Zoey Tyson-Taylor ’24 Embraces the Business Side of History as She Prepares to Pursue an M.B.A.

Zoey Tyson-Taylor ’24 Embraces the Business Side of History as She Prepares to Pursue an M.B.A.

Academics, Leadership, Study Abroad, Testimonials

May 7, 2024

Zoey Tyson-Taylor ’24 Embraces the Business Side of History as She Prepares to Pursue an M.B.A. Zoey Tyson-Taylor '24

Working in the business world has always been Zoey Tyson-Taylor ‘24’s aspiration. But after she came to Hollins, she says she came to appreciate that “I didn’t have to stick with just business because there’s business in everything you do.” That realization opened the door for her to consider another of her passions as a second major.

“I love history so much, but I didn’t intend to major in it until I gained that insight,” she explains. “People don’t understand how business and history interact with one another. You’ve got to understand the history of a business so that you don’t make the same mistakes when it comes to new technologies, new markets, or new accounting procedures that, say, your grandfather may have made.”

At the same time, she adds, “The successful running of a museum for example doesn’t just involve curation and managing the archives. You need staff who know how to handle the finances and promote the facility to its key audiences.”

Tyson-Taylor describes the academic journey that ultimately brought her to Hollins as “very interesting.” As a high school senior in the Hampton Roads area, she attended a dinner for prospective students where she got to talk with Hollins faculty, staff, and alumnae. Afterward, she says, “I remembered how nice that was, how I was able to interact with people and how they talked about their experiences at Hollins. I felt there was this community that a lot of colleges don’t have.” The chance to study abroad was one of Tyson-Taylor’s priorities in choosing a college, “and I thought Hollins offered an environment to support that.”

Because of her grades and other considerations, however, Tyson-Taylor instead enrolled at a large public university. The experience would last only one year. “It was a nice school, but it wasn’t the place I needed to be,” she says. “So, I came home.” 

After enrolling for a semester at a local community college, Tyson-Taylor still hoped for the chance to attend what had been her “dream” school. “Hollins had always been at the back of my mind, and I set my sights on what I needed to do to transfer here. I came for a tour and loved the campus and loved interacting with the people I met. This was the place I wanted to be, and I knew Hollins would have a great and positive influence on me and my career ambitions. You can tell – with Hollins there is this difference.”

Along with discovering how her passions for business and history could complement one another, Tyson-Taylor recognized the benefits of completing a certificate in leadership studies through the university’s Batten Leadership Institute. “I felt that if I didn’t gain a leadership skill set, then I would be doing a disadvantage to others should I be in a leadership role,” she explains. “I have already put the skills I’ve learned to use, whether it was through my job at Wyndham Robertson Library or with various projects. The certificate program helped me understand leadership better, and what kind of leader I want to be.”

Tyson-Taylor also achieved one of her most cherished goals for her undergraduate career when she spent a semester studying abroad in France. “I loved it,” she says. “It was a tough three and a half months, but it was the best three and a half months. I made friendships with people who I’m still in touch with today.”

One of Tyson-Taylor’s most enduring takeaways from studying abroad was the invaluable ways in which she was able to expand her acumen in both business and history. “I learned a lot about business on the international spectrum, particularly in marketing. Their approach taught me that we’re very different in America.” She says she wants to bring an international perspective to domestic businesses and organizations. “It’s important that companies understand how the rest of the world operates, because they’re not necessarily moved by our country’s standards for marketing. The classes I took helped me to see things not just from my American side but also my international side.” One of those classes involved creating a new business, and Taylor-Tyson and her classmates built a dating app. “That was a cool project,” she says.

The confluence of history and business, Tyson-Taylor adds, was also prominent as she observed first-hand the business of tourism in Paris. “If you don’t understand the history behind the architecture and the art, you don’t understand why people are so infatuated with the place. By reconstructing that history, the city has attracted people from all over the world to see amazing things and learn about amazing people.”

Recently inducted into Phi Alpha Theta, the national honor society for students of history, Tyson-Taylor has completed a senior thesis in history on the resilience of Black women as they experienced and dealt with racism and sexism during U.S. women’s suffrage movement. This fall, she will begin pursuing an M.B.A. at the College of William and Mary.

“I wouldn’t be where I am today without my Hollins experience,” she says. “I have communication skills that I didn’t have when I first came here. The ability to communicate made possible the projects and the classwork I had to do. I would not have been able to explain my personal experiences without those skills. At my previous university, I didn’t experience much change. I was just there. But Hollins has helped me to grow as a person and understand the importance of education. I chose Hollins for a reason, and would I choose it again? Yes.”