Smith, along with three other students, were chosen because of the success in their student-founded businesses. The ceremony for these particular students was meant to encourage entrepreneurship in other students across the state of Utah.
“If you manage your time out right, you can do really well in school and make a lot of money doing business,” said Smith, last year’s valedictorian of WSU.
Smith founded Epic Profit group, a business that does Internet marketing and consulting. He graduated with a bachelor’s in accounting, at times doing 21 credit hours in a semester while running his business.
“The key is to take a risk while you’re young and do what you want to do and learn everything about it,” Smith said.
Azner, who is graduating within the next year, was chosen because of his success with Corporate Movement. He goes through a busy schedule of four businesses, taking care of family and going to school full time with a degree in business administration. He has been in school for quite a few years while jumping through a couple different degrees to figure out the path he wanted to take and said plans to go further with his businesses after graduation.
“I’ll just put the time I put in school into these businesses,” Azner said. “It’s definitely about planning out your time and executing.”
Azner said that he hopes more students will start working in the field they want to be in before they’re done with school. He also said that while working in the business field, he found it easier to understand the teaching in his finance and marketing classes because the concepts taught were what he was using in his businesses.
Azner also had recent experience with Storey. Storey, who will also be graduating soon, organizes endurance races in New Zealand for Evolo Racing, which wants to work in conjunction with a travel agency for people to experience areas they’ve never seen while running in the races. He has been involved with the ownership of the company for the past year.
Storey has been working on a human performance management degree for the past three years and will be receiving his bachelors at the end of this spring. His advice was to choose a degree that would be enjoyable and prioritize school and work where they can tie together. His hobbies followed along with what he did in his degree and business.
“I feel like I work a lot and play a lot because the type of business I’m in,” Storey said.
Another student-run company, Premium Landscape, has been run by Thayne, a former graduate of WSU. He decided that he could make more money working for himself rather than working for someone else. What started off with an old truck and lawn mower turned into a business that does lawn care and commercial maintenance.
Thayne did as many as 19 credit hours during the off-season of his business. At times, he said it was pretty difficult trying to work and do school at the same time. He prioritized both by working hard and getting up early.
“Starting a business is really not as hard as you think if you really have desires and ambitions to get it done,” Thayne said.
Thayne, along with the other students, is part of the competition that was started three years ago by John Richards, a professor at Brigham Young University. The Utah Student 25 encouraged him to be successful in his business. He applied for the competition while some of the students were nominated. All of them said they were excited to be a part of the competition and looked forward to hearing what they ranked.