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Six best of class MBA's: "why we left or stayed in Utah." (MBA graduates Todd Tanner, Brett Folkman, Sharree Rogers, Ted Izatt, Brady Giles and Eric Lillywhite express opinions on staying in or leaving Utah)

"Why We Left or Stayed in Utah"

Todd Tanner, from Fullerton, California, graduated in 1987 with an MBA from the University of Utah. He decided to stay in Utah. He is manager of marketing for Jetway Systems in Ogden.

"Frankly, the best job offer was

here. I received other offers out of

state, but when I considered the cost of

living, I decided that this was my best

offer. Besides, I had previously lived

and worked in other states, including

Colorado and California, and felt no

need to leave Utah just for a |real

world' experience. In fact, I would

need a great deal of additional

compensation to live again in the Los

Angeles area, not just because of the

housing prices, but also because of the

quality of life. I got tired of standing in

lines for everything. Utah has most of

the lifestyle amenities without all the

hassles. It is difficult to quantify all of

the reasons to stay in Utah; it is also a

qualitative judgment. Utah is a great

home base. In my job at Jetway, I have

traveled over much of the world. We

play in a global market. Many Utah

businesses are world leaders in their


Brett Folkman graduated from the BYU Marriott School of Management with a masters in Accounting, emphasis in information systems, and an MBA. He is currently working as a consultant for Ernst & Young in Los Angeles.

"I was offered a job in Utah, but

the job here in California paid $10,000

more per year. Besides, I wanted to do

consulting. And I felt that staying in

Utah wouldn't give me the broad-based

work experience I wanted during my

first few years out of school.

Consulting is done primarily in major

cities on a regional basis. There just

isn't much opportunity for this kind of

work in Utah.

People in California perceive

work experience in Utah as having a

small-town mentality. And yet many

of my classmates eventually want to

return to Utah. Recruiters are

sometimes leery of hiring Utah natives

because of that. Once I got out of Utah,

I found that I enjoy living away more

than I thought I would. Still, I might

return to Utah myself in 10 years,

primarily to live closer to family. If I

do come back, I will open my own

consulting firm and do service


Sharree Rodgers, a native of Bountiful, received an undergraduate degree at BYU and an MBA from the University of Utah with an emphasis in finance. She is currently working with Andersen Consulting, Arthur Andersen & Co., in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

"I wanted to work as a systems

consultant, and there was limited

opportunity in Utah. I also wanted to

work for a large consulting firm,

feeling it would give me more career

latitude in the long run. I was most

interested in offers from California,

and as it turned out, the best offers

came from there.

Accounting firms don't pay

much to start, but as time goes on, the

difference between Utah and California

salaries widens. If I were to return to

Utah, I would take at least a $10,000

pay cut.

When I left, I thought I would

live out of state for about five years,

then reevaluate my goals and decide

whether to return to Utah. I have even

considered buying a home in Utah and

commuting to work in California in

order to be close to my family.

Recruiters know a lot of Utah

graduates will eventually want to

return home. This makes some firms

reluctant to interview there."

Ted Izatt, a native of Provo, Utah, received an MBA degree from the Marriott School of Management. He is currently a marketing vice president for Barclay's Bank in Manhattan.

"New York City is an exciting

place to work. I like the hectic lifestyle.

It's very stimulating. I've learned more

in four years here than I could have

learned in eight elsewhere. I travel

about one-third of the time, calling on

major energy companies, foreign and

domestic. I never even bothered to

interview in Utah because the reality

was that if you remained in state, you

worked for much less. Although I'm

a native of Utah, as a teenager, I used

to travel East with my father on

business trips. It gave me a bigger

picture. Also, I felt that I had to leave

Utah to benefit from my MBA degree

in terms of both money and

experience. I'll stay away from Utah

as long as I enjoy my work. I won't

sacrifice to return to Utah. You

generally have to live on less in Utah.

And personally I'm not convinced

that the overall quality of life is better

there. My children are receiving a

much better public education

here--the schools are first class."

Brady Giles, who moved with his family to Utah nine years ago, received undergraduate and MBA degrees from BYU, graduating April 1991. He is currently a staff manager for FHP in Salt Lake City.

"Both my wife's family and my

family live in Utah, so we wanted to

settle here. But my primary motive

for staying in Utah was the cost of

living and lifestyle. I was offered

$2,300 more by a California firm, but

I knew that we could get into a house

sooner if we stayed here. Both jobs

were in line with what I wanted to do,

and so I was able to choose which to


I felt some pressure to leave the

state for the experience. The pressure

was mostly self-imposed, although

there was some subtle pressures from

faculty and recruiters. The message

was that if I really wanted to get

ahead in a career path, there was

more opportunity in other states. But

right now, we enjoy living and

working in Utah. If a great career

opportunity comes along out of state,

we wouldn't object to leaving. In a

sense, Utah is a stepping stone in my

career path. But most of my class,

maybe 80 percent, left the state; only

a half-dozen stayed."

Eric Lillywhite and his wife are natives of Southern California. Eric received an undergraduate degree from Cal State Fullerton and an MBA degree from BYU in 1987. He currently works as a logistics project engineer for TRW in Southern California.

"Upon graduating, I had three offers in

Utah and one in California. I never

intended to stay in Utah; I went into the

program with plans to get the degree

and return home. Also, the California

offer was $7,000 higher than the best

offer in Utah. We like the moderate

climate of California, and we enjoy

living close to the beach and the

mountains where there are so many

things to do outdoors all year round.

But we also see the downside to

California. It's hectic now. Housing

prices are high. Cost of living is high.

There are more people and more

violence. And so after five years in

California, we may move back to Utah

to raise our family. I would be willing

to take a salary cut of up to $2,000, but

would hope to move without taking a

cut in pay."
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Publication:Utah Business
Date:Mar 1, 1992
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