rearrange a few things so I can play ultimate frisbee. It’s been such a fun way to revisit old hobbies and prioritize exercising and my mental health.”
During particularly busy weeks, Keith uses her faith to stay centered. “I think about a talk given by Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf called “Our Heartfelt All,” she says. “It reminds me that instead of thinking about the 100 things I have on my to-do list today, I can think about how each of those things helps me show my love for God and the plan of salvation.”
BYU Marriott’s gospel-centered education reminds Keith of how she can show her love for God in her work. Keith says the support of the marketing community and the professors she works with are a great blessing to her as she continues to move forward with her God-given purpose.
Keith has already accepted a full-time position from the company she interned with, to begin after her graduation. Shortly after she heard the news, she came across one of her professors from junior core walking down the hallway in the Tanner Building.
She told him about the position, and he celebrated with her. “He and the other marketing professors are so involved in the success of their students that you know they want to share in the joy of those moments,” Keith says.
While in the marketing program, Keith has been able to share similar moments of joy with her classmates, coworkers, and friends. She says, “When you come to the marketing program, we hope you know you’re family.”
Written by Melissa Een