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Sharon Tunstall (PhD)


Position: Human Relations Executive, HR Consultant

Employer: Consultant

Current City: Birmingham, Michigan

Please tell us about your career

I was a Professor of Political Science at Oakland University for five years after completing my Ph.D. program.  I joined a global advertising agency after my academic experience initially as the global head of training and development.  I later became global head of HR.  Subsequent  to this agency I held executive HR roles at a variety of companies including NIKE, Times Mirror Co., Universal Music, etc.

What motivated you to obtain a doctorate in political science?

As an undergraduate I was an English major with a minor in Political Science.  I completed my master’s degree in Political Science and then joined the Ph.D. program full time.  I chose to complete my advanced degrees in political science because I have always loved political theory, behavior, etc.

What are the links between your political science studies and your career?

My background in English and political science have served me well in my professional career.  I write well; have strong strategic and analytical skills and am adept at problem solving.  But my teaching experience, I believe, is the most valuable skill set that enabled me to lead, speak to groups large and small and understand what one must do to motivate others' behaviors.

Do you have any advice for students who aspire to hold a job like yours?

My advice to students is to always remain curious and keep options open.  I always wanted to teach and was successful in that role.  But my curiosity about business and human capital/behavior led me to the corporate world.  My academic background absolutely helped me to succeed in business.  My curiosity pushed me to explore new opportunities.  I feel fortunate that I have the mix of experiences and skills.