The opening social for the Adam Smith Society was in full swing. The air smelled like kolaches and a tall tower of Dasani water bottles stood proudly on a tabletop. Conversations were happening all over the room, and the result was loud.
Adam Smith, the author of “The Wealth of Nations,” is the namesake of the society, which is dedicated to open discussion within the economic community. The leaders of the BYU chapter explained that the society was created following the Occupy Wall Street movement and exists to hold discussions on capitalism. Student membership is available exclusively to MBA students and costs $10.
Sarah Waggoner, a new member of the society, said, “I was an economic minor as an undergrad, so the subject matter is interesting to me. … It just seems like a good group of people with good opportunities at a good cost.”
The crowd murmured as president Matt Hubbard announced the potential promise of all-expense-paid trips to places like Palm Springs, California and Edinburgh, Scotland, all in the name of capitalism. There were even mentions of a game night where they will be playing Monopoly. It seemed as if most people were there for the same reasons: opportunity and community.
According to Jason Cooper, an MBA student focusing on supply chain, “A large part of why I came to get an MBA was to create a network, especially on a global scale, so joining clubs like this is a good way of doing that and building networks and being part of a community that’s already established.”
However, the club is more than a resume booster.
“Poverty is a real curse, and it’s multi-generational, and you know, an opportunity for people to make themselves better and kind of rise above where they’ve been, I think that has a lot of pull for a lot of people, myself included, and I think economic growth based on capitalism is the way to go,” Hubbard said.
In the eyes of these students, the Adam Smith Society at BYU exists to help. They strive to help each other and to help themselves. As they work toward respective MBAs, the society members encourage each other to grow through guest speakers, conferences and competitions.
A man wearing a BYU hoodie passed around raffle tickets and waited. He drew one from the cap he’d been collecting them in and read a number. Someone cheered from the back of the room. He’d just won a $100 Amazon gift card.
Adam Smith would have been proud.