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OSU Business 02

Mitzi Montoya, dean of OSU's College of Business, pauses for a moment in one of the work spaces in the WeWork building in Portland. The College of Business is expanding its presence in the Portland area with new MBA offerings.

Mitzi Montoya said Oregon’s pioneer roots mightily impact the business culture of the state, with professionals unafraid to blaze new trails.

“This is the kind of place you can be different and do something bold. … I love the entrepreneurial vibe of the state,” said Montoya, who became the dean of Oregon State University’s College of Business in August 2015.

“It’s very vibrant. It’s different. I’ve lived all over the country,” she added.

Before coming to OSU, Montoya was vice president and university dean of entrepreneurship & innovation at Arizona State University. She also spent 15 years at North Carolina State University, where she founded and led the Innovation Lab, where university departments collaborated with corporate sponsors.

The maverick spirit in Oregon is part of what attracts so many people to the Beaver State, and that feeling mixes with the creativity of newcomers, Montoya said.

Oregon’s pioneer heritage also translates into people who are willing to work hard and earn success, as well as help their neighbors, Montoya said.

The willingness to innovate and other typical Oregon traits tend to get reflected in the 5,800 students served by OSU’s College of Business, she said. “Our students get the job done."

OSU’s College of Business, to be sure, isn’t geared to get students to Wall Street. It’s aimed at students who will likely become professionals in Oregon or the Northwest.

“People from here want to stay here. People who left want to come back,” Montoya said. “I have fifth-generation students.”

Montoya said OSU is particularly known for its innovation and entrepreneur education, business analytics and design program. It’s the only business school in the country with a design program, she added.

Oregon State, for what it does, is the best business school in the Northwest, Montoya said.

Eventually, Montoya would like to see the OSU College of Business expand throughout Oregon with outpost offices, similar to the OSU Extension Service.

“There are good examples of that throughout the nation,” Montoya said.

“We should be a partner in growing businesses, helping businesses and being in service to businesses,” she added.

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Kyle Odegard can be reached at, 541-812-6077 or via Twitter @KyleOdegard.


Business Reporter