Rustam Zufarov

Rustam ZufarovWhat was your program of study at Riverland?  When did you attend?

I attended Riverland during 2006-2007 Academic year on a scholarship from the US Department of State exchange program. I returned to Riverland for Spring and Fall 2008 semesters and took general education courses before transferring to Minnesota State University, Mankato in January 2009.

What is your career/job now?

I earned BS in Accounting and Master of Accounting degrees from Minnesota State University, Mankato and worked in public accounting in Minneapolis for two years. In 2015 I started working on my doctoral degree in Accounting at Rice University. I successfully defended my dissertation and graduated in 2020. I accepted an offer from the University of Illinois at Chicago and will be joining their business school as an assistant professor of accounting in August 2020.  

How did the program help you prepare for the career you are in now?

I benefited from small class sizes and personal attention from professors at Riverland. Being non-native speaker who just arrived to the United States, it was challenging to take college level classes. However, professors were supportive in all possible ways. For instance, Freshman English professor, Richard Nicolai, did not refrain from spending extra time with students after the classes. He was always willing to give tips on my writing style, challenges I face, and areas I need to improve.

What were some of the positive outcomes of attending Riverland?

Attending Riverland gave me an opportunity to improve my public speaking and leadership skills. I have had ample of opportunities to speak on various topics in front of the class in my Business Communication (Jill Holmes) and Fundamental of Speech (Heidi Schara) classes. I also got a chance to serve as president of the International Student Club under the advisement of Melodee Morem and as president of the Student Senate under the advisement of Gary Schindler and Melissa Siebke.

What would you tell others who may be considering Riverland for their education?

You can tie all my achievements and success stories to the first two years I spent in the United States, at Riverland. My childhood dream of visiting Chicago came true when I became an exchange student at Riverland. My professional dreams came true when I received an offer to join Deloitte as an auditor and University of Illinois at Chicago as an assistant professor of accounting. Although I was skeptical at first, I also fulfilled the popular Riverland adage, “Your dreams are closer than you think.”

Was there a faculty and staff person who made an impact on you while you were at Riverland?

Melodee Morem, Danielle Heiny, Jill Holmes, Kim Hansen, Gary Schindler.