College of business graduate gets 'creative' to complete degree

By Colleen Rerucha '06

It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish. 

That’s been Sana Sharper’s mantra as she set her sights on completing her business degree; a journey that took a few unexpected turns along the way. The first came just two weeks before Sharper even started college.

The Toledo native had already committed to another university when she attended a Bowling Green State University SOAR session on a whim the summer after her high school graduation. 

“I really enjoyed the people at the College of Business” Sharper said. “It was instant. I belong here.”

With just weeks to act, she rerouted scholarships and transcripts and enrolled as a BGSU College of Business student.

The sales and services marketing student was involved on campus, assisting with the College of Business Graduate College and the dean’s office. Her student involvement paid off when Sharper landed a dream internship at Thomson Reuters going into her senior year.

One month into her internship in the inside sales division of the Ann Arbor, Michigan, company, Sharper learned she was pregnant.

“It was a really hard time for me," she said. "I had to grow up very fast."

Faced with the responsibilities of motherhood, Sharper made the difficult decision to walk away from her education to pursue full-time employment. Her internship at Thomson Reuters led to an interview and a same-day job offer for a perfectly timed full-time position. 

“I had to do what was best for me at the time,” she said. “Being a new mom, I needed to be able to provide for my son.”

Sharper relocated to Ann Arbor and began her career, balancing the responsibilities of being a working mother. When her son, Gregory, turned 1, she knew she had to return to complete her degree. With the support of her employer, Sharper set a goal of completing her degree.

 “I was so close, and I worked so hard to get to that point," she said. "There was no way I was going to walk away and not try and go back and finish.”

Sharper worked with the College of Business to find a path to graduation. She continued to work at Thomson Reuters while completing her senior-year coursework online in the individualized business program. 

“My schedule was so tight," Sharper said. "I wasn’t getting home until 6, and then I had my son, and then 9 to midnight, I start grinding, getting through my assignment and then doing my day all over again, just like that.”

I couldn’t have done it alone. The College of Business was so supportive.

She credits faculty guidance, flexibility and quick communication with her success in completing her degree.

“I couldn’t have done it alone," Sharper said. "The College of Business was so supportive. Now, it all makes sense. I was meant to be there.”

"The College of Business is committed to student success, first and foremost," Dean Ray Braun said. "When Sana shared her desire to complete her degree, our faculty worked closely with her to ensure she had the tools she needed to be successful. We care about our students and believe in them."

Sharper, now an account representative with Thomson Reuters, manages 300 accounting and CPA firms across the United States to identify bottlenecks and streamline current processes. She hopes her business degree will open new opportunities in the future.

“It will allow me to spread my wings a little more," Sharper said. "I want to do so much more.”

"From Sana’s work as a student, to her internship and full-time employment, Sana has stood out at BGSU," Braun said. "With her business degree, Sana’s determination and perseverance will take her far. We are proud of her many accomplishments."

She is active in her employer’s mentorship program and hopes her journey, and the knowledge that she has gained by completing her degree, will help others pursue theirs. 

“You’re always going to have trials — always," Sharper said. "You just have to keep pushing. There are going to be times when things don’t go as planned, but you have to get back up. And you have to get creative. I had to get creative with my time and figure out: How can I manage this? To get the assignments in, and maintain my work and dedicate time with my son. But you have to find a way to get it done.”