Sometimes life comes full circle. For the College of Charleston School of Business assistant dean of student learning and accreditation, Marcia Snyder, it certainly did. After graduating from CofC’s business school in 1993, she worked abroad in the U.K. only return to the b-school — this time as an employee. Recently Snyder was honored with the Howard F. Rudd Jr. Business Person of the Year Award for her significant contributions as a business leader to her profession, community and alma mater.
We sat down with Snyder to find out more about the award, her time at the College and how she chooses to make a difference in the lives of students.
We understand you went to the College! What was your time like as a student and what did you study?
As a student, I studied economics and was working full-time. It was sometimes brutal. Many times, I would be working 60 hours a week at the district office for BP Oil in addition to attending class. Going to school full time during that time was crazy.
In your opinion, how has the College and the School of Business changed since you attended?
There were a lot fewer students back then in the late 80’s and early 90’s. There also didn’t seem to be as many student organizations in the business school like there are now. Back then, students mostly went to class and did their work. Now there is a better level of student engagement outside of the classroom.
Can you tell us about your post-graduate career after leaving the College?
I graduated in 1993 and BP Oil had just closed their offices. My husband got transferred to London that same time, so the day after graduation I got on a plane and moved to London. While there, I went to graduate school at University College London. I enrolled in a graduate program for environmental economics and then I worked part time at the Navy offices in London.
Why did you decide to return to CofC?
My husband and I loved Charleston. We had previously moved here in 1980 and Charleston just became home to us. I couldn’t find employment when I got back to the States from London, but I knew I loved the College. I had a temporary position and then I started working in the Tate Center for Entrepreneurship.
Could you describe your current role at the School of Business? What is your typical day like?
Currently, I am a senior instructor in the Department of Finance. I also teach economics and I am the assistant dean for student learning and accreditation for the School of Business. Basically, I am the school’s chief accreditation officer. There’s not a typical day. There are days when I’m doing a lot of student advising since I advise most of the student-athletes who are in the business school. I also manage data for the school.
How is what you’re doing now different from what you thought you would be doing?
I never thought I would teach! When I first started college, I thought I wanted to be a biochemist; I wanted to be a researcher. I was good at science and I loved it. But after I took my first economics course at the College, I fell in love with it. One of our former chairs of the Economics department kept telling me that he wanted me to teach. He thought I would be good in the classroom and I kept saying I don’t think so. I would have never imagined me being a teacher. I learn so much from the students. It’s a two-way opportunity for learning.
How do you try to positively impact the lives of students?
During advising sessions, I get them to think about what they want to do in the future, what they are passionate about and where they see themselves. A lot of students don’t know all of those answers because they haven’t thought about it enough. If there’s one thing I can do, I want them to think about career options in terms of what they enjoy, not necessarily what they think they have to do. What brings passion into their lives? They can do both. I love advising and trying to open up their world.
What did receiving the Howard F. Rudd Jr. Business Person of the Year Award during Fall Alumni Weekend mean to you?
I was humbled by it and so honored. Howard Rudd — the award’s namesake — was the first dean of the School of Business and he did so much for me. He was the one who hired me when I first came back from London and is such a kind person who cares about everyone. He was a visionary who was way before his time. He was the kind of person that I want to be.
What is your favorite thing about the School of Business?
The students — I love the students.