By Connor Child
The Judith Johnson Scholarship was instituted to help outstanding MBA students in the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business with their tuition, but this year’s recipient said the money wasn’t even the most important part.
“More important than the money itself is what it has taught me about mentoring relationships and teamwork,” Amanda True explained, referring to the events that led to the creation of the scholarship. Ms. True received the scholarship prior to the fall 2010 semester.
The namesake of the scholarship, Judith Johnson, received her MBA from Utah State University in 1988. One of her professors, Dr. Robert Malko, had a connection to a man named Gregory Enholm who worked at Salomon Brothers, a Wall Street investment bank. As a favor to Dr. Malko, Mr. Enholm agreed to select a top MBA student from USU to work as a summer intern. Mr. Enholm’s first selection was Ms. Johnson.
As an intern at Salomon Brothers, Ms. Johnson dealt with electric utility stocks, a subject Dr. Malko specializes in. To prepare her for the internship, Dr. Malko helped Ms. Johnson with a research project about the subject to give her a solid foundation. The experience paid off as she ended up getting a full-time position at Salomon Brothers as a stock analyst.
Ms. Johnson worked with many interns from USU each summer while at Salomon Brothers. One of the interns she mentored was Roger McOmber, who received his MBA from USU in 1990. When Ms. Johnson left New York to return to Utah, Mr. McOmber was offered her position.
Mr. McOmber stayed in New York and became one of Wall Street’s top analysts in the electric utilities industry. He eventually became a vice president at Lehman Brothers, and consequently one of the first things he did in his new role was to hire Ms. Johnson back to New York City as his assistant.
Mr. McOmber attributes much of his success to Ms. Johnson’s willingness to mentor him. To give back to his alma mater, he funds a scholarship in Ms. Johnson’s name to one Huntsman MBA student each year. The two have stayed in touch with each other and also with Dr. Malko, who continues to teach and mentor students at the Huntsman School of Business.
“Students who have been mentored in business research projects demonstrate the ability to apply analytical skills and tools to real-world problems,” Dr. Malko said. “It helps them show potential employers that they are a more proven product.”