Ph.D. Student Spotlight: Saman Bina
September 5, 2017 | By: Kaitlin York
Why did you choose to pursue your Ph.D. at the Rawls College?
Rawls College of Business was and is still one of the most well-known and most respected business schools in Texas. Its performance in recent years shows that it is committed to growth. The college is hiring up-and-coming young faculty members to work alongside the college's legendary researchers in their field. The rate of producing knowledge and publishing in A+ journals was higher than many of their peer schools.
What do you like most about the Rawls College Ph.D. program?
I am in the ISQS program. Our program has a unique diversity in terms of research and faculties. The good thing about diversity is that it makes us more powerful in research. Some of our faculties' research areas include big data, e-finance, blockchain, human cognitive behaviors, mobile applications, IT security, NeorIS and e-Health. Aside from the diversity in research areas, our researchers often collaborate in study teams to conduct research, which is admiring.
What research projects have you worked on and why did you choose them?
I am working on three research projects as well as my dissertation.
The first is a project about user-generated contents, which is related to e-business and e-marketing. Today's shift toward e-commerce and knowledge-sharing by customers about their purchasing experiences provides us a great opportunity to dig out large amounts of data available on the internet. Our goal is to find out the main characteristics of an online review that makes it useful and informative.
The second project that I am involved in is an fMRI-based study aimed at figuring out the best way to visualize data. With the advancement of technologies and tools, we can now study brain activity more precisely. This advancement aims to help our understanding of how the brain processes information and eventually determine the most natural way of representing information.
The third project, which I joined in its later stages, is about human errors in information system development projects. Every business is involved in some sort of information systems development. Worldwide, millions of dollars are being invested in the success of these types of projects, and yet have a high rate of failures. Pinpointing the reasons for failure to develop future solutions is highly important.
How has the program been flexible when accommodating to your interests as a researcher?
As I mentioned earlier, our program has a lot of diversity, making it relatively easy to find an interesting research topic. I want to explore many different research areas. I was fortunate to join a department that understood this desire and provided me with numerous opportunities for research. The entire department is so supportive and the environment is friendly.
Have you partnered with a Rawls College faculty member for a research project and, if so, how has that experience been?
The key success factors to any research project are good team work, precise planning, and wise leadership. Although Ph.D. students learn how to conduct research in a Research Methods seminar, due to the uniqueness of each research project, we still need mentorship and a strong leader. As I mentioned earlier, in all of the three projects that I am involved with, I am collaborating as a member of a team, meanwhile taking advantage of learning from the experienced team members. Once I get hands-on experience, I will begin to conduct my own research in the form of the dissertation, with the continued mentorship from my advisor.
How have your interactions been with your peers at the Rawls College and how have those interactions benefited you?
We have friendly environment within the program. Not only are we co-workers in different research groups, but we are also friends outside the school. Graduate student life means non-stop research and hard work. We all have our ups and downs, and we all have moments of despair. Having a supportive group that understands your situation firsthand and can advise you based on their similar experiences is helpful.
How has the Rawls College supported you as a developing researcher and teacher?
The school tries to accommodate us with whatever resources we need to become a good researcher and a good teacher and, ultimately, to become competitive in the job market. So far, the school supported me financially to travel to different conferences which were so helpful in exchanging ideas and learning more from other researchers around the world. The school offered me different new courses to teach every year to improve my teaching portfolio and gain more experience.