Experiential learning meets impactful research: Commerce 4SY3

March 2, 2021 |
Contributed by Max Adams, Communications Intern

Independent study

The DeGroote School of Business puts an unfathomable amount of effort into promoting experiential education, most notably in the classes students take. Taking the magnitude of experiential learning to a whole new level is the course Commerce 4SY3: Independent Study Project in Business. I assume you’ve never heard of this course – or have any idea what it entails. I say that because I was in this exact position. Why should anyone take this course? – Bilal Khan

Research from the ground up

Bilal Khan started looking into elective courses when he wanted to learn more about a sub-topic of information systems: management information systems interoperability. He was interested in this topic because it is problem-driven with almost “too many” solutions. Khan enjoyed working on research projects in his other classes. He looked at courses that incorporated this topic, but there wasn’t a single course that entirely fulfilled his subject interest. When he started looking into the idea of an independent study, he had no idea what he was getting into.

Khan decided to apply to the course, working with Dr. Maryam Ghasemaghaei as his supervisor. What followed was probably one of the best experiences he has had at DeGroote. Khan worked with Dr. Ghasemaghaei to set up a literature review study to investigate advances in his topic of interest. He wrote a research paper from the ground up. Specifically, Khan learned about various research paper components, research methods, and how to perfect his citations.

Taking this course allows you to work with faculty at Canada’s most research-intensive University and make real-world research contributions as an undergraduate student.
Bilal and Maryam

Dr. Maryam Ghasemaghaei and Bilal Khan

Independent study leads to real-world understanding

Taking an independent study credit is valuable for students because having research experience shows employers that they have a range of transferable job skills. The skills Khan developed working on his project included written communication, data analysis, organization, and adaptability. Furthermore, learning more about a business function a student is interested in can also help guide their career interests. It can even give students a head start on a real-world understanding when studying their topic of choice.

Although every student’s experience will be unique, the end results will share one element: Impact.

Real-world experience

Suppose a student is looking for a course that builds on their real-world experience and improves their research skills. Although every student’s experience will be unique, the end results will share one element: impact. Khan would recommend this course to any student looking to investigate a management topic of their interest in depth.

By conducting research on a specific topic of interest, students can explore their career directions, enhance their resumes, and contribute to the world.
Bilal Khan Headshot

Bilal Khan

Student, BCom Level IV

Bilal is a motivated fourth-year Commerce student at McMaster University who is always looking to seize any opportunity that comes his way. He has learned significant workplace-level skills as an intern at IKEA in Accounting and Operations Management. He has developed considerable leadership skills through being a Teaching Assistant at McMaster University. Bilal appreciates being able to share his own personal experiences with those around him. Outside of school, Bilal enjoys exploring the wilderness and participating in adventure running activities. In the future, he hopes to further his education as he believes that one genuinely never stops learning!

Explore career directions

Dr. Maryam Ghasemaghaei believes that there are numerous benefits for students to take an independent study course. It allows students to gain real-life experience by going through different steps of conducting research. This course enables students to develop their communication skills, learn to work independently, and increases self-confidence. They emerge as leaders in various professions after graduation. Students also learn problem-solving skills and critical thinking that translate to areas beyond the classroom. By conducting research on a specific topic of interest, students can explore their career directions, enhance their resumes, and transform the world.

Maryam Ghasemaghaei

Dr. Maryam Ghasemaghaei

Assistant Professor

Maryam Ghasemaghaei is an Assistant Professor of Information Systems. Her research falls in the area of effective data analytics use in organizations. She is also interested in the area of information technology adoption, with a particular focus on human-computer interaction. Her multidisciplinary education in marketing, industrial management and information systems, allows her to bring a diversified perspective to her research and teaching.

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