Peter Geib initiated and coordinated MSUM’s international business program. He consulted with a Chinese university when it established the first MBA degree in the country. He even began an international faculty exchange.
But what Geib is most proud of after 37 years as a faculty member at MSUM is his work in the classroom.
“I love working with these students,” says the professor emeritus in the Paseka School of Business. “I like to see them get excited about ideas. I like to see them exercise their curiosity. I like to see them grow and develop as young people … as good human beings and fine professionals.”
Geib is the recipient of the 2021 Outstanding Service Award. The award is given annually in recognition of significant time and talent given to MSUM.
In many ways, Geib grew up at MSUM – and he considers it a great honor that he could pursue his professional passions on the campus.
Geib’s great-grandfather Frank Weld was president at MSUM from 1899-1919. Geib’s maternal grandfather, O.J. Hagen, served as the university’s resident director, a community representative.
Even Geib’s father, a psychiatrist, worked as the football team’s doctor. Former President Roland Dille often noted that the team was likely the only one in the country that had a psychiatrist for the team doctor, but it set up one of his favorite lines: “We don’t win all our football games, but we never get depressed.”
Geib never expected to return to MSUM. But after completing post-doctoral study at Yale, he returned home in 1982 to develop an international business program.
At the time, the idea of a global emphasis in business was relatively new. It took nearly two years to develop the major’s curriculum. Once completed, MSUM was one of the first public institutions in the state to establish a program, which later earned accreditation.
Throughout his career, Geib has focused on identifying strategic management navigation lessons in transition economies. These interests have taken him around the world, but primarily to central Europe, China, and southeast Asia.
Geib and his wife, Susan, traveled to China in the late 1980s to establish an exchange program with Tianjin University. Together they formed partnerships and friendships, but they needed to return home early because of Tiananmen Square. Many of the Chinese students they worked with lost their scholarships or needed to leave school for a while as the Chinese government punished student protesters.
“After that, it took a long time to get things back on track,” Geib says.
In 2019, the Geib Global Leadership Scholarship fund was set up to enhance global leadership capabilities among students. The endowed scholarship’s goal is to support mentorships, internships, and funding to enable students to act, collaborate and think globally.
The fund was started with a significant gift from one of Geib’s former students who manages his own wealth management firm. Another contributor was a family friend whom Geib embraced as a surrogate sister. The late Amie Dexter had never heard Geib lecture, but she knew students were drawn to his classroom.
That didn’t surprise her.
“He can relate to anybody,” she said once. “If the president of the United States sat down, he’d chat with him. He’s always been like that.”
Those connections – with students, with faculty, with business leaders and others – have sustained Geib throughout his career.
“It’s been a lot of fun,” he says.