Anna Martin, Ph.D

Making Finance Meaningful: Tobin Professor Applies Theories to Reality

Anna Martin, Ph.D., the Alois J. Theis Endowed Chair and professor of finance at St. John’s University, traces her lifelong fascination with the relationship between business theory and the workplace to an economics course she took in college. “It woke me up,” she said. “I could see the important role finance and economics play in human behavior and decision-making.”

While pursuing her bachelor’s and M.B.A. degrees, Martin worked in sales for IBM. “Ultimately, selling wasn’t for me,” she said. “I recognized that my talents and interests were far better suited to teaching finance in a university, one that supports faculty research.  What I wanted was to explore the impact of business principles on society.”

Martin found that environment at The Peter J. Tobin College of Business, which she joined in 2006. “Dean Shoaf has encouraged me to pursue my research interests and take on leadership roles at top industry associations,” Martin said. “One of the most rewarding parts of teaching here is being able to share the research I’m doing with my students.”  

Since 2009, Martin has run the annual Financial Management Association International Applied Finance Conference, which she co-founded and hosts on St. John’s Manhattan campus. In addition, last year, as program vice president for the Eastern Finance Association (EFA), Martin planned the agenda and selected all speakers for the organization’s four-day spring conference. This year, she is on the ballot for EFA president.

“Dr. Martin’s many publications, as well as her involvement in important conferences, have helped raise the Tobin College’s profile in the world of business education ,” said Victoria L. Shoaf, Ph.D., dean.

Martin grew up in a blue-collar industrial community in Indiana. “Mastering the skills of your trade and gaining self-sufficiency were valued,” she said.”Those skills are similar to what we teach at Tobin. We emphasize the need to develop comfort and familiarity with business and financial tools for future success.” 

Her students appreciate their professor’s accessibility and support. “I was impressed by how Dr. Martin encouraged our questions,” said Raymi Reinoso ’15TCB. “She was so easy to talk to about career-related issues.”  For Tung Hoang ’12TCB, an official with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Vietnam, Martin was “more than my professor. She was also a research partner, a mentor, and a dedicated friend.”

This spring, Martin is offering students in her Seminar in Finance course an opportunity to study in London for a week. ”It’s exciting to have a chance to broaden my students’ understanding of global finance,” she said.  “They’ll also get a chance to meet local executives and see how business is conducted in one or two local firms.”

For Martin, teaching students who are motivated to learn about finance is deeply satisfying. “I want to inspire them to see that the world of finance is endlessly compelling and relevant.”