MBA Alum Makes the World His Workplace

As an MBA student at BYU, 2016 graduate Mike Johnson walked the streets of Europe, full of hope that he would someday live and work there. Now he lives in Madrid, and he credits the Whitmore Global Management Center (GMC) with helping make his dream a reality.

Growing up, Johnson frequently traveled abroad on extended trips with his family. He later learned Spanish while serving an LDS mission in Resistencia, Argentina.

“I love experiencing different cultures, so I thought it would be a good option to pursue living and working in a foreign country,” Johnson says.

Prior to entering the MBA program, Johnson worked for an international commodity broker. After a few years, Johnson decided to pursue an MBA at BYU. He hoped to find some connection to a company or role that would allow him to work abroad. While at BYU, Johnson received an Eccles Scholars Award through the GMC.

The Eccles Scholars Award provides up to $9,000 to outstanding MBA students who are pursuing international business. It includes a $3,000 scholarship, a $3,000 travel award for an approved international experience, and an additional $3,000 for those who complete their Global Management Certificate at the end of the second year. The award enabled Johnson to study abroad in England, Spain, Gibraltar, Morocco, and France.

“I didn’t think I would find a clear path to working abroad, but then the Eccles Scholars Award happened and I was introduced to a few people in the Global Management Center,” Johnson says. “One of the professors I met led our study abroad and was able to set up a bunch of meetings with professionals who have made their life and career in Europe.”

Mike Johnson

Mike Johnson

Some of the professionals Johnson met while on the study abroad were in the same industry as Johnson.

“One of the gentlemen whom we met was in the insurance industry at an insurance consulting company,” Johnson says. “It was interesting to see how his role had translated and where he was and what he was doing. It made the idea more real for me.”

After graduating with his MBA, Johnson interned at Liberty Mutual Insurance as a corporate development internal consultant. During Johnson’s internship, his executive mentor found out that Johnson spoke Spanish and directed him to a six-month international rotation assignment in Madrid.

Johnson says his work there has already opened other potential opportunities to live and work abroad.

“I’m sure that after I’m done with this rotation I’ll have enough contacts here in Europe—and in other countries that we do business with—that if I wanted to, I could definitely come back,” he says.