Trial by Fire

PROVO, Utah – Dec 10, 2021 – The potential to achieve lasting and meaningful success in life is within each of us—at least that’s what strategy senior David Rawson says. For Rawson, he is following a career path that he believes will help him aid others in finding success and becoming the best version of themselves. Rawson’s goals were inspired by his service as a missionary in Brazil and the knowledge he gleaned from a book that TIME magazine called one of the 25 most influential business management books.

Before starting in the strategy program at the BYU Marriott School of Business, Rawson first served a two-year mission in Brazil for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. His mission exposed him to two different groups of people that taught him many lessons and were more alike than he realized.

The first group he found himself learning from was the missionaries he served with, who were trying to become better at finding ways to meet new people and connect with them in meaningful ways. Serving in a leadership position, Rawson found great satisfaction in helping the missionaries he worked with become consistently better every day. The second influential group of people he worked with was the people of Brazil. Each day Rawson saw how the people he was tasked with serving would improve their lives by making changes in line with their religious beliefs.

Seeing firsthand how these two different groups of people worked to achieve their innate potential inspired Rawson to set a life goal of helping others succeed. “I decided on my mission that I was going to help people maximize their own human potential, be the best versions of themselves, and achieve their dreams and aspirations,” he says.

After returning from Brazil in 2018 to his home in American Fork, Utah, Rawson read the TIME magazine-acclaimed business bestseller The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by BYU alum Stephen R. Covey. Rawson found ideas throughout the book that he wanted to use in his own life to maximize his personal potential. Rawson also began to think more deeply about how he could translate this passion into a career.

“I implemented many of the practices the book taught into my life,” Rawson shares. “I was so passionate about what I had learned that I told my family and friends all about the changes I was making. At that point, I figured I might be able to make a career out of helping others make these same changes.”

When choosing a major at BYU Marriott, Rawson wanted a program that would give him knowledge to solve problems so he could focus on his goal of improving lives. That desire led him to strategic management. “I decided to pursue strategy as an undergraduate because I knew the program could give me tools to solve problems on my own. My classes provide frameworks to think about problems and approach them in a structured way. That skill set will help me in the long run when solving people problems,” Rawson adds.

While not yet finished with the strategic management program, Rawson still has plenty of exposure to solving problems because many of his classes include experiential learning opportunities. Rawson’s classroom experiences include the Cougar Consulting Group (CCG), a class taught by Jeff Dyer, the BYU Marriott Horace Beesly Professor of Strategy. Dyer pairs students with companies that need help on a project, and the students work to provide information to the companies about various issues.

During Rawson’s time in the CCG, his team created a marketing strategy for a company expanding into a new market. “The CCG has provided me with my best undergraduate work experience to date,” Rawson says. “The project I worked on not only helped me get a taste for what consulting is like but also gave me some talking points for future job interviews.”

After completing his undergraduate degree in April 2022, Rawson hopes to further his education and specialize on human capital. His plan is to complete an MBA with an organizational behavior and human resource emphasis. Rawson wants to add this focus on HR because he believes the best way for him to help people in the workplace is to apply his strategy knowledge to the human resources industry.

To start learning more about the world of human resources, Rawson is gaining experience through his role as a project manager with BambooHR. The company provides human resource solutions to small businesses, and Rawson integrates new clients into the BambooHR system. “Working for BambooHR helps me learn more about the field of human resources,” he explains. “My position provides wonderful experiences for entering the industry I want to pursue, working with different clients throughout the world, and putting the strategy skills I’ve learned in school into practice.”

As Rawson combines his experiential learning opportunities with his work at BambooHR, he continues to learn as he goes. He says this method has been the best way to grow and stick to his goal of unlocking human potential. “In my experiential learning opportunities, my professors are preparing me with frameworks to use in future projects,” Rawson continues. “I’m grateful for the lessons I’ve learned throughout my life, from Brazil to BYU Marriott. Each of these experiences is helping me to unlock my potential, which will allow me to help others achieve the same.”

BYU Marriott strategy senior David Rawson. Photo courtesy of David Rawson.
BYU Marriott strategy senior David Rawson. Photo courtesy of David Rawson.

Media Contact: Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: Mike Miller