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Monday, May 23, 2022

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Martina Musteen Martina Musteen

A Life-Long Passion for all Things International

Growing up behind the Iron Curtain in Czechoslovakia presented some challenges for SDSU professor Martina Musteen.
By Fowler College of Business News Team

As a native of Klatovy, in what is now the Czech Republic, Martina Musteen and her family were prohibited from traveling to West Germany, less than 25 miles away.

As a result, the Czechoslovakian government’s tight restrictions only fueled her passion to learn more about the rest of the world.

“Growing up in a communist country where free travel is not an option, I was naturally attracted to everything international,” she said. “I used to secretly watch German TV and listen to Radio Free Europe.”

When European communism fell in 1989-90, those living in the Eastern Bloc were free to move about the rest of the continent, prompting Musteen to move to Germany, where she enrolled at the University of Maryland’s European Division located in Heidelberg, Germany. 

“When the Cold War ended, I was mesmerized by different countries and also by the free-market economy,” said Musteen, who now teaches and researches international business as a management professor in San Diego State University’s Fowler College of Business. “Since the University of Maryland had a division in Germany that offered classes in business and management, I decided to take advantage of it and enroll.”

A Change of Heart

After completing her bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland, she almost immediately started working on her MBA at the University of Kansas’ CIMBA (Consortium International Master of Business Administration) program. 

The program began in Italy, prior to transitioning to University of Kansas, where Musteen was required to take the final course at the degree granting institution.

“So I came to Kansas in 2000 and decided to stay.”

After earning her MBA and pondering career options, she was able to begin a career in banking. 

“With both of my parents being teachers, I grew up thinking I really didn’t want to have a career in education,” she said. “I graduated with my MBA just as the dot-com bubble burst and jobs were hard to find,” said Musteen.

But just as Musteen was about to embark on her work in banking, she got an email that offered her a back-up plan. “One of my professors from the University of Kansas reached out to me and asked if I would be interested in joining their Ph.D. program,” she said. “I asked him to give me a year to think about it.”

A year went by and Musteen, living in Kansas City at the time, found herself missing university life. She enrolled at the University of Kansas in Lawrence to get her Ph.D. “Once that happened, I knew I would eventually become a professor,” she said. “It was the best decision I’ve ever made.”

A Perfect Fit

Upon graduation in 2006, Musteen found an opening at SDSU that was “just perfect and fit my qualifications exactly.” In addition to her research and teaching duties, she currently manages SDSU’s Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER) as the principle investigator. She also is  co-founder and faculty director of SDSU’s Center for Advancing Global Business (CAGB).

Her academic interest in international business  played an important role in her personal life as well. 

“I met my husband at SDSU. He was a guest speaker in one of my international business classes,” said Musteen. “Since he is from South Africa, I am from Czechia and our kids were born in the U.S., we joke that we have a little United Nations at home where international affairs and business are being discussed daily at the dinner table.”

Though she was initially reluctant to embark on a career in education, Musteen’s choice of professions does seem to be the perfect fit. Since coming to SDSU, she has won numerous awards, both nationally (Olympus Emerging Educator in 2008) and within the university (the Alumni Association Award for Outstanding Faculty Contribution in 2017). 

But the award Musteen is most proud of is being named as the “Most Influential Professor” by the top MBA graduate in the Fowler College of Business for 2019. “Being able to be a positive influence in the lives of students is what I consider to be the most precious component of my job,” she said. “I know how incredibly influential some of my teachers and professors were for my life and I can only hope I make a similar difference in the lives of my students.”