Working in South Africa as a construction manager on a coal power plant which is the largest construction project in the southern hemisphere for Black & Veatch (B&V), an engineering company based in Overland Park, Kansas, it is clear Mark Snyder enjoys new challenges. Last year he embraced a new one by enrolling in the University of Nebraska–Lincoln MBA program.
“I’m always up for an adventure and looking to step outside the norm,” said Snyder. “I grew up in Kansas City and went to work right out of college for B&V. My wife and I have a lot of friends in the area but we wanted a chance to experience the world, so in 2013, when I was offered the position in South Africa, I took it as an opportunity to stretch my horizons. I also contemplated getting an MBA for years but found my workload and family life warranted me to wait.”
While in South Africa, Snyder started looking more seriously at getting an MBA. After weighing all options one school started to take center stage.
"I had three criteria when choosing a program," he said. "It had to be completely online and allow flexibility to adapt to changing workloads. It had to be a reputable school. Finally, it had to have an international focus to support my goals. Nebraska offered the flexibility to complete assignments and exams around my work and family commitments."
Almost all of Snyder’s extended family is from Nebraska and many, including his dad, graduated from UNL. He even has connections with some of the school’s more famous celebrities.
“My dad was friends with (former Husker Football Coach) Frank Solich in college, and my mom babysat for (former Husker Football Coach and Athletic Director) Tom and Nancy Osborne while she attended nursing school in Lincoln. Needless to say I grew up a Husker fan, and even though I looked at dozens of schools from across the globe, I kept coming back to Nebraska’s highly ranked online MBA program,” said Snyder.
Snyder manages the bulk material handling package on his job – one of ten major packages that act as individual units within the entire project which has more than 20,000 workers onsite. He oversees a team of professionals from five consultant companies, including maintaining responsibilities for everything from engineering, construction, contract management and commissioning. His MBA experience integrates with his current demands at work.
“In my MBA program, I am working with students from across the world in different industries and with different levels of responsibility. This gives me new examples to draw from when working with international teams on my current project. It’s also helped me better understand the financing side of business. The project in South Africa involves many companies, some of which are in dire financial positions. Through my MBA coursework, I understand why they make some of their decisions and this allows me to put better plans together to create a win-win for the company and the project,” said Snyder.
Snyder and his wife have three children, two of which were born in South Africa. They hope to continue their adventures by relocating to another exotic location once his current job winds down. He plans to complete his MBA degree in 2017.