For many college students, learning concepts in class is one thing, but getting the chance to put their newfound knowledge into practice is another. Sister and brother Berkley and Riley Byron, both marketing majors at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Haslam College of Business, are taking advantage of a unique opportunity to utilize their classroom learning while helping their family.
The Byron family moved to Nolensville, Tenn., in Berkley’s senior year of high school. When she spent a summer working for a nearby location of the Primrose School, a national chain of early education schools that Berkley and Riley had attended as young children in Texas, her parents saw a possible business opportunity. Now the family is working together to open a Primrose location in Nolensville.
Putting Classroom Knowledge into Practice
Berkley began her college career majoring in pre-med but later decided to follow her parents’ example of majoring in business. Berkley and Riley’s mother has served in a variety of corporate roles throughout her career, and their father previously owned two gas stations before selling them and becoming a stay-at-home dad.
Now a senior set to graduate from UT in May 2023, Berkley says, “Marketing gives me what I was missing from pre-med — creativity and personal connection. It’s a great fit for me, and I’m surprised I didn’t know that before.”
Riley, a sophomore, also took inspiration from his parents when choosing a major. “I always wanted to follow in their footsteps,” he says. “I ended up landing in marketing because I enjoy helping others, and this major allows me to work directly with consumers.”
With the Nolensville Primrose location scheduled to open later this spring, Berkley has taken the lead on its digital marketing, handling social media, website updates and email blasts. She particularly enjoys utilizing skills she learned as a member of AMAze and from a marketing research course she took in 2022. “Putting everything I’ve learned into practice has been great,” she says. “In class, we learn how to tailor social media to different audiences, but the coolest thing has been seeing that it actually works.”
Preparing to Pass the Torch
As Berkley prepares to graduate, Riley has been job-shadowing her in anticipation of taking over her role with the Nolensville Primrose location as it opens in the spring and is excited about tackling new challenges. “Because the school will be open at that time, our social media posts and the content of the newsletters will look a little different,” he says. “My role may be expanded to photography and copywriting for blog posts on our website. Additionally, I hope to improve our SEO strategy after taking more marketing classes.”
In the meantime, Berkley is applying for corporate marketing jobs and is considering Haslam’s master’s in marketing program. While her long-term dream is to find a marketing job in fashion, wherever that may lead her, she says for now she likes the idea of staying close to home. “I’ve really fallen in love with Tennessee and Knoxville. The entire town is so invested in UT, and with the proximity to the Smoky Mountains, it’s a great atmosphere.”
Being a sophomore, all of Riley’s business courses thus far have been prerequisites, so he hasn’t decided on a specific career path yet, but he is considering a collateral in entrepreneurship. He says his ideal career would be one that incorporates his lifelong passions for sports and fitness. “Because I haven’t started those marketing classes yet, I am not certain what will be the best fit for me, but the experience I am getting through Primrose has only increased my interest and excitement to dig deeper into my major over the next few years.”
Stacy Estep, writer/publicist, firstname.lastname@example.org