Our Stories

Earning His Wings

Opera singer takes off as airline strategist

Hal Snyder
Manager, Day of Departure, American Airlines

Vanderbilt MBA 2012

Though no official records are kept for such things, it is believed that no other student in Owen history can make the same boast as Hal Snyder. He’s a formally trained opera singer who has performed on two Grammy-nominated records.

After graduating with a degree in music, Hal worked as a brand manager for Southwest Airlines in Dallas. He decided to pursue an MBA, he says, to gain “the business fundamentals that my formal education lacked.”

When he visited Vanderbilt for Discover Weekend, he knew he had found his school. “From the moment I set foot on campus,” he says, “I had a special feeling about this place. The culture is unmatched by any B-school. I knew this was where I belonged.”

Hal was so impressed by his initial visit that he became a Campus Visit Coordinator to welcome other prospective students. “The experience has definitely been great,” he says. “I feel like I’ve had a hand in shaping what [future] classes will look like.”

Now, after earning his MBA with a concentration in marketing and strategy, in a way he’s helping shape the future of a company. Returning to the D/FW area, he took a position with American Airlines. “It’s a great company,” he says. “They’re in Chapter 11 restructuring right now, so there is a lot of change happening. It’s a great time to get on board and be part of what the new American Airlines is going to look like.”