enthusiastic traveler shows her followers that lifestyle can
mix with career. Her secret weapon: making full use of every
“The busier I am, the happier I am,” she said. “When I was
in school, the more hours I took, the better I was.”
As dean of a program with 2,600 students, she is busy and
“We have a lot of student entrepreneurs in our business
school,” she said. “Students run from 30 to 50 businesses
here with the faculty working along with them. We are so big
into entrepreneurship and helping students start businesses
while they’re young.”
The MSU program also includes the Center of Family
Enterprise Research, which studies the strategic management
of family businesses and all aspects relating to success and
failure of those enterprises.
All this from a person who might never have entered the
academic world except for the self-discovery the Manderson
doctoral program offered. An Auburn undergraduate earning
an advanced degree at Alabama, no less.
“I’m not really into football,” Oswald said, thereby
dismissing rivalries. “I really related to my time at Alabama; I
loved my time there. I know there were faculty who preferred
traditional students rather than students who are also
working full time, but the University gave me the chance.”
Getting the chance can be a deal breaker. Nobody realizes
that better than Oswald, the determined dean one state to the
west who is out to make a difference for business students.
Just as the Manderson program made the difference for her.
Carolanne Roberts is a freelance writer based in Birmingham,
Alabama, and is a former travel editor of Southern Living
Dean of the College of Business
Mississippi State University
QUOTES FOR THE ROAD
Sometimes the advice you hear sticks — and you heed it.
Sharon Oswald recalls the following bits of wisdom that
guided her along the way:
Sometimes people, like plants, need to be repotted.
“A former dean and mentor of mine helped me with the
decision to leave Auburn for Mississippi State. And it’s so true
that we sometimes need to make a change,” Oswald said.
I thought I taught you better, not to be in your office at
4 p.m. on a Friday.
“I love this one. Chuck Odewahn (from The University of
Alabama) and his wife, Toppy Ezell (former Culverhouse
College of Commerce marketing professor) stopped by my
office and didn’t tell me they were coming,” she said. “And
I was working at 4 o’clock on a Friday afternoon. There’s
To make one person’s life a little better, this is to
“From Henry David Thoreau, this is probably my favorite
quote,” Oswald said. “Through what I’ve done, I hope I’ve
made other’s lives better.”