Photos: Graduates of the 3-year MBA program who were able to go to Alabama to attend the MBA Graduation Ceremony include (left to right): Narmina Guliyeva (UN), Marina Besantina (Unocal), Samira Mammadova (Societe Generale), Ilham Musayev (BP), Narmina Sadikhova (BP), and Valeria Mustafayeva (UN).
Eight Azerbaijanis recently completed their MBAs through Western University's academic partnership with the College of Business at the University of North Alabama (UNA) and the School of Business at Delta State University (DSU) in Cleveland, Mississippi. Professors from both UNA and DSU traveled to Baku to give lectures at Western University. A three-year USIA institutional grant supported these institutions in curriculum, faculty, staff development and collaborative research and outreach activities.
The eight students who completed the three-year MBA program included: Ilham Musayev (BP), Lala Rezayeva (Eurasia Foundation), Marina Besantina (Unocal Khazar), Narmina Guliyeva (UN), Narmina Sadikhova (BP), Samira Mammadova (Societe Generale), Tassadduq Mukhtar (Pakistan Embassy, Azerbaijan) and Valeria Mustafayeva (UN). On May 18, 2002, seven of the eight MBA graduates had the opportunity to attend graduation ceremonies at the UNA campus in Florence, Alabama.
There are numerous opportunities for Azerbaijani youth to get an education in well-established universities throughout the world but it requires their leaving the country for two-three years, quitting their current jobs and being away from their families. This program enabled students the chance to combine education with professional work while maintaining their family responsibilities in their own country especially during these times of critical economic difficulties.
Since these students work full-time at their respective companies, they had to devote their evenings and weekends to attending classes and preparing for exams. Their courses covered subjects such as economics, accounting, finance, leadership, business ethics and statistics.
Students often commented on the practical application of their studies. During the Soviet period, emphasis was placed on theoretical knowledge which didn't necessarily pan out when it was applied to real life situations.
At the end of the program, each student had to present a capstone MBA project, which had to address a problem or issue in their existing job or a broader problem or issue facing their organization. This encouraged the students to identify areas in which their insight and skill could be used to create value for the organization.