outside of Arts and Letters building at SDSU

About Us

Message from the Director

Welcome to International Business at San Diego State University.

We believe that understanding the global nature of the modern economy and business practices is indispensable to students who wish to develop the necessary experience and skills for the dynamic business environment of the 21st century.

International Business is an interdisciplinary major that culminates in a Bachelor of Arts degree offered jointly by the College of Arts and Letters and the Fowler College of Business. Our program is consistently ranked among the top one percent of undergraduate international business programs in the U.S. It is ranked No. 2 in the nation among minority-serving institutions, No. 4 among public universities, and No. 8 overall among undergraduate programs by U.S. News & World Report. It is also one of the largest International Business programs in the country.

International Business students take classes offered by faculty in a diverse set of disciplines such as Accountancy, Anthropology, Communication, Comparative Literature, Economics, European Studies, Finance, History, Management, Management Information Systems, Marketing, Political Science, and one of several foreign languages. The program produces well-rounded graduates who develop promising careers in a variety of different fields. Graduates navigate today’s globalized world with cutting-edge knowledge of modern enterprises, and social and political conditions around the world.

A collaborative and interdisciplinary undertaking, the International Business program integrates coursework in business administration, foreign language, and regional/cultural studies. We have some 500 majors who complete a rigorous set of business courses, acquire proficiency in one of 11 languages, and master the history and culture of one of six regions in the world. In addition, our students spend one semester studying abroad learning about their language of choice, as well as business and cultural practices of one specific world region. They also finish one semester-long internship in international business.

Please spend some time on our website and check out what our current students have to say about the International Business program. Also, look at the International Business Experience page which showcases the exciting global experiences of our students.

Sincere Regards,
Ranin Kazemi

Ranin Kazemi
Ranin Kazemi, Ph.D.

Edward Murillo
Edward Murillo

Study Abroad

Marisela LaPlante
Marisela LaPlante
Internship Coordinator and Career Adviser

Jason Tan
Jason Tan
Academic Advisor

Natalie (Yang) Jiao
Natalie (Yang) Jiao


The International Business Program is committed to the investigation of international business theory and practice. Student learning is required in each of three distinct areas:

  1. The study of the primary business disciplines of accounting, finance, information and decision sciences, management and marketing;
  2. The acquisition of proficiency in one or more of the eleven languages offered at SDSU;
  3. The study of the culture and practices of one of six regions of the world that corresponds to the language of the student’s choice.

Students are provided with the knowledge, skills and experiences to foster an in depth understanding of the values and culture that provide the foundation for business practice throughout the world.

International Business Faculty

Elena Salsitz
Office: AL 208
Phone: (619) 594-1369
Email: [email protected]

Business Faculty

Fowler College of Business Faculty can be found at https://business.sdsu.edu/about/directory

To find business faculty with specialization or interest in International Business topics use the "interest" search option and enter "International". 

Mark Ballam
Managing Director, Center for Advancing Global Business, Fowler College of Business, San Diego State University

Mark J. Ballam serves as Managing Director for San Diego State University’s Center for Advancing Global Business (SDSU CAGB) where he is responsible for the overall strategy and implementation of the program including budget, resources, advocacy, and communications.  He also manages the $1.2 million federal grant from the U.S. Department of Education, awarded to SDSU in October 2018. Mr. Ballam serves on the board of directors of the San Diego Diplomacy Council and has served as president of the Consortium for Undergraduate International Business Education and the Association of International Business Education and Research (AIBER). Currently, Mr. Ballam serves as Vice-Chair of the San Diego & Imperial Valley District Export Council (SDIDEC) and is a member of the Advisory Committee for Southwestern College’s Small Business Development and International Trade Center.

Nikia Clarke, Ph.D.
Director, World Trade Center San Diego

Dr. Nikia Clarke is founder and former Director of the Oxford University China Africa Network (OUCAN), an international organization that brings together senior policy makers, industry leaders, and researchers to identify and analyze emerging global investment and development trends. Nikia holds a PhD in International Relations from the University of Oxford, an MPhil in Development Economics from the University of Cambridge, and a BA from Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles. Her doctoral research focused on FDI attraction and retention in emerging markets, with an emphasis on large-scale public-private partnerships. Prior to joining the University of Oxford, Nikia spent several years working in both the private and public sectors in the US, the UK, China, and South Africa. She provides regular analysis on trade and investment policy for a number of international consultancies and trade publications. Nikia speaks Mandarin, Spanish, and Setswana.

Bryan Gannon
President & CEO, Igniteble LLC

Bryan is a born-and-raised San Diegan with numerous local ties: he is a member of the College of Arts and Letters Alumni Chapter; attended Crawford High School in El Cerrito where he was named First Team Water Polo All-American; and earned four athletic letters on the nationally ranked water polo and swim teams at SDSU. 

Bryan serves as Advisor to the Global Consumer Industry Practice in the Digital Transformation Group. He works directly with Cisco's Global accounts in close collaboration with Cisco's top Account Management Teams, to lead Business Transformation, Customer Engagement and Best Practices in the Major Retail, Industry Leading Hospitality Brands and Top Tier Sports and Entertainment Companies.  He is also President and CEO at Igniteble where he is involved in the deployment of proximity platforms in concert with Cisco-Meraki Wireless access points across major retail and hospitality accounts including Family Dollar, Dollar General, Sally Beauty and InterContinental Hotels Group. Prior to founding Igniteable, Bryan served as division president and CEO of 4Kids Entertainment, a children's entertainment licensing organization which has provided programming for networks such as Fox and The CW. Additionally, Bryan served as senior vice president of US and Mexico sales and marketing at Bell Industries. There, he helped guide the business to $1 billion in annual sales with major accounts that included HP, Motorola, and Qualcomm.

Bryan holds a Bachelor of Arts from San Diego State University and a Juris Doctor from Thomas Jefferson School of Law.  He is still an avid swimmer and coaches his son’s basketball team as he did the teams of his three grown daughters. He is above all, a very proud father and Aztec for life.

Alan Jennat
CFO, Americas Region, ARUP

Alan is the Chief Financial Officer for Arup Americas region. He is responsible for managing all financial-related activities of the region including accounting, finance, forecasting, operating plan, taxation, treasury and corporate governance. Within Arup, he is an officer of the Regional Board and member of the Operational Executive Committee. He also served as the Chair for Business Service Executive for the Americas which is responsible for career development of staff, promotion and delivery of Corporate Services. Prior to joining Arup, he was the Director of Finance for Constellation Energy. Within this capacity, he managed all finance activities of a newly created entity, the “West Region Business Unit.” Prior to that, he lived in Chile and was the Regional Controller for Sempra Energy International where he handled all of the finance and accounting activities for their South America business unit. He is also an active member of the Committee for Private Companies for Finance Executive International (an advocacy group in Washington D.C.) helping to develop positions on legislation, regulations, and other public policy initiatives that impact privately held companies and Advisory member for San Diego State University Tri-State region. He has a M.S. in Sustainability Management from Columbia University, M.A. in Economics -Latin American Studies, San Diego State University, a B.S. Business, San Diego State University.

Gail Naughton, Ph.D.
Founder, Histogen, Inc.

Dr. Gail Naughton founded Histogen, Inc, a regenerative medicine company, in 2007, and serves as its CEO and Chairman of the Board. She was the founder of Advanced Tissue Sciences and has spent more than 25 years extensively researching the tissue engineering process, holds more than 95 U.S. and foreign patents, and has been extensively published in the field. She served as the Dean for the Fowler College of Business from 2002-2011. In 2000, Dr. Naughton received the National Inventor of the Year award by the Intellectual Property Owners Association in honor of her pioneering work in tissue engineering.

Carlos M. Nunez, M.D.
Chief Medical Officer, ResMed

As Chief Medical Officer for ResMed, Dr. Nunez leads Medical Affairs, Market Access, Healthcare Economics, Government Affairs and Clinical Science and Innovation for one of the world's leading medical technology companies. This global, multidisciplinary team provides the professional and scientific expertise to align the clinical, economic and public policy realities of modern healthcare with the patient-centered mission and business strategy of ResMed. Prior to ResMed, Dr. Nunez was the SVP of Medical affairs for Becton Dickinson (BD), the Chief Medical Officer at CareFusion, and the Chief Physician Executive at Picis. He received his Medical Doctor (M.D.) degree from the University of Miami School of Medicine; where he also completed postgraduate training in anesthesiology, critical care medicine and clinical research. Before beginning his career in industry, Dr. Nunez was a practicing anesthesiologist, intensivist and hospitalist, director of critical care research, informatics and analytics, and the Duke University educational affiliation at Carolinas Medical Center Northeast.

R. Michael Pack
President, SunCal Outdoor Advertising

R. Michael (Mike) Pack graduated from SDSU in 1970 with a degree in Business Finance. He pursued dual career paths in real estate and outdoor advertising. He started buying real estate in his senior year and, in 1976, started RMP Financial, a real estate investment, management & development company and in 1977 became President of Suncal Outdoor Advertising. He is founder of the Pack Foundation, which supports an array of community and educational programs including more than 150 scholarships for international business students in SDSU’s College of Arts and Letters since 2003. Mike is a member of the San Diego Yacht Club and former board member of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater San Diego. Mike serves on the College of Arts and Letters Dean’s Advisory Council. In 2011, he and his wife Christine, a 1970 Social Work alumna, provided a principal gift to the college; its International Business Suite was named in their honor. The gift supports increased opportunities for scholarships and internships as well as study abroad experiences. The Packs have also supported SDSU’s College of Engineering and Fowler College of Business. Mike also supports SDSU’s Lavin Entrepreneurship Center’s Venture Challenge, an international graduate business plan competition, which includes the R. Michael Pack Environmentally Sustainable Award and the R. Michael Pack Innovative Technology Award. As a student, Mike was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. Mike serves on The Campanile Foundation’s Campaign Cabinet and Alumni Engagement Committee. In addition to the above, Mike also enjoys sailing, snow skiing, golf, hiking, biking, kayaking, and traveling.

Jodi Shelton
Co-Founder, President and CEO, Global Semiconductor Alliance and Shelton Group

Jodi graduated cum laude from SDSU with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science in 1988 and then went on to receive her masters from the University of Houston. In 1994, she founded the investor relations agency Shelton Group and the Global Semiconductor Alliance (GSA). As the leader of GSA, the organization has established an impressive global footprint representing over 30 countries and 350 corporate members. The GSA promotes an efficient, profitable, and sustainable semiconductor and high technology global ecosystems encompassing semiconductors, software, solutions, systems and services. The GSA provides a platform for collaboration, where global executives can interface and innovate with peers, partners and customers to accelerate industry growth and maximize return on invested and intellectual capital. Shelton has built a successful strategic investor relations firm providing customized programs to public and private companies. Jodi has been involved in the Dallas arts community and serves as an advisor to Aurora, an expansive public art event that transforms downtown Dallas into an open-air, urban playground of new media art, with installations of light, video, and sound presented on an unprecedented scale. She also works closely with BuildON and has built six schools in rural Haiti.

Scott Stearns
Assistant Vice President General Merchandising Manager San Diego Region, Costco Wholesale

Scott Stearns graduated from San Diego State University where he earned a Bachelor's degree in Finance. Scott has lived in San Diego since 1977. While attending San Diego State University, Scott worked for the Price Company (Price Club) now Costco Wholesale. He has worked for Costco Wholesale for the past 39 years, starting when the company had only two locations. While attending SDSU Scott meant his wife Danita, she is a native San Diegan. Together Scott and Danita are the proud parents of two children.

Mike Wells
Group Chief Executive, Prudential plc

Mike Wells has been Group Chief Executive of the international financial services group Prudential plc since June 2015.

Founded in London in 1848 and based in the UK, Prudential provides long-term savings and protection products, retirement income solutions and asset management through its businesses on four continents – Prudential Corporation Asia and Eastspring Investments in Asia, Jackson National Life Insurance in the US, M&G Prudential in the UK and Europe, and Prudential Africa. The purpose of Prudential is to de-risk life’s big events to help people plan for the future with confidence.

Since becoming Group Chief Executive, Mike has overseen continued growth across Prudential’s key metrics, with the Group delivering record IFRS operating profit of nearly £4.7 billion in 2017, and its assets under management reaching £669 billion.

Mike joined Jackson, Prudential’s North American unit, in 1995, and became Jackson’s Chief Operating Officer and Vice-Chairman in 2003. In 2011 he was appointed President and CEO of Jackson and joined the board of Prudential. He has more than three decades’ experience in insurance and retirement services, having started his career at the US brokerage house Dean Witter before becoming a managing director at Smith Barney Shearson.

Mike was born in Ontario, Canada, was brought up in southern California and earned a Bachelor of Sciences in Economics from San Diego State University.

Richard Williams
Former Chief People Officer, Western Union

Richard Williams most recently served as Chief People Officer of Western Union, where he oversaw the company's Human Resources functions around the globe. Williams was responsible for leading the organization’s successful implementation of the “WU Way,” a program designed to transform Western Union’s operating model to better enable innovation, improve the customer experience and drive productivity. Williams is a thought leader in corporate responsibility and shared value. Williams joined Western Union in 2009 as the Vice President of Human Resources for the Americas region. Prior to joining Western Union, Richard worked for Fullerton Financial Holdings (a wholly owned subsidiary of Temasek Holdings) as its Senior Vice President of Human Resources for Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa, based in Dubai. 

Williams also spent more than 17 years with American Express, holding senior human resources roles in Europe, Asia, Latin America and the U.S. In his last role with American Express, Williams was the Vice President of Human Resources for the Latin America, Caribbean and Canada region. Williams also has held senior-level roles with Dunia Finance in the UAE, a joint venture between Fullerton Financial and Mubadalla, and with ACNielsen. Williams was born in Mombasa, Kenya and has lived in seven countries. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from San Diego State University.

Paul Yett
Director of ESG and Sustainability, Hamilton Lane

Paul is a Managing Director at Hamilton Lane, based in the San Francisco office, where he currently serves as the Director of ESG & Sustainability. In this role, he is responsible for managing the ESG integration efforts across investment processes; driving ESG policy development and advising deal teams during due diligence; supporting clients, government entities and other stakeholders in regard to ESG and sustainability matters; and overseeing corporate ESG policies within the firm. He is an Investment Committee member and serves as a member and advisor to the Responsible Investment Committee. 

Paul began his career with Hamilton Lane in 1998 in the Due Diligence department, where he managed the global venture capital practice and real estate. He later took on the role of Relationship Manager, managing a number of key client accounts. Prior to joining Hamilton Lane, Paul spent four years with Stone Pine Asset Management, LLC, a Denver, Colorado-based private equity firm. Paul began his career in Denver as a Lease Accountant with Bramalea U.S. Properties.

For nine years, Paul served on the Board of Directors of the Robert Toigo Foundation, focused on building stronger, more diverse organizations through the inclusion and advancement of under-represented diverse talent across finance. Paul received a B.S. in Finance from San Diego State University.

A Top Ranked Program

  • Ranked consistently in the top 15 by US News and World Report.
  • We partner with the top business schools around the world for our study abroad programs.
  • Ranked #8 by U.S. and News Report 2021.
    (1) University of South Carolina
    (2) Florida International University
    (3) New York University
    (4) Georgetown University
    (5) University of Pennsylvania
    (6) George Washington University
    (7) University of California--Berkeley
    (8) San Diego State University
    (9) American University
    (10) Fordham University
    (10) Northeastern University
    (10) University of Southern California 

Business and So Much More

  • A rigorous academic program and a multi-disciplinary curriculum that integrates extensive coursework in business, a foreign language and regional/cultural studies.
  • 11 language emphasis options; Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian or Spanish
  • 6 regional emphasis options; Asia, Central Europe, Latin America, Middle-East, North America, Western Europe
  • 100% of students complete an international experience in their language and region of the world.
  • 100% of students complete one (or more) internship experiences.
  • Exclusive English language track for international students.

Global Understanding

  • Students gain a global understanding of business practices and specialized business expertise in a selected area of the world.
  • Achieve the global competence to compete in an international business marketplace.
  • Gain cross-cultural awareness and sensitivity gained through a semester study abroad or international internship.
  • Global Business Project linking the abroad to career experience before, during, and after one’s abroad experience.

Community On and Off Campus

  • Opportunities to be involved or become a leader through business student organizations, case competitions and professional networking.
  • Dedicated advisors offering students personalized academic, study abroad, internship and career advising.
  • Extensive Alumni network and opportunity to connect through our mentor program.

Learn more about why you should choose our program


Program Learning Goals and Assessment Methods

The International Business major is designed to prepare its graduates to succeed in the emerging global marketplace. To this end, the program identifies goals that correlate to each of the three distinct areas identified in its mission statement.

Goal 1. Essential & Specialized Business Knowledge – Demonstrate an understanding of the major functional areas of business including international business concepts and trends and an ability to internationalize domestically developed business methods and practices.

DLO 1.1: Describe basic concepts in each major functional area of business.

DLO 1.2: Apply techniques and theories from various areas of business, to business situations.

Assessment Method: Essential Business Knowledge Assessment Test (EBKAT) administered to students in sections of BA 405, the College of Business collegewide capstone course (required course for IB majors).

DLO 1.3: Identify and describe the impact of the global economy on business decisions.

DLO 1.4: Assess domestic business methods and practices and illustrate how they can be applied to international situations.

Assessment Methods: All students must submit a reflection paper from their internship, IB 495 which will be rated by two raters using a scoring rubric.

Goal 2. Ethical Reasoning— Distinguish and analyze ethical problems that occur in business and society, and choose and defend ethical solutions.

DLO 2.1: Explain the various ethical dimensions of business decision making.
DLO 2.2:
Explain the role of various affected parties in business decision making.

Assessment Method: Embedded questions on a comprehensive final exam in BA 300 (Ethical Decision Making in Business) that have been mapped to the four DLOs.

Goal 3. Global and Cross-cultural Competency – Develop an appreciation of the history, culture, and business practices and protocols of an appropriate world region.

DLO 3.1: Assess the cultural differences inherent in doing business in foreign countries.

Assessment Method: Written assignment required for IB 498, which will be rating using a scoring rubric.

Goal 4. Effective Communication - Communicate effectively in both writing and orally and acquire appropriate second language proficiency.

DLO 4.1: Write coherent, organized and grammatically correct papers and correspondence.

Assessment Method: Scores on the University Writing Placement Assessment.

DLO 4.2: Make effective oral presentations that are organized, persuasive, and engaging.

Assessment Method: Oral Presentations in BA 405, rated using officially adopted CBA Oral Communication Skills rubric which had been distributed to students.

DLO 4.3: Speak, listen, read, and/or write at a baseline of the intermediate mid proficiency level or higher according to the proficiency guidelines of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign languages.

Assessment Method: All students must submit a paper/blog for the Global Business Project. Student will submit a paper/blog in the foreign language to be rated by a language expert using a rubric.

Assessment Timeline

1 1.1, 1.2 Spring 2015 Spring 2017
  1.3, 1.4 TBD - IB Dept TBD - IB Dept
2 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4 Fall 2014 Fall 2016
3 3.1 Spring 2017 Spring 2019
4 4.1 Fall 2014 Fall 2016
  4.2 Fall 2017 Fall 2019
  4.3 Spring 2018 Spring 2020

5 Year Assessment Timeline (Fall 2017 to Spring 2022)

DLO F17 S18 F18 S19 F19 S20 F20 S21 F21 S22
1.1, 1.2       X       X    
1.3, 1.4       X     X      
2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4     X       X      
3.1       X       X    
4.1     X       X      
4.2 X       X       X  
4.3   X       X       X

Curriculum Map

View the Curriculum Map (Revised October 2018)