It’s been an impressive few years for “Poets&Quants Go-Getter” and recent alumnus, Nijat Behbudov (MBA/MIS ’21). Unlike many students, his journey to Mervis Hall did not begin in Western Pennsylvania.
Behbudov earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting and finance at Azerbaijan State Economic University in his hometown of Baku, Azerbaijan. After graduation, he worked as an assistant brand manager at Procter & Gamble Azerbaijan, but knew he wanted more.
He started researching master’s degree programs all over the world and found the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business in a U.S. News & World Report rankings article covering the top 50 business schools. From there, he dove deeper into the Katz faculty and staff by watching interviews, reading academic articles, and researching academic backgrounds—particularly of Professor Prakash Mirchandani and Dean Arjang Assad.
“During one of Dean Assad’s interviews, he constantly emphasized the importance of
experience-based learning opportunities,” says Behbudov. “This was one of the main reasons I chose to come to Katz.”
“During one of Dean Assad’s interviews, he constantly emphasized the importance of experience-based learning opportunities,” says Behbudov. “This was one of the main reasons I chose to come to Katz.”
TAKING THE LEAP
“When I was in Baku, I found the only Azerbaijani Katz alum in my hometown—a 2002 graduate,” says Behbudov. “He invited me to his house and talked about his amazing Pittsburgh memories and how strong Katz curriculum was even 20 years ago.”
From there, Behbudov was ready to make the transition to Pittsburgh and jump into all that Katz had to offer.
While he notes his first semester was no walk in the park, he quickly “found his groove within the MBA student life” and was able to network professionally and meet new friends. He was even named one of Poets&Quants’ Go-Getters for the Class of 2021—a feature that highlights some of the most competitive MBA students from more than 30 of the leading business schools in the world.
After wrapping up his first semester, Behbudov began his internship search process. As most Katz students and alumni can relate, this was a stressful time—with or without a global pandemic.
After expressing his interest in product management, cloud computing, and the video game industry, Behbudov completed four successful interviews and landed his dream internship with Electronic Arts (EA). He spent three months as a full-time product management intern in their analytics suite and transitioned to a part-time role in their game creation department during his final year at Katz.
“This experience has been incredible,” says Behbudov. “I’m part of a team that works on technology that enables EA studios to create video games. And although I have never met my team in person, my manager is a great mentor, educator, and friend.”
After graduation in May 2021, Behbudov joined the EA team full-time as a product manager in the San Francisco Bay area.
His advice to current and prospective students is that “no one, other than you, is responsible for your decisions and for where you are at right now. Actively engage in the community, in the classroom, and in your professional circle.”