Written by Torron Williams
Pennsylvania native Marvin Smith was heavily interested in advertising and developing marketing strategies that could influence consumers to buy into products of any kind. So naturally, when he came to UNC Charlotte in 2001, pursuing marketing was his primary focus, graduating four years later with a degree in Business Administration/Marketing.
When not engulfed in curriculum, he enjoyed watching and playing sports, including basketball, football and soccer. At UNCC, becoming a counselor for SOAR – Student Orientation, Advising and Registration – served as a mentoring opportunity for Marvin, which also led to long-standing friendships.
Marvin notes that, through mentoring, he was given insight into how narrow the advertising job market can be for African-Americans.
“You’re pigeonholed into only working with black advertising campaigns,” says Marvin, “Even though you really want to be able to advertise to everybody.”
These experiences influenced Marvin’s decision to pursue a Master’s degree in Software Engineering at Kennesaw State University, which, although filled with challenges, was assisted by his business foundation.
“Once I got to understand coding and programming, the business side of it came pretty easy,” says Marvin, “Because of my background and undergraduate degree in business marketing.”
Marvin finds that software engineering involves an adequate amount of team-based tasks, which were easy for him. He currently resides in Atlanta, GA, and works as a product manager for a Cloud Data Platform. In this position, he works in collaboration with engineers, data scientists and other cross-functional teams to bring innovative product solutions to market.
Marvin is active in the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) and strives to serve as a reference for young minorities and encourage them to pursue careers in STEM fields. He is currently implementing his passion for sports into developing an app as a platform to organize cross-competitive activities.
The My Brother’s Keeper Scholarship at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte is an endowment fund targeted to Black males majoring in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields at UNCC. The "What They See Is What They'll Be" blog series, adopted from the motto of 100 Black Men of America, is a bi-weekly blog series featuring personal stories of Black men from the UNCC community who are actively engaged in those fields. The goal of the series is to serve as a source of information and inspiration to others aspiring to follow similar career paths. To learn more, or to contribute to the endowment fund, visit www.unccmybrotherskeeper.org.