Alumni Spotlight is a series of interviews conducted with members of the Dalhousie Alumni Association.
Class of ‘04
BComm, 2004; MBA, 2006
Known then as: “Snuggles. Snuggles was my nickname for four years of frosh/orientation weeks. My dad actually called me Snuggles as a young child and I guess it stuck!”
Senior Director, Business Growth & Innovation, CIBC Retail & Business Banking
Dal Gazette: How have you been involved with Dalhousie since you graduated?
Gayle Murdoch: As a member of the Dalhousie Alumni Association, I’m going to take this opportunity for a little plug for a mentoring program that I started for the School of Business. The program provides opportunities for students to learn from alumni with similar career experiences/interests. Email me if you’re an alumni and would like to participate! firstname.lastname@example.org
DG: Why did you decide to attend Dal?
GM: I wanted to stay in Nova Scotia and attend a great school with a good international reputation—Dalhousie was a natural fit!
DG: Where did you live while you were at Dal?
GM: I lived at home with my parents—thank you mom and dad for all of your support!
DG: Where could you be found most often on campus while you were at Dal?
GM: For my first give years at Dalhousie, business school classes were conducted in an old church, which is where I spent most of my time. In my sixth (and final) year, the new Rowe Management Building was unveiled, which is a fabulous new space for students. When I wasn’t in class, I was definitely in the old Grawood at the SUB.
DG: Favourite place to study while at Dal?
GM: My parents’ house. I could never get any studying done with all of my friends around at school!
DG: What was your biggest distraction while you were at Dal?
GM: Ha! Dating was probably my biggest distraction but I never let a boy get too distracting—I graduated close to the top of my class and participated in several hundred hours of extra curricular activities. I still have my Gold “D” award to show for all those volunteer hours.
DG: What was your favourite cafeteria food on campus?
GM: I can’t even remember what I ate at Dalhousie. Food was clearly not the priority…probably cookies from Second Cup.
DG: What is your favourite Dalhousie memory?
GM: A few hundred of my closest Dal buddies were attending a winter formal dinner and dance. Later in the evening, a friend of mine thought it would be hilarious to remove his suit (jacket AND pants) to dance in his socks and boxers – a la Tom Cruise in Risky Business. Another female friend thought it would be even funnier to wear the pants. Well of course as the night went on, the pants went missing and as the designated driver, I spent the rest of the night driving my friends to every bar in Halifax trying to find the missing pants…which never turned up.
DG: How did your Dal experience prepare you for your current role?
GM: The lessons I learned at Dal gave me the confidence and support to do my very best—breaking through what I didn’t think was possible. Dal helped me to see a world of employers with job opportunities that I didn’t know existed.
DG: What do you see as the best thing about being a Dal alum?
GM: My Dal network! Along with my alumni friendships, I am truly grateful for fabulous relationships with Dalhousie faculty and staff. We often meet for coffee when they are in Toronto. Professor Sunny Marche, who sadly recently passed away, was part of the reason I met my husband at Dal! Without Sunny both of us wouldn’t have participated in a case competition where we began our relationship.
DG: Do you have any words of wisdom for current Dal students—something you wish you had known when you were a student?
GM: Do things that you are afraid of, push yourself beyond what you believe are your personal boundaries. I have never regretted any of the projects I have taken on, places I’ve traveled, activities that I’ve done that I didn’t think I could handle at the time. It’s hugely rewarding.