Agent bulks up skills with MBA

Gordon Snow worked on his graduate degrees at night, earning an MBA at Virginia Tech’s Northern Virginia Center-National Capital Region in 2001 and a J.D. from Catholic University in 2006.


“Best structured” program

He chose Virginia Tech, he says, as it had “the best structured” MBA program. “The Pamplin MBA was most challenging,” but also “very, very enjoyable,” he recalls. “I appreciated all the instructors and the friends I met going through the program. We were all doing the same thing, and you’re bonded by the fact that while it’s obviously rewarding, it’s also tiring and difficult.”

MBA develops multiple skills

His MBA has served him well in “absolutely everything” in his FBI career, Snow says, by expanding his knowledge and skills in finance, management, marketing, and information technology.

Work, studies often overlapped

Intent on making connections between his night classes and his day job, he used course assignments to explore professional challenges — “I think I wrote all my papers on something that I was trying to do in the bureau” — and concentrated in finance, to better understand such processes as money laundering and the black-market peso exchange system.

Financial understanding helps look for new leads

“In the bureau, we have historically always followed the money,” he says, in tracking criminal activity. He recalls investigating several cases involving funds at one point and being pleased at his ability to understand the more intricate aspects of financial structures and operations and to use his knowledge “to look for new leads.”

Cyber knowledge

The information systems classes he took in the MBA program, he says, also gave him a good foundation for the cyber intrusion classes that he would take in his off hours while working at the FBI Academy in Quantico, on the hostage rescue team. “I was in over my head pretty quickly when I went into the program,” he says of the MBA technology courses. “A lot of good instructors there really helped out and put me on track in record time.”

Next: Cyber survival: A talk with Wade Baker.

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