Brian Marley

What advice do you have for current Belk College students?

I’m not sure what I can add to the advice you’re getting from your professors, counselors and family. The bedrock advice about hard work, ethics and finding your passion is really important. There’s a reason you keep hearing that. 

If you’re looking for something a little different, I might share with you a trait I've always looked for when I’m hiring someone.  All things being equal, I try to find the person who is more curious. The curiosity I’m looking for is focused. It is the kind where the person can’t rest until they find an acceptable answer. In doing this he or she can become very resourceful in finding answers and solving problems, as well as become adept at asking the right questions, which is the most important first step in solving a problem. I find that people with these traits early in their careers tend to develop more rapidly and progress to the next level. Studies bear this out. Curiosity is a quality we all have, especially as children. My advice would be to nurture that.

Don’t stop asking why. Don’t accept incomplete or even half-baked answers to important questions. That could take you a long way.

Honorary Alumnus
Brian Marley is the founder and Managing Partner of Marley Associates LLC, an advisory services firm. He previously served as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Belk, Inc. from 2000 to 2013. He is a member of the Belk College of Business Board of Advisors. Marley was recognized with the Honorary Alumni Award of the Belk College of Business in 2017.
What is your relationship to the Belk College of Business?

I have been a member of the Belk College Board of Advisors for about five years.

Why have you chosen to support the Belk College?

I began my involvement when I was CFO of Belk, Inc. and I looked to the Belk College as a strategic asset for supplying talent to our Finance organization. Now I look at the University more broadly as a unique supplier of talent to our state and region.

What role does the Belk College play in the business community?

I mentioned the talent component above, which is most important. The Belk College has demonstrated an ability to grow with our region in scale and capability. As businesses look at the skills they will need in the future, the Belk College is often out in front. One example is the recent analytics programs, but there are many others. That’s critical to a vibrant business community and a vibrant University community. They go hand in hand.  

What is your current role?

Today I have my own consulting business. I advise companies, private equity firms and family offices on strategy and Finance matters. I also serve on a number of education-focused organizations. In addition to serving on the Board of Advisers of the Belk College, I serve on the Board of Directors of the John M. Belk Endowment, which focuses on post-secondary education and the Investment Committee of the Belk Foundation, which supports early childhood education.  I am also on the Board of Visitors of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  

What is the importance of giving back to you in terms of time, talent or treasures?

It’s required, and it’s not a chore. Done right, you will get just as much out of it as you put in. You hear that a lot, but it’s not a cliché. I love working with the Belk College because there is such a can-do attitude. There is not a dream too big for this organization. It invigorates me just to be around it. When you think about what’s possible for our region working together with the Belk College, you can’t help but be inspired. 

Anything else you’d like to say about UNC Charlotte or the Belk College of Business?

I mentioned the can-do attitude above. It is unique. There is so much in process in the college, it can make you dizzy. UNC Charlotte has a unique ability to collaborate across schools. Everyone has the bigger picture in mind. The future is very bright for UNC Charlotte!  


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