Smart Minds in the Same Room

Smart Minds in the Same Room

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PROVO, Utah – Jan 16, 2020 – BYU Marriott’s Social Venture Academy has seen an interest trend emerge from the group’s current and former student presidents. Turns out, working at the Academy is a perfect entry point toward pursuing a career in consulting.

Four former co-presidents, as well as the current president of the Social Venture Academy, have started the natural transition from the Academy to work in the consulting field. After graduating with a degree in strategic management, Rachel Durtschi also went to work at Oliver Wyman, Tanner Clawson went to Bain & Company in South Africa after receiving his finance degree, Taylor Baker received his economics degree and started at ZS Associates in New Jersey, and Ethan Davis worked at Boston Consulting Group in Dallas after double majoring in economics and French studies.

For current Social Venture Academy president and finance student Isaac Blake, working in the Ballard Center and with the academy positioned him perfectly to successfully enter a consulting career after graduation. “At its heart, consulting is putting a lot of smart minds in the same room to solve someone’s problem,” says Blake. “A natural path follows social venture work to consulting.”

After graduating from BYU Marriott in April 2020 with a BS in finance and with five semesters at the Ballard Center’s Social Venture Academy under his belt, Blake will also be moving to Dallas to start a consulting job at Oliver Wyman, a global-management consulting firm.

When Blake served a mission in Argentina in 2013, he experienced a vastly different economy and culture from what he was used to in his affluent Boston neighborhood. “Ever since my mission, I’ve been motivated to have a higher purpose in my career. There are a lot of ways in which business can do good in the world,” says Blake.

After serving his mission, Blake came to BYU knowing he wanted to be involved in social impact and economic self-reliance. After seeing an on-campus ad to become a student consultant for the Ballard Center for Economic Self-Reliance’s Social Venture Academy, Blake decided to apply. “I found out the Ballard Center was the place to go to be involved in doing good,” says Blake.

The Social Venture Academy is an early-stage social startup incubator that helps BYU students from all majors create positive impact from the students’ companies and become social entrepreneurs. As a student consultant and now co-president of the Academy, Blake collaborates with student entrepreneurs and helps get them ready to pitch their companies for grant funding.

During his time at the Social Venture Academy, Blake has mentored ventures including a Bluetooth-enabled system that helps wheelchair users open doors with ease and an organization that helps Venezuelan refugees restart their businesses using a rent-to-own model for necessary equipment. “As a student consultant, I feel empowered by offering advice and encouragement and a different perspective for the students’ innovative companies,” says Blake.

While the Ballard Center’s location in the Tanner Building naturally attracts students from the BYU Marriott School of Business, the Social Venture Academy draws a large amount of its consultants from a variety of majors across campus. Blake sees that students from all sorts of majors possess unique skills and perspectives that aid them as social venture consultants. “One of the best parts of the Social Venture Academy has been working with different but like-minded students,” says Blake.

While it makes sense for Ballard Center students to pursue consulting careers, businesses can also create a symbiotic relationship with social venture-experienced students as more businesses look toward expanding their social impact. The Ballard Center is the perfect place to start that relationship. “A lot of businesses and consulting firms are starting to get more involved in corporate social responsibility and social impact,” says Blake. “From what I’ve seen at the Ballard Center and BYU Marriott, people want to be involved in helping make the world a better place.”

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