Albers School of Business and Economics

Graduate Programs Blog Post

  • Independent study has enhanced my MBA program experience!

    Dear fellows, did you know that you have the option to do one independent study as one of your electives for your graduate program at Albers?  This quarter I had an opportunity to do an independent study under the guidance from one of our Albers management professor, Rubina Mahsud, who teaches Strategy, Strategic Leadership, and Global Business Integrated.  In my opinion, if you choose to do an independent study in one specific area, you at least should understand why you want to do it and what you want to get out of the study.  Everything is about passion.  For example, my passion and career goals lean toward retail business development, so I decided to study a big U.S. retailer and its future expansion in China.  I also looked into how this retailer can succeed in such a multi-layer retail environment in China.  What kind of strategy should this retailer implement in order to compete well?  First, I sat down with Rubina and tried to come up with different ideas.  In the meantime, I scheduled many phone and face to face interviews with different leaders in different industries.  Once I got this feedback, I organized them and shared with my professor, and then she helped me narrow down to a more specific topic so that I could get better insight into the Chinese retail market.  This back and forth collaboration with my professor was very helpful.  Interviews have played a big role on my study because they allowed me to interact with so many business leaders with questions and answers. 

    Another interesting thing that I learned is how I can turn a concept of learning into something that will be very practical and useful in my career future. 

    Last, I really encourage you to take advantages of the independent study and develop a deep understanding in certain industries that you are passionate about. 

     By (Derek) Huiqiang Zhao, Email:  


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