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College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management

  • Tyler Hall is pictured in the foreground with a group of Retailing students.

Graduation dreams come true for UofSC student who overcame rejection

By Allen Wallace,
Posted on May 8, 2019

Sometimes success begins with rejection. As a high school senior, Tyler Hall applied to attend the University of South Carolina, but did not make the cut. Some people might have given up on being a Gamecock at that moment, but not Hall. This weekend, he will have finally earned his degree in retailing from South Carolina, finishing with a 3.8 GPA and a job waiting at Belk corporate headquarters.

“Life can be so discouraging, but you have to dig deep in your heart and pull out that passion and those dreams you have always had and simply make it happen,” Hall says. “No one can stop you except you.”

Not getting in to his first-pick college the first time around certainly discouraged Hall, but he would not be stopped. He enrolled at Midlands Tech and earned an associate’s degree in liberal arts, along with 60 transferable credits. When he applied a second time to South Carolina, the famous “Yes!” envelope was waiting for him. He was in!

Hall dreamed of a career in retailing, specifically as a buyer, and South Carolina’s renowned retail management degree program and connections with industry leaders attracted him. When he arrived at South Carolina’s College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management, he found even more than he expected.

“The best experiences I’ve had at South Carolina are career fairs and trips to different companies,” he says. “At UofSC we are provided with so many opportunities to network with companies that we may not have even known existed.”

Hall started building his career experience working at a local Belk retail location while a full-time student, learning the ins and outs of the retailing industry from the ground floor as well as earning needed income. He worked two other jobs at the same time, while maintaining his excellent academic performance. Getting in had been difficult. Excelling once he got to college was even more so, but Hall proved again that he simply does not quit.

“The biggest challenge I had to overcome was balancing work, school and social life. It takes so much discipline to be able to pull this off, but this is what college is,” he says. “It is a system designed to teach you how to balance your life between everything that is important to you. UofSC has helped me begin to truly be an adult and become a productive member of society.”

Life can be so discouraging, but you have to dig deep in your heart and pull out that passion and those dreams you have always had and simply make it happen. No one can stop you except you.

— Tyler Hall, 2019 retailing graduate 

Those who know Hall say he is already very much a responsible adult and an exceptionally productive member of the community. He went beyond class requirements to seek advice and mentorship from faculty members and from support staff like Erica Lake, corporate engagement director for the College of HRSM.

Working with Lake and the university’s career center, Hall attended a resume review led by Belk executives and got to attend an exclusive tour of the company’s corporate headquarters in Charlotte. His intelligence, drive and work ethic impressed all those who met him, and over spring break the good news came: Hall was offered a job after graduation as a buying intern at those same headquarters. His career dream was coming true.

Hall says he enjoyed and learned from every professor he encountered on the road to his bachelor’s degree in retailing, but adds that Michael Moody, Karen Edwards and Annette Burnsed, all members of the Department of Retailing faculty, were especially influential.

“Mr. Moody noticed my talent and has always made sure that I know it as well. Watching the way he carries himself and how he addresses conflict with others has helped understand how to deal with others,” he says. “Ms. Edwards is the nicest woman that I have ever met. We always talked about working at Belk because she once worked at Belk and I currently do. Ms. Burnsed is the most passionate professor I have ever had. She simply loves what she does for a living and loves each student the same way.”

Hall knows building a career will not be easy, but as his college career has demonstrated, he is ready for any challenge. For others facing obstacles, he offers the advice that has worked so well for him.

“Every day you wake up, figure out one thing you can do to get you a step closer to your dream. Every part of your life should touch that passion of yours in some way.”


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