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Marcia Erickson

MBA Community Economic Development

"There were a lot of things that I learned and experienced in the curriculum that I brought back on a daily basis."

When Marcia Erickson thought about going back to school, it wasn't difficult to find more than one source of inspiration.

The founder and CEO of GROW South Dakota, a statewide housing and economic development nonprofit agency in Sisseton, S.D., graduated from Southern New Hampshire University in 2014 with a Master of Business Administration. She said her courses were positioned perfectly with her role in the organization.

"I took the community economic development (concentration), which aligned directly with the career I'm in," Erickson said. "There were a lot of things that I learned and experienced in the curriculum that I brought back on a daily basis."

Erickson said she studied new messaging strategies to effectively communicate with her staff, along with presentation styles to better demonstrate her organization's value to clients. She even conducted a housing study that made a real-world impact for one South Dakota town. "That housing study is being used now by that community so they can drive changes to improve the community that they live in," she said.

Erickson said she was impressed with her instructors' ability to make the course content relevant no matter what she was studying. "We might be studying something that is urban-related, and the instructor would come back and say, 'Now, how does that apply to you in rural South Dakota?'" she said.

Overall, Erickson said SNHU not only allowed her to accomplish her educational goals but also helped her improve GROW South Dakota. "My degree from Southern New Hampshire University helped me to grow my organization to greater self-sustainability so we can, in turn, help more people in our neighborhoods, in more communities and leave a lasting impact," she said.