Oct. 3, 2019

AUSTIN, Texas — Marianne Ward-Peradoza, the new dean of the Bill Munday School of Business, wants to provide students with the same types of practical, hands-on learning experiences that made her own experience as an undergraduate meaningful.  

“As an undergraduate, I had many first-hand experiential learning opportunities. I was able to hear wonderful speakers, sit in on court hearings, go to museums and have internships,” she said. “I want to foster those types of opportunities.”

Experiential learning is not only great for students, but also for the organizations that participate and the university, she adds.

“It gives St. Edward’s the opportunity to interact with an organization that is going to be hiring our students, so that we can understand what the concerns of the organization are and ensure our curriculum is meeting the needs of employers who are hiring our students,” Ward-Peradoza said.


In addition to her day-to-day duties, Ward-Peradoza will lead the business school in the second half of its process to seek accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. 

St. Edward’s spoke to Ward-Peradoza about what brought her to the role, her own research interests and what makes Austin the ideal place for business students.

Question: What attracted you to the role of dean of The Bill Munday School of Business?

By the time the opportunity to become dean of the business school at St. Edward’s came up, I had spent close to 20 years in higher education. I really have developed a commitment to the mission of Catholic higher education, focusing on development of the whole person and providing an education that prepares people for successful lives. The Holy Cross tradition of the university, with its focus on educational access for students of all backgrounds, an international perspective and working together in community, strongly resonates with me and aligns with my values and priorities. I was also drawn to the opportunity to serve as dean of a student-focused and innovative business school that is purposefully connected to its local and global communities.

Question: As an expert in global studies, which country or countries do you find most fascinating to study, and why?

Rather than looking at just one country, I am fascinated by the different experiences across countries. I am particularly drawn to cases in which countries with similar resources or opportunities eventually take different paths. I am interested in understanding why some countries may appear to outperform expectations, and other countries may appear to under-perform. I am also fascinated by countries that have had persistent and long-term success. An understanding of the key factors contributing to this success can provide insights that may advance economic development and standards of living across the globe.

Question: What advice do you have for our business students?

I would remind them that they have a wonderful opportunity to study in a student-centered learning community, which is located in a thriving and dynamic city at the forefront of the 21st-century economy. This combination provides opportunities to work toward a unique version of their career and life path. I would encourage them to use their unique talents, training and experiences in creative ways for positive impact in their communities. And to keep their goals in sight and remain confident in their path. 

Question: What will students need to be successful now and in the future?

When we think about the 21st-century workforce, we think of a workforce that is characterized by the need for lifelong learning, continual refining of skills and the ability to communicate effectively both in writing and verbally. Some of the key components of a liberal arts education are really the development of a broad foundation that allows students to think flexibly and creatively, and to learn how to adapt to a wide variety of situations. It gives them a solid grounding in who they are, where they stand in the world, and what their ethical foundation and moral compass is. A liberal arts education prepares students not only for their first job out of college but for lifelong learning and a variety of different career opportunities.

Question: What is your impression of the Austin business landscape so far?

Austin is an exciting city that is vibrant, growing and full of energy and activity. The business environment supports entrepreneurial activity, creativity and innovation on many levels and in a variety of contexts. The city is home to a mix of industries and company types, from established corporate headquarters to small family startups, and for-profit and nonprofit companies that serve diverse industries and market segments.

This is a particularly exciting location for a university, as it provides a wealth of opportunities for the university to serve the community, and many internship and employment opportunities for our students and graduates. Austin also provides a gateway for our students to emerging fields and new job categories in the ever-evolving economy.