A Strategy Society for Everyone
PROVO, Utah – Sep 22, 2021 – What do you get when you combine business strategy and students from 16 different majors at BYU? A group dedicated to learning and applying strategic principles to any career path. The Business Strategy Society (BSS) at the BYU Marriott School of Business helps all BYU students see how strategy can be used every day to accomplish any goal.
Because the BSS is open to all students at BYU, the events and activities that are held are flexible and designed to fit the needs of a variety of participants. Copresident Robert Rex, a senior from Orem, is an economics major and has felt at home in the society because of how the activities adapt to his background. His first exposure to the BSS was in 2019 when he joined for a case competition and walked away from the event with a newfound love for strategic thinking. Rex appreciates that he was able to participate in the competition despite not knowing much about strategy and was able to have an important learning experience.
Thanks to that first positive interaction with the group, Rex has been a member of the BSS ever since and is excited to help all BYU students through his role as copresident. “The group’s presidency is truly invested in the success of students,” he says. “In the society, students will feel support from their leaders who want to help them reach their dreams and overcome challenges.”
Fellow copresident and strategy senior Stephen Sorensen’s decision to join the group was pivotal in helping him decide to pursue a strategic management degree. Sorensen, from Tustin, California, attended a BSS meeting during his first month at BYU and was surprised to find the large number of connections between strategy and his everyday life. “Learning strategy helped me define my values,” he explains. “The discipline helped me develop frameworks, principles, and ideologies in order to achieve whatever goals I have.”
The BSS is open to any major because its presidency believes strategy principles can apply to any profession. As a result, Rex is glad to see many students who are not strategy majors participate in the society because of their interest in business careers. “As a presidency, we care more about where students want to go as opposed to where they come from,” Sorensen adds. “Some students want to develop the leadership skills that come with strategy. These skills can help them with any career, including education, management, consulting, project management, and of course, strategy.”
While the society’s activities are customizable to the needs of members, meetings typically fall into three general categories: case competitions, guest speakers, and workshops. The group hosts case competitions and brings in companies to share business problems with members of the group. Potential solutions are then pitched by students, and companies pick the best ideas for potential implementation in their organizations. Rex and Sorensen are looking forward to their planned case competitions this fall, which will include Cotopaxi, an outdoor apparel company founded by a BYU alumnus. “Our group is excited to have events that give students opportunities to apply strategic principles in real life,” Rex says.
Sorensen says the purpose of holding meetings with guest speakers is to help members of the BSS network with industry professionals and learn more about potential careers after graduation. He adds that BSS workshops provide opportunities for strategy skills to be learned and refined. These workshops are usually taught by members of the society’s presidency or a faculty member who assists at the meeting.
David Bryce, an associate professor of strategy at BYU Marriott and the group’s faculty advisor, loves helping the students. He recognizes how beneficial the meetings are for those interested in strategy principles. “The purpose of the BSS is to give students practical experiences in developing strategy. The meetings also help develop students’ interest in pursuing strategy as a career and connects them with job opportunities,” Bryce adds.
The society’s presidency strives to support its students as much as possible beyond regular meetings, including with a new mentorship program. “The upperclassmen are going to take the things we have found to be beneficial during our time as strategy students and share them,” Sorensen explains. The program will pair upperclassmen with underclassmen to facilitate experience and knowledge being passed on from one student to another in hopes of providing support for those beginning to learn about strategy. Rex and Sorensen are also hoping to build the mentorship program to allow future alumni to return to the group and mentor students.
As a new school year begins, Rex and Sorensen look forward to helping all society participants increase their love for strategy. The pair say they choose to serve as copresidents because of the impact the BSS makes in their lives. They say they want to see that same difference reflected in the lives of their fellow students as they see in themselves. “The relationships that I have made in the BSS have changed my life,” Rex says. “My career opportunities have improved, the personal decisions I make changed for the better, and my academic performance has benefited. I want that for everyone.”
Media Contact: Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: Mike Miller