Student Profile: Nargiz Ali Zada

Meet Nargiz Ali Zada, an international student earning her MaineMBA. Find out what drew Nargiz to UMaine from Azerbaijan and why earning an MBA is important to her.

Tell us a little bit about where you are from…

I am from Baku, the capital city of Azerbaijan. Baku is an ancient, beautiful city on the coast of the Caspian Sea. It’s an important center for oil production. There are many historical monuments such as Gobustan, one of the oldest human settlements with more than 6,000 ancient rock carvings bearing testimony to 40,000 years of rock art. There’s also Atashgah Zoroastrian Fire Temple. Baku is a warm, hospitable, and progressive city with a great diversity of different cultures and nationalities.

Where did you earn your undergraduate degree?

I earned two undergraduate degrees in Business Administration majoring in Management in the Oil Industry in Azerbaijani State Oil Academy in 1997 and in Finance and Banking in Khazar University in 1999.

When did you move to Maine? What drew you here?

I moved to Maine in August 2019 to pursue my MBA and advance my career in finance. My close family friends had been living in Maine for 17 years, so because of that, I chose Maine and have not regretted a single day. I love it!

Can you tell me a little bit about your finance job in Azerbaijan? 

I was working as a finance manager for a group of companies. I was in charge of improving the finance function in the companies, and the headquarters, including zero-based budgeting, management financial statements, and cost optimization.

Why did you decide to earn your MBA?

I wanted to learn from high-class executives, gain hands-on knowledge, and advance my career to an executive-level. It has been my dream to earn my MBA in the U.S. for a long time. 

Why did you choose to earn your MBA at the UMaine Graduate School of Business?

My choice was the Graduate School of Business, as it was one of the biggest and highly reputable business schools in Maine and top-ranked in the U.S. It offers lots of practical and hands-on experience for students.

Do you have a favorite class or professor?

I have two favorite classes and professors: all Business Analytics classes by Dr. Tim Lu and Managerial Marketing by Elisa O’Donnell.

What skills have you been learning that you’re looking forward to putting into practice?

Financial modeling and valuation as well as marketing and business analytics skills.

What are your plans after graduation? 

I will be graduating in August 2021. The plan is to find a finance-related job. I’d like to become an executive in a company and start my own business.

What advice would you give other international students who are considering UMaine for their graduate degree program?

Know what you want, make your goals, choose a concentration, and just go for it. The Graduate School of Business has got a lot to offer in terms of the degree and concentrations, as well outside projects, activities, and clubs, such as the CFA Research Challenge and Global Enterprise Experience.