Exploring All His Interests
PROVO, Utah – Jun 08, 2020 – Whether he’s dealing with career changes, family illness, financial struggles, or even “gnarly teeth,” BYU Marriott April 2020 strategy graduate Nathan Winn has been determined to move forward with a smile.
Raised in Dallas, Winn was dead set on attending the University of Texas at Austin—where he had been offered a full scholarship—after graduating high school. His goal was to eventually become an orthodontist. “I had a personal connection to orthodontics and what it can mean to people,” he says. “I had these gnarly, shark teeth growing up, but when I was able to take off my braces and see a smile I could be proud of, I felt a renewed sense of self-confidence.”
However, a week before he planned to accept his admission to UT Austin, Winn received a call from the dean of scholarships at BYU, who offered him BYU’s Y Award Scholarship. The scholarship was offered to Winn based on his example of leadership, need, and ability to overcome adversity.
“My mom had recently recovered from cancer, and my dad had lost his job. It was a tough point in my life and for our family,” says Winn. “The feeling of being personally recognized and the honor of receiving such a prestigious scholarship prompted me to reconsider my options, and I chose BYU.”
Although Winn began as a chemistry major at BYU, he found himself drawn to the strategy program at BYU Marriott School of Business. “I’ve always had diverse interests, and I realized that business was a great way to explore them all,” he explains.
Winn was so eager to begin that he took all the prerequisite classes in one semester; he was thrilled when he was accepted in to the program. “I did my best in the application process, but I still felt like I had a fifty-fifty shot,” he says. “It’s an intensely competitive program, so when I got in, I was beyond grateful. I wanted to contribute in a meaningful way in order to show my appreciation, so I joined the Business Strategy Association and the Business Strategy Club.” Winn served as vice president of events for both organizations during his senior year.
As another way to give back, Winn participated with a team of classmates in the 2019 Bain & Company Case Competition. Winn values the experience not only because of the knowledge he gained but also because of the friends he made and the lessons he learned. “Participating in the case competition wasn’t required, but it was an opportunity to learn something I wouldn’t be able to otherwise and to show my commitment to my career,” he says. Winn and his team made it to the final round of the competition, placing in the top three teams out of the twenty-nine that competed.
The workload of the strategy program didn’t stop Winn from exploring his diverse interests. While in high school, he played guitar in a heavy metal band, and he continues to enjoy new music by attending at least one live music event monthly. “Playing guitar is a hobby I’m excited to rekindle even more once I get more free time,” he says.
Winn’s also recently discovered a new favorite hobby: Python coding. “The stereotype of coding is that it’s extremely rigid,” he says. “But it’s actually creative work. Coding is all about finding innovative solutions to complex problems. I’ve had a lot of fun exploring those tools and improving my skills.”
In the face of a global pandemic, Winn’s career plans to incorporate these coding skills into his prospective business intelligence analyst position have changed. “My prospective offer with Restaurant365 in Irvine, where I completed my junior internship, was rescinded due to the damaging effects the virus has had on the restaurant industry,” he says. “My circumstance is not unique, and I am thankful for my time and experience I had with the company while working remotely my senior year.”
Despite receiving this disappointing news only weeks prior to graduation, Winn has already found new opportunities to apply his strategy degree and data-science experience, thanks to his BYU Marriott network. “I reached out to a strategy alumnus at Ivory Homes upon hearing the news, and the following week, I was already coding for Utah’s biggest home provider,” he says.
Although he has a deep love for the lifestyle in Southern California, Winn plans to continue to work as a data analyst for Ivory Homes in Utah. “Coming to grips with my new reality was difficult,” he acknowledges, “but I am confident that everything happens for a reason, whether known to us or not. It is simply our prerogative to march onward intentionally.”
Whether it be enduring the storms of family illness and job loss or adapting to the extenuating circumstances of a global pandemic, Winn shows that resilience and a genuine smile can carry him to great heights.
Media Contact: Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: Anne Wallace