2019 MBAs To Watch: Steve Martin, Brigham Young University (Marriott)

Steve Martin

Marriott School of Business, Brigham Young University

“Not that Steve Martin, but still great.”

Hometown: Salt Lake City, Utah

Fun fact about yourself: I’ve driven 30+ vehicles of various makes on 7 US race tracks at high speed.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Brigham Young University – Bachelor of Arts, Communications, Public Relations emphasis

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Cadillac – Assistant Manager, Product & Technology Communications for sports sedans, high-performance vehicles, and Cadillac Racing

Where did you intern during the summer of 2018? Adobe Inc. – Lehi, Utah

Where will you be working after graduation? Adobe Inc. – Manager, Business Development and Field Enablement

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • Club Leadership: BYU MBA Marketing Association Vice President
  • Scholarships: BYU MBA Program Scholarship, Jeff & Sara Strong Marketing Lab Scholarship, Hal Heaton MBA Scholarship
  • Case Competitions: 2018 Cardinal Health/Sawtooth Software Marketing Analytics Consulting Challenge winner, 2017 Adobe Analytics Challenge semi-finalist
  • Service: Marketing Sherpa – helping four 1st-year marketing students, Executive Secretary for church congregation of 500+ members, Guest lecturer for PR undergraduate classes

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I’m most proud of my work with Kaizen, BYU MBA’s student-run consulting agency that is only focused on improving the BYU MBA program. I have designed and run qualitative and quantitative research to shed light on the student experience, followed by recommendations for improvement to BYU MBA leadership. It’s meaningful to make an impact on this program that has given me so much.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? At Cadillac, I helped turn around a high-profile, race car launch, delivering the #1 single earned-media bump in 2016 and the #1 media story in 2017 for the brand. Only by trusting my relationships inside and outside the company did the story have so much power.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Jeff Dotson, Associate Professor of Marketing. His friendship and mentorship beyond the classroom have really made a difference in my life.

What was your favorite MBA Course? Operations Management with Dan Snow. The class used parts of my brain I haven’t used before, training me to think about the ramifications of business decisions and processes from every angle possible.

Why did you choose this business school? BYU has relationships with Amazon, Adobe, and other name brand tech companies even though tuition costs significantly less than other top schools.

What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? Show (don’t tell) your value and what you will bring to the program in your application. Attend all the classes and tours you can. BYU has a culture of “competition,” so get to know alumni and current students; everyone is willing to help you succeed.

What is the biggest myth about your school? Biggest myth: BYU lacks diversity. Though the school lags in traditional diversity metrics, BYU MBA provided me new friends and colleagues from numerous backgrounds, cultures, ways of thinking, and life experiences. I also traveled to Asia and South America, visiting businesses and learning from men and women. My experience is not uncommon.

Think back two years ago. What is the one thing you wish you’d known before starting your MBA program? Take ownership of the experience and don’t be driven by FOMO or comparisons to other student’s MBA paths.

MBA Alumni often describe business school as transformative. Looking back over the past two years, how has business school been transformative for you? Business school has given me the insight and confidence to take my career into whatever direction I chose. Having examples of others who have worked hard, taken risks, and seen luck work in their favor have provided the paradigm shift necessary for me to follow in their footsteps. Before school, I worked hard, but I didn’t realize how much I could drive my own success.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? There are so many, but I really admire Tanner Nordstrom. His ability to drive toward a goal while saying “no” to other attractive options is something I wish to emulate. His entrepreneurial spirit is contagious.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? A friend in New York whom I did service with was the person who most influenced me to pursue an MBA. I realized that if he did it, I could do it too. He also encouraged me at each step of the way.

What is your favorite movie about business? Three-way tie between The Social Network, The Big Short and Moneyball.

What was the goofiest MBA term or acronym you encountered – and what did it mean? Kerchunk time – how often a widget falls off the end of a manufacturing line

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…looking for a new job. Cadillac recently moved its communications team to Detroit.”

What dollar value would you place on your MBA education? Was it worth what you paid for it – worth more or worth less? I won’t put a dollar value on it, but it has opened up my opportunities for wealth creation. With scholarships and savings, I have taken no debt and have paid significantly less than the US average for an MBA.

What are the top two items on your bucket list? Start my own company. Dive with sharks. Doesn’t have to be in that order.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? I hope to be remembered as someone who believed in, encouraged, and supported their own dreams and goals. I would also like to be remembered as someone who brought data to hard-to-see issues.

Hobbies? I love:

  • Reading the Wall Street Journal, Michael Lewis books, and pieces on behavioral psychology and economics
  • Cars and cycling
  • Design and fashion
  • Data
  • The two things one is not supposed to discuss with others: politics and religion
  • Traveling to Asia – been to 10 countries
  • Taking walks with my wife and rescue dog

What made Steve such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2019?

“Steve Martin is an exemplary student at the Marriott School of Business. In addition to his solid course work (recipient of three scholarships: BYU MBA Program Scholarship, Jeff and Sara Strong Marketing Lab Scholarship, and the Hall Heaton MBA Scholarship), Steve has magnified himself through multiple leadership and extra-curricular activities. He truly stands out among his peers.

Steve consistently pushes himself outside the classroom to develop his business skill set. He has successfully represented the Marriott School in three case competitions: 2018 Cardinal Health / Sawtooth Software Marketing Analytics Consulting Challenge (1st Place), 2017 Adobe Analytics Challenge (Semi-Finalist), and the 2018 MBAMA Top Marketer Case Competition. Steve’s thought leadership, analytical abilities, and stellar presenting skills has enabled his teams to rise to the top against many top 10 presenting schools.

Steve is a fantastic student leader. His vibrant personality, mixed with a solid drive, enables constant peer support surrounding his initiatives. Steve serves as the BYU MBA Marketing Association Alumni Vice President where he organized a weekly professional seminar speaker series with marketing leaders across the nation. These business professionals representing CPG, Tech and other B2B firms came to campus on their own dime to share their corporate wisdom and mentor BYU MBAs. Following the formal discussion, Steve secured a more in-depth lunch discussion matching the alum with students specifically targeting their respective industry. Beyond his formal leadership roles, Steve serves as a “Sherpa” to incoming first-year marketing students to help them prepare their resumes and interviewing skills for the upcoming recruiting season. In his community, Steve serves as the Executive Secretary for his church congregation of 500+ members.

The above makes him a top MBA student, but what sets Steve apart is his creative view of the world and unique business insights. I often wonder how Vincent van Gogh saw the world—his colors and shapes are different from mine. Steve is a van Gogh of the business world. We all look at the same economy, industry, company—but Steve sees them differently, artistically, creatively. Steve insights frequently wow me. They are often eccentric, but when you pause and ponder, you realize that they are not only unique but also spot on target.

I’m proud of Steve and his accomplishments.  His leadership efforts and dedication to the marketing discipline has paid off, securing a full-time offer with Adobe.  I’m confident that he will be one of the future stars in the industry.  I hope that you’ll consider Steve Martin as one of Poets & Quant’s “Best and Brightest MBAs.”

Grant McQueen

Director, BYU Marriott MBA Program

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