"Business Boot Camp" Gives Students an Edge

Apr 5, 2013

Students gather at BYU to learn about business in "boot camp."
Students gather at BYU to learn about business in "boot camp."
Credit STEPHEN TANNER

With the job market becoming more competitive for college grads, students are looking for extra help. One business boot camp at Brigham Young University is giving students an edge in their job search.  

It’s a Saturday at BYU and room W202 in the Tanner Building is anything but empty and quiet.



Sixty students signed up for a nine hour business boot camp called The EDge-UCATION.  
The students crank out numbers, analyze excel spreadsheets valuing Fortune 500 companies and learn important interviewing skills.

Stewart Tanner and Vivek Shah are the founders of the workshop.  They have an extensive background in investment banking and the finance world.  After seeing many new college graduates come through their firms, they decided to put together a business boot camp that would help strengthen incoming students and better prepare them for finance jobs.  Stewart says many hires straight from college needed help in real world training. 

Credit STEPHEN TANNER

“Too much, in our opinion and from the feedback we get from the students, that there learning is formulaic.  It’s memorization and repetition.  What the EDge-UCATION does is that it tries to broaden and contextualize based on real world applications why these formulas and theories that they’re learning, how they translate into the real world and how they translate into the lives and career developments of these students”.  

Vivek says he wants students to think beyond a classroom setting when they come to the workshop.  

“University professors are good at what they do, which is teaching a lot of material which is theory based, by the textbook and textbook oriented.  We try to bring a unique element based on our real world working experiences where we couple a lot of the theories students are learning in class with practical applications that are very relevant to on the job actions that they’ll be taking”.

The workshop helps students cover many parts of what it takes to be successful in the workforce.  From assessing a business inside and out to learning how to interview with potential employers, students learn the needed “edge” on landing a coveted internship.

“It’s tough to get an internship on Wall Street”.  

James Crowley is a Junior at BYU.  Recently he accepted an internship offer from Goldman Sachs in New York.  He says the EDge-UCATION helped him hone his skills to get an internship in a competitive market.  

“Taking the workshop is one of the best things that I did in prep for my interviews because the workshop went over a lot of the technical skills that I needed to know”.

Many students say they agree about how this business boot camp helps them succeed,  students like Preston Phillips of BYU’s Investment Banking Club. He says that you need to be more than a good student to compete in the job market for finance.

“You have to look at it from the standpoint of you’re going up against the best and brightest across the world.  So it’s not just John Smith in your accounting class that has a 4.0.  It’s John Smith from Harvard who’s been born and raised to work in high finance”.  

Preston says the workshop helped him learn what companies are looking for in potential employees.  

“What’s good about EDge-UCATION is it’s a great foundation for you to understand what’s expected”.   

And students are exceeding those expectations.  The success rate of students who’ve attended the workshop has impressed Brigham Young University so much, that they now help subsidize their students for part of the program.  

Stewart says the workshop doesn’t detract from university classes, but helps give students a glimpse of the real world work force.

“With budgetary setbacks on Universities, with cutbacks, they need to find more classes to get rid of than add.  There’s going to be a place for courses like the EDge-UCATION...I think other universities and students really realize there is something to be gained from people who have real world life experience”.  

And other universities from around the country are catching on to the EDge-UCATION workshop.  The University of Texas at Austin, UC Berkley and UC Davis in California have expressed interest in bringing  this business boot camp to their students so they can compete with the best and brightest in the finance world.