LDSBC Workshops Help People Discover Identity, Future

Contributed By Sarah Harris, Church News staff writer

  • 22 June 2017

Jessica Simpson, right, said taking the LDS Business College’s Discovery Experience after she returned home from serving in the Pennsylvania Pittsburgh Mission in March helped her focus on Heavenly Father’s goals and plans for her future.

Article Highlights

  • LDSBC’s six-week Discovery Experience workshop is offered online or on campus.
  • The course helps students with self-discovery, seeing the possibilities around them, and recognizing opportunity.
  • It is open to students and non-students.

“We want to give people the tools to allow them to run life, rather than let life run them.” —Arnold Allred, professional education director

The LDS Business College has developed a workshop to help people discover who they are and what their next steps in life should be.

LDSBC’s six-week Discovery Experience workshops are offered either online or on the school’s campus to anyone willing to abide by the school’s honor code and dress and grooming standards—student or not.

The class is run by the school’s Professional Education Department, and its goal is to “assist the discovery of your gifts and talents and help personal revelation give foresight to your future,” according to the department’s marketing manager Kamie Fisher.

She said topics discussed in the workshop include each student’s journey, mission, and vision, as well as how family, career principles, gifts, and talents can help students achieve their goals. The course uses the Gallup StrengthsFinder assessment and Holland Codes to help students identify their strengths and personality type and then apply this knowledge to their future plans.

“By the end of those six weeks, they usually have a goal figured out about what they want to do,” Fisher said.

Although the class is open to everyone, its most common demographic is returned missionaries, according to professional education director Arnold Allred. He said others who have attended the class in the past include empty nesters and people in the workforce who aren’t sure what to do next in their lives.

Allred teaches two discovery class sessions and said the course’s main focus is helping students with self-discovery, seeing the possibilities around them, and recognizing opportunity.

“I think our Heavenly Father spends all kinds of time opening doors for us, and it’s our challenge to be, first of all, able to see what doors He’s opened, and then to be brave enough to go through them,” Allred said.

Professional education managing director Sherami Jara said in her experience, LDSBC’s Discovery Experience is very different from other common methods of choosing a career or future path.

She said career and academic advisers tend to throw a lot of tests at college students in particular, which assign them specific careers based on their interests. The results of these tests aren’t always a good measure of a person’s skills and abilities, according to Jara.

Hanna Evans, right, said LDSBC's discovery workshop helped her decide to major in marriage and family studies at BYU-Idaho. She was married last August, just after she finished the course.

“There’s the Campbell and the MBTI and a whole slew of other ones that are supposed to shake up this magic black box, and all of a sudden, your career falls out on the table in perfect description,” Jara said. “That is just not the way that life works.”

Jara said the Discovery Experience’s method is unique because it helps students identify their skills, abilities, and strengths, rather than attempting to tell them exactly what they should do.

She said she likes this approach more than what she’s seen elsewhere because it doesn’t give students the impression that they have to choose one specific path in order to end up in a particular spot or that there is only one path Heavenly Father will approve for each person.

“Most people just don’t end up in the career that they wanted to that prescriptively,” Jara said. “The cool thing about this being gospel-related is that no one knows where you should be and what you’re capable of better than Heavenly Father.”

BYU–Idaho student Hanna Evans said taking the discovery course helped her realize which majors work best with her personality. She said she had been thinking about studying business, but the class helped her figure out that marriage and family studies was a much better fit for her.

“It took me back to what I really wanted and what I was really passionate about, and just things that I enjoyed learning about,” Evans said.

Recently returned missionary Jessica Simpson, who took the class earlier this year, said she appreciated the Discovery Experience’s focus on Heavenly Father’s goals and plans for her amidst all the advice she got from those around her when she returned home.

“It really helped me to be able to navigate the world a little bit better and just [focus] on His perspective,” Simpson said. “It is the perfect segue from a mission back into normal life or for any young adult who is struggling to know what they’re supposed to do with their life.”

Katerina Sanders also took the discovery workshop soon after returning from her mission and said the course gave her several tools for how to receive personal revelation.

“I think the course helps you to find answers a little bit faster and a little bit easier because I feel like you’re showing God that you want these answers,” Sanders said. “We are better able to recognize and receive Heavenly Father’s answers to our prayers “when you know what you want and take the time to seek it out, search it out, and then to ask Him.”

The next discovery workshops begin both online and on the LDSBC campus on July 11 and cost $50 per student. Registration for the Discovery Experience is online through the LDSBC website.

“We want to give people the tools to allow them to run life, rather than let life run them,” Allred said.