2018 Best & Brightest: Braeden Santiago, Brigham Young University (Marriott)

Braeden Santiago

Brigham Young University, Marriott School of Business

I’m grateful for the Hawaiian, Filipino, Chinese, Korean, and German ancestries that make me unique.”

Fun fact about yourself: I survived the strongest typhoon ever to hit land (Typhoon Haiyan in 2013).

Hometown: Kaneohe, Hawaii

High School: Kamehameha Schools

Major: Human Resource Management

Minor: None

Favorite Business Course: International Marketing

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:

  • Tom Perry Scholarship Recipient (2017)
  • BYU Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Vice President of Client Relations (2015)
  • BYU SHRM Vice President of Placement (2016)
  • BYU SHRM President (2017)

Where have you interned during your college career?

  • Hata & Co., Ltd. – Honolulu, HI: HR Intern (Jul 2015 – Current)
  • Cisco Systems – San Jose, CA: HR Undergraduate Intern (May 2017 – Aug 2017)
  • Cisco Systems – San Jose, CA: HR Undergraduate Intern (May 2016 – Aug 2016)
  • NexeoHR – Orem, UT: HR Intern (Nov 2015 – Apr 2016)
  • Kamehameha Schools – Honolulu, HI: Investment Analyst Intern (May 2015 – Jul 2015)

Where will you be working after graduation? Cisco Systems in San Jose, California, as an HR representative

What did you enjoy most about your business school? BYU Marriott strives to create a challenging work environment through case studies and team-based projects. The faculty are masters in their field of study and provide students with up-to-date practices in the world of business. Aside from the academic rigor that creates an intellectually-enlarging learning environment, the incorporation of religion creates an environment of acceptance and equality. I’ve noticed that students care for each other and have interest in each other’s success. I’ve made some of the best friendships while attending the BYU Marriott School of Business.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? Find your passion. Don’t enter business solely for the money. Instead, enter business because you are passionate about what you do in business. Business is so broad so be sure to explore every field. You may think you’re a die-hard finance major, but you never know—another major may be just as interesting. Be sure to explore all your options!

“If I didn’t major in business, I would be majoring in or studying…Communications! One of the largest problems within organizations today stems from poor communication. This issue isn’t exclusive because it is found at every level of the organization. I believe BYU’s communication program would have given me the tools needed to establish quality channels of communication that would enable me to be an effective HR professional.

What has surprised you most about majoring in business? My original view of business as a field where people take advantage of others is very rare. Business drives growth and literally everything is a business. Business is what helps us live the lives we live. Coming with an HR lens, I’ve realized how being a successful HR professional can help drive change for every organization and help influence people for the better.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? To be completely honest, I was planning on becoming a physician. In high school, I actually despised business and thought it was a boring job. My dislike towards business was fueled by the 2008 housing crisis and dramas of Wall Street. I developed the idea that business people take advantage of others for their personal gain, which was not in alignment with my personal values.

However, after coming back from a two-year, full-time mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I realized that science was no longer my passion. I wasn’t intrigued, and I was de-energized thinking of all the science classes I would have to take to get into medical school. Then, I found my passion. It was human resources. In retrospect, I’ve realized that I’ve been exposed to HR since I was in elementary school. My mom was the biggest influence on me and continues to be the biggest influence on my life today. She has been practicing HR for over 20 years and I still remember the days I would go with her to work when I didn’t have school. While most of the discussions were beyond me, I knew that HR had something to do with people. After many discussions with my mom and some of my own exploring, I’ve realized that HR fit my passion to help people and to drive change, just as a physician does with their patients.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? I’m proud to have served as the BYU SHRM president! I honestly had a tough act to follow given my predecessors, but I think being president allowed me to apply all the knowledge I had gained while in the BYU Marriott School of Business. I took the view of running a club like a real company. I was blessed to encounter some pitfalls and mistakes that I’m grateful to experience now than when in an actual company. I’ve learned not to rely on my talents alone, but to work with others and find those who are stronger in things that I’m not. It’s be a rewarding experience that I will often look back on during my professional career.

If you were a dean for a day, what one thing would you change about the business school? While I feel we are learning the relevant skills and material, I think BYU Marriott stands in a great position to re-evaluate and see what new trends are coming in the business world. Let it be known, we are not struggling as a business school, but we have the opportunity to become even better. I would deploy a team that includes a few representatives from every major and have them focus on the new trends in their respective fields. Depending on the results, I believe the results will help us to re-format our programs and general business classes. This change will help us develop a stronger competitive advantage.

Which classmate do you most admire? I admire Kelly Andrews. He was a former SHRM president and now alum of BYU Marriott. He had the tenacity and motivation that was contagious. When I first met him, I knew I wanted to learn from him. He had a passion for HR that literally helped fuel my passion. To this day I look up to Kelly and his example.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? My mom. She’s been my coach and helps me take a step back sometimes to evaluate my actions. She’s been super patient with me and has motivated me to become a better person and leader. I am a keen observer, and I’ve taken many of her strategies and added them to my playbook. My goal is to one day see the success that she has seen in me since I was a little boy.

What would your theme song be? “Demons” by Imagine Dragons. The title may sound a little weird given that I go to BYU Marriott, but the meaning behind the song resonates with me. Essentially, it’s about overcoming obstacles. As a student I’ve never been an A+ student. I’ve never been an all-star athlete or the most valuable player. I’ve had to learn to navigate obstacles to success and failures. My life hasn’t been a huge failure, but I’ve had to learn to transform failure into learning opportunities for success!

What are the top two items on your bucket list?

  • Go skydiving
  • Visit every country that I ethnically represent (UK, Germany, China, Korea)

Favorite book: How Full Is Your Bucket

Favorite movie: Ocean’s Eleven

Favorite vacation spot: Disneyland

What are your hobbies? Traveling to new places

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What made Braedonsuch an invaluable addition to the Class of 2018?

“As president of our SHRM club, Braeden has been instrumental in its growth and success. He leads by example and creates excitement for students interested in human resource management. Braeden has helped to shape our undergraduate human resource management program by gathering data from students, alumni, and HRM professionals to critique our program and make recommendations for the future. It’s no surprise that Braeden received a great job offer from Cisco and will be working after graduation in the Bay Area.”

Gibb Dyer
O.L. Stone Professor of Entrepreneurship
BYU Marriott School of Business


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