The next generation of business leaders can be found in university classes all across the country. Unfortunately, in those ranks, there has traditionally been a dearth of African-American, Latino and Native-American students ready to take the next step into academia and teach the next generation.
That’s where The PhD Project comes in, an award-winning program to create a more diverse corporate America. This year, The PhD Project has given the Honored Guest Award from its Marketing Doctoral Students Association (MDSA) to California State University, Northridge’s marketing professor Oscar DeShields.
“Being recognized as the honored guest at the MDSA has been a significant and humbling experience for me,” said DeShields. “The MDSA has been a gateway program for more than 16 years to mentor and foster growth for minorities to obtain Ph.D.s to enter the marketing ranks in academia. I am happy to have been a part of this program from its inception 20 years ago, and I look forward to continuing my contributions to the program, in any way that I can, in the future.”
“We are thrilled that Dr. DeShields received the Honored Guest Award at this year’s MDSA conference,” said Bernard J. Milano, president of The PhD Project. “He has demonstrated dedication, hard work and intelligence and continues to influence the next generation of business leaders. The PhD Project takes great pride in his achievement.”
For the past 22 years, DeShields has been using that dedication and hard work to teach Matadors in undergraduate- and graduate-level marketing courses. He has also taken the reins in the department at different levels to improve CSUN’s standing in the field.
“When I was director of graduate studies and evening programs,” he said, “I revitalized the certificate program in business administration, which gave students an alternate way to enter the MBA program at CSUN. [Additionally] the M.S. in Taxation Program was approved and launched.” Under his watch, CSUN’s MBA program rated as one of the best part-time programs on the Princeton Review of Graduate Programs.
DeShields’ time at CSUN also dovetailed into one of the biggest developments in the marketing world, as well as the real world, in recent memory: the advent of the Internet. The professor immediately embraced it, realizing that his students needed to understand its implications on the career they had chosen.
“I think the biggest change to marketing has been the impact of the Internet on the discipline. As a professor of marketing, I tried to address that change by developing and introducing a course on Internet marketing in the marketing course curriculum.” This is just one example of how DeShields has been building and preparing students for the future for the past two-plus decades. He knows what they sacrifice to be in that classroom with him and wants to give it all he’s got, because they’ve given it to him.
“I look at CSUN as a blue collar school, in the sense that the majority of the CSUN students must work to pay for their education,” he said. “As a result, when I see the effort CSUN students put forth to obtain their education, it inspires me to go the extra mile for them.”