In the Atrium with Tahna Black
It’s no secret that Marriott School of Management student Tahna Black is crazy about Disney. She’s visited every Disney theme park around the world—thirteen total in five different countries—and worked at Disneyland through the Disney College Program. When she’s not playing at a Disney park, she’s busy winning programming competitions and working at companies such as ExxonMobil and Adobe; though I imagine she’s whistling while she works or at least humming the tune of “Let it Go.” She recently chatted with me about another subject she loves: information systems.
Marriott Alumni Magazine: You’re passionate about information systems. How did that get started?
Tahna Black: I traveled through quite a few other majors on my journey to find information systems. Entering BYU with an undecided-major status, I hoped that one of my GEs would speak to me and become my major. I discovered my love of business and the Marriott School immediately in Accounting 200. Determined to get into the school no matter the program, I took all the prerequisites for each discipline and ended up liking information systems the most.
MAM: Tell me about your experience learning to program.
TB: When I enrolled in the beginning information systems programming class, I was a complete novice to coding and beyond scared. A quote from Mary Poppins the stage musical inspired me to take the leap of faith: “Broaden your horizons, open different doors; you may find a you there that you never knew was yours.” That class remains the most difficult course I’ve taken at BYU, but it was the first time I could easily spend more than ten hours straight on a project without realizing it. The high degree of achievement I felt when creating code that did what I intended was amazing, and learning how to solve business challenges with technology got me hooked. Now I’m getting my master’s degree in information systems management.
MAM: How do you stay busy when you’re not programming?
TB: Traveling is a huge hobby for me and my family! When I’m on break from school, I love going to one of the Disney parks—I’m known for being a devout Disney fan. I’ve actually been to every Disney theme park worldwide.
MAM: What did you do for the BYU chapter of Association of Information Systems?
TB: This year I served as copresident of the association, and it’s been one of the most enjoyable, engaging, and rewarding experiences of my BYU career. I have adored every minute of it! Sharing my love of information systems with alumni, recruiters, new students, and my fellow colleagues is a lot of fun.
MAM: Where have you interned?
TB: I interned at Adobe Systems in Lehi, Utah, in 2013 in the technical operations department, and I spent my summer this year in Houston, Texas, as an IT intern at ExxonMobil. I am so grateful to the hard-working alumni who give BYU an exceptional reputation that entices companies to continue recruiting here each year. They open up great opportunities for students like me.
MAM: What is your favorite part about being a student at the Marriott School?
TB: Besides getting to call the beautiful and unique Tanner Building my second home, my favorite part about being a student at the Marriott School is the opportunity to build close relationships. The relationships you build here and the instant connection you have with alumni can follow you anywhere. I will always have my BYU, Marriott School, and information systems families to count on!