Sung Ahn Brings New Possibilities to Carson College International Programs

By Sue McMurray

Sung Ahn, professor of finance and management science, is the newly appointed associate dean of the Carson College’s international programs.

“What excites me most about my new role is developing opportunities to help our students and faculty be exposed to and engaged in the global environment, understand diversity and differences, and be prepared for the globally interdependent business world,” says Ahn.

Ahn’s leadership will build on the work of Assistant Dean Jessica Cassleman and David Sprott, former associate dean for faculty, research, and international programs. The college’s international programs include 20 partnerships with universities in 12 countries and 21 available reciprocal exchange programs open to all WSU students—7 as a direct result of Carson College collaboration.

“We have maintained our impressive number 15 ranking for best undergraduate international programs by U.S. News and World Report in 2019, and we envision having a presence on every continent,” says Ahn. “Additionally, participation in our semester-long program is higher than ever, as are our third party partner exchange programs open to all WSU students.”

One opportunity leads to multitudes

Ahn has been an important liaison to South Korea on behalf of the University’s International Programs (IP) office since the early 1990s. IP noticed his efforts to secure opportunities for joint research projects with scholars in Korea and asked him to carry the office’s agenda when traveling overseas, he says. As a result, Ahn was able to establish exchange programs with universities in Korea. Recently, Korea University and Sungkyunkwan University brought Korean students to WSU to study business, and Carson students went there for summer study abroad programs.

“This venture led to new teaching, research, and consulting opportunities in other countries,” he says.

Ahn served as a Fulbright senior specialist from 2002 to 2006 and as a Fernand Braudel Senior Fellow of the European University Institute in Florence, Italy, for four months in 2011. He also served as president of the Korean Statisticians in America for two terms (1993 to 1995, 1998 to 2000) and was elected in 2009 as a fellow of the American Statistical Association in recognition of his research and international teaching.

Ahn’s scholarly activities take him all over the world. In May, he will visit Kazakhstan. He and Cassleman recently received a $20,000 grant from the American Councils for International Education to develop partnerships with Kazakhstan universities that will lead to stronger research programs and better preparation of business students and professionals for today’s globally competitive environment.

This exciting opportunity puts the CCB in the forefront of increasing WSU’s presence and impact in the central Asia region, Ahn says.

Increasing the Carson College’s international footprint

Ahn is focused on growing the college’s reputation and presence on a regional, national, and global scale. His goals for the program include:

  1. Students seeking a business education in the Pacific Northwest pick WSU as their first choice because of Carson College international programs.
  2. Increase U.S. News & World Report ranking from currently 15th to among the top 10 best undergraduate international business programs nationally.
  3. Increase the participation rate in study abroad by 50 percent.
  4. Expand faculty-led programs to 10 or more and have at least one program per continent.

Ahn’s vision to increase the University’s reputation and international collaboration serves as an integral building block of the WSU Drive to Twenty Five initiative, through which the University strives to achieve a ranking among the nation’s top 25 public research universities by 2030.

Ways to support Carson international business programs

In order to meet his goals for the college’s international programs, Ahn says first and foremost, more scholarship support is needed.

“We need more scholarships, in numbers, and amounts, in order to make study abroad opportunities more affordable, and more importantly, accessible to students who cannot afford to participate without financial aid, especially those who are underprivileged or first generation,” he says.

Secondly, he would like to have Carson College National Board of Advisors members, Carson donors, or Carson alumni travel abroad with a faculty-led program, if even for just a few days or weeks, to mentor and bond with students.

“Sharing an international experience with someone who is invested in the Carson College will make students’ study abroad programs truly a learning experience of a lifetime,” he says.

To learn more about how you can invest in Carson College international business programs,
contact Jeff Pilcher, director of development, at 509-335-8906 or