Innovation Motivation


From Bangladesh to England to the United States, Shahnaz Abdullah, Ph.D., has studied and taught business and economics all over the world. Those experiences, she said, help her to better understand her students.

"The most important thing a business student should know is that they should be ready for the real life after graduation," she explained. "Good grades will not be enough if they do not know how to put their knowledge to work."

The newest assistant professor in MCLA's Department of Business Administration and Economics, Abdullah said this country's business education system puts more emphasis on applied business than anywhere else in the world.

"In other countries the students learn more theoretical concepts. In my opinion, business education should have a right combination of theories and application. However, I believe the approach of applied business education is very cutting edge. It helps the students to be more successful in life, regardless if they work somewhere else or start their own business," she said.

It was her keen interest in innovative ideas that led Abdullah to study business and economics since high school. As an undergraduate at Dhaka University in Bangladesh, she found that very few women studied finance and economics, which motivated her to focus on those fields. Today, she is a specialist in financial economics, development economics and microeconomics.

Business administration, Abdullah said, is very much an applied field.

"We are dealing with stock and bond markets where the index is changing everyday, which is altering the financial market. Volatility in financial market influences the business cycle in the economy and also the nation's Gross Domestic Product (GDP)," she said. "Financial markets around the world are interconnected, and that is why a recession in the U.S. affects Europe as well as other countries, and vice versa."

Abdullah believes China and India are growing the most rapidly, due in part to their education systems, which encourage students to excel in math and science.

"But if we look at the most innovative ideas in business, who can compete with U.S. students? We cannot imagine our lives without the Apple iPhone, Microsoft Office and Google search engine," Abdullah pointed out. "Innovation and ideas are very important for a country to grow, and we should help our students to generate their ideas and give them more motivation to express and share their ideas."

This semester, she's teaching courses in math methods, microeconomics, financial markets and a Professional MBA course in economic theory.

In addition to building their leadership abilities, Abdullah is involving her students in an examination of women who serve as CEOs in Fortune 500 companies.

"They will learn how share price is connected with company management, especially with CEOs, and why big companies are ready to spend so much money on CEOs and a board, and why a share market can be a cause for recession," she said.

The most important thing Abdullah wants her students to learn from her is, "If a woman from Bangladesh can earn a Ph.D. and can become their professor, they can do even better living in the United States. They can also learn that innovation and ideas have no boundary." And, "if they want to be successful in life, they have to work hard."