How an engineering professor switched her focus to marketing

Dr. Simona Stan is now an associate professor of marketing and management at the University of Montana's School of Business Administration. She was profiled today in an online article in the Montana Kaimin.

Dr. Stan grew up in Sibiu, Romania, earning an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering at the Lucian Blaga University in 1988.

Then the revolution happened.

"It was three days of chaos," Dr. Stan recalls. "There were shootings all over the place. It was crazy."

Afterward, while she was employed teaching engineering at a local university, some people from the University of Missouri arrived in Romania to offer guidance on the transition from communism to a free market economy.

They spotted young professors who were eager to learn about business, and Stan had the chance to take a ten week seminar which exposed her to marketing.

It was "like something where you finally open your mind and see the world in a whole different way," Stan remembers.

She accepted an invitation to study at the University of Missouri, then stayed on to pursue her doctorate in marketing.

From Missouri she moved to a teaching position at the University of Oregon, and then to her present post at the University of Montana.

Last summer Stan took her students to Romania for a two-week "study abroad" at the University of Sibiu, and she will take another student group this summer.

The students from Montana divided their time between university classes and a personalized internship with a local company in Sibiu, which Professor Stan was able to arrange through her personal connections with the firms in her hometown.

Some of the students' comments about their multicultural management experience are posted on UM's website, with details about the costs, credits, daily schedule and enrollment deadlines for the upcoming summer 2015 study abroad in Romania (June 28 - July 12).

"I am still on cloud nine over the international experience in Romania! ... We did so much within our limited time frame, I truly feel like not a single moment was wasted."

Based upon the enthusiasm of last summer's student participants, it appears that the relationship between Dr. Stan's alma mater in Sibiu and the University of Montana's business school will become an enduring one.

19 MAR 2015