“Doyon Foundation scholarships are a source of motivation”

131_Student_Ben_FB-INBen Schwartz is the son of Polly Hyslop, of Northway and Tanana, and Daniel Schwartz, of Palo Alto, California. Ben’s mother is an assistant professor of Indigenous studies at the University of Alaska Fairbanks; his father is dean of education at Stanford. His maternal grandparents are Polly (Demit) Hyslop of Northway and Floyd Hyslop of Roscommon, Michigan. Ben’s maternal great-grandmother is Bertha (Demit-Sinyon) of Northway and Canada. His paternal grandparents are Murray Schwartz of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Audrey Schwartz of Camden, New Jersey.

Ben earned a bachelor’s degree in business management in 2008 from Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon. He’s pursuing an executive master’s of business administration from the University of Nevada Reno and anticipates graduating in 2021.

Ben’s program at the University of Nevada Reno is among top-ranked degrees for students seeking an accelerated master’s of business administration, known as an executive MBA (EMBA). Students often work full time while completing online courses focused on evidence-based problem solving.

Graduates of EMBA programs go on to become corporate leaders, capable of shaping the direction of large organizations. After earning his MBA, Ben’s goals include becoming a certified public accountant and helping expand Bluebird CPAs, an accounting and consulting firm where he’s employed in Reno, Nevada. Clients include tribal governments and tribal for-profit businesses nationwide.

Ben’s goals include using his training in accounting and management to benefit Alaska Native regional and village corporations. “I’d like to apply my knowledge of business and my experience of working with tribal businesses to help grow resources for Alaska Native shareholders,” he said. “I’m interested in finding a balance between business and culture.”

In addition to helping defray education costs, Ben’s Doyon Foundation scholarship has helped shape his plans after graduation, especially as he considers family members who are shareholders in Alaska Native corporations. “I’m inspired by the belief that I’ll somehow be able to assist family members’ well-being through my knowledge and expertise,” Ben said.

EMBA programs involve graduate-level courses in statistics, financial management, and marketing and accounting, among others. Students often also are engrossed in rewarding jobs. Ben has found that setting aside study time to study, while also attending to work he enjoys, is a challenge.

“It’s sometimes difficult to break away and devote the appropriate time to school,” he said. “To fix this, I assign certain tasks to each day and devote a specific amount of time to achieve them.” For instance, he organizes a daily schedule of coursework due each week and then stays on schedule as best he can. “I take it one week at a time,” he said. Planning too far in advance can lead to feeling overwhelmed.

Ben’s work experience includes years helping stage concerts at casinos and resorts. Today he enjoys attending concerts — favorites include classic rock, electronic, and country music — and he plays co-ed softball with gym friends on a C League team that won its league (mostly by forfeits, he says!) in 2019. He volunteers with a professional network that helps northern Nevada nonprofit groups with fundraising.

Life in and out of school has taught him the value of working steadily toward a desired result. “My largest tip for success is to write down your short-term and long-term goals and find a way to pursue them every day,” he said. “I think life is way more fun chasing goals.”