Learn, Do, Become, with Cougar Strategy Group

PROVO, Utah – Dec 23, 2019 – In only four short years, Cougar Strategy Group has already begun opening doors for BYU Marriott’s MBA graduates and students.

The student-run Cougar Strategy Group (CSG) began in fall 2016 and offers strategy consulting to international and Fortune 500 companies at a fraction of the price other consulting firms charge. “Companies understand that with CSG we have a dual-fold mission: provide high-quality services to clients and give students an opportunity to learn in a real-world environment,” says Boston Blake, a 2019 BYU MBA graduate and a former CSG managing director. “While it is helpful to learn theories and frameworks and apply them to cases in a class setting, taking what you learn and applying it to fixing real-world problems is an entirely different experience.”

The first team of Cougar Strategy Group students graduated in 2017, and the company is currently being run by its fourth set of students. MBA student and group member Ben Anderson sees the quick turnover as an advantage. “MBA students graduate, and new partners join the firm each winter semester, but the constant change has made CSG nimble. We are constantly improving and adapting,” he says. “The firm is only in its fourth year, and in that time, we’ve completed about two dozen paid projects, and our clients have consistently been impressed with the work we deliver.”

In the BYU Marriott MBA program, students are taught to learn principles, do the work, and then use that to become the kind of leaders they want to be. In order to create these kinds of leaders, BYU Marriott MBA professors focus on not only teaching key business principles to their students but giving those students opportunities to put those lessons into practice through experiential learning programs such as Cougar Strategy Group.

The firm is run by students who are paid for their work and are aided by BYU Marriott faculty advisors Paul Godfrey, the William and Roceil Low Professor of Business Strategy and adjunct professor Eliot Jacobsen. Godfrey is passionate about experiential learning and has seen it give BYU Marriott MBA students an edge in the job field. “We are always looking for ways to differentiate our students,” says Godfrey. “There’s so much more that our students learn by doing. Cougar Strategy Group teaches you how to think like a consultant, so when you go into the job field, you’re creating value for the organization from day one.”

Participating in CSG was the highlight of 2017 BYU Marriott graduate Randy Hulme’s MBA experience. “My experiences in CSG have opened up many doors for potential career opportunities and made me more valuable to my employers,” he says. “I was able to develop marketable skills in team leadership, business development, customer management, and entrepreneurship, all of which would have been challenging to find together in another academic environment.” Hulme has even referred companies he’s worked for back to Cougar Strategy Group for consulting.

While providing valuable hands-on experience to MBA students, Cougar Strategy Group also helps students to become the kind of leaders and strategists they want to be. Felix Chu, an MBA student from Hong Kong, says CSG has been meaningful to him as an international student.

“Since joining the group, I have been able to apply what I’ve learned to actual business settings as well as learn from business owners, mentors, and fellow classmates of different backgrounds and talents,” he says. “I know I am part of a group that makes a difference and part of a team that builds and improves the BYU Marriott MBA program.”

Faculty advisers, Paul Godfrey and Eliot Jacobsen pose with forty Cougar Strategy Group students in 2018 for a company photo
Cougar Strategy Group's 2018 class. Photo courtesy of CSG.
A female writes an equation on a whiteboard
A Cougar Strategy Group student writes an equation on the board. Photo courtesy of CSG.

Media Contact: Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: Anne Wallace