Dr. Melissa Moore, Head of Marketing, Quantitative Analysis, and Business Law at Mississippi State University, contacted me recently and asked if I would be interested in sitting on the College of Business Marketing Advisory Board. While honored and humbled with the invitation, I was also intrigued. It has been almost three decades since I obtained my MBA from State, and I wanted to see what advances had been made.

The day could not have been more fulfilling. I was astounded at the growth in programs, facilities, and overall opportunities available to students in the College. The Entrepreneurship Center is the epicenter for creativity and ideas, with a variety of entrepreneurial courses, networks, labs and competitions available to students. This E-Center includes a business incubator responsible for spawning a portfolio of 15 start-up companies, with a diversity of services and product offerings. My favorite: Gameday Design Group, whose feature product is the Cowbelt for carrying our tradition-steeped Cowbell to football games. I placed my order immediately!

We also received updates on the Marketing Intelligence Lab and Observatory (MILO), designed to be the world’s largest biometric research lab. The goal of MILO is to provide a state-of-the-art behavioral research facility to prepare students with the skills that will ensure their career success, aids faculty in the design and implementation of top-tier research, and supplies the business community with advanced, actionable marketing intelligence. When completed it will be a differentiator for the College, and more importantly provide students with a unique competitive advantage.

While I enjoyed updates on both ventures and other activities in the College, the most rewarding part of the experience was interacting with the students. Dr. Moore assembled a number of top Marketing students in a competition where each student was presented with a business challenge, and their task was to provide alternatives to solving the issue, their recommendation and the reasons behind their choice. I was pleasantly surprised with the number of well-constructed presentations, their public speaking prowess and the thoughtfulness in their solutions. I know I wasn’t capable of such stellar work way back when! The winner of the competition received a $100 certificate – well earned I might add.

As the Board meeting ended and we were leaving the Business building, I reflected back on the day and my pride in the University, the College of Business and the Marketing team. They are blessed with great leadership in Dr. Moore, and it was illustrated first hand by the students and the variety of creative endeavors that the best is yet to come. Hail State!