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Bond MBA student wins award at international conference

A 25-year-old MBA student from Bond University has won an award for Best Paper after being selected to present her research at an international conference in Bangkok.

Nikita Shah received a grant from Bond University’s Student Opportunity Funds to help cover the costs of her flights and event registration after her research paper was accepted by the Society for Interdisciplinary Business Research Conference 2014, where her audience included professors, assistant professors and PhD candidates from universities across Asia, Europe, the UK and USA.

“It was quite daunting to stand in front of a room full of professors to present my findings – I don’t think it’s a common occurrence to have students presenting research to professors at these global events!” said Nikita, who is in the final semester of her Masters of Business Administration.

“But I was well prepared and very confident in my material – particularly as I’d been introduced to them as an ‘award-winning author’ – and their feedback was very encouraging.”

Nikita’s research focusses on a Financial Distress Prediction Model for the Australian mining sector that combines statistical analysis and an advanced analytic technique known as Recursive Partitioning.

“The model I have developed can predict the likelihood of a company going bankrupt so it can be used by management as a warning signal, allowing them to identify potential problems and take the measures required to avoid financial distress,” she said.

“It can also be used by investors to get an idea about whether or not to invest in the company they may be considering.”

Other possible applications include the model’s use by government and other funding bodies to get a clearer indication of whether applicant organisations are worthy of their financial support.

“It was this practical application to the real world that motivated me to develop the model,” said Nikita.

“I originally put the concept forward as a presentation for my Analytics class and our lecturer, Dr Kuldeep Kumar, encouraged me to expand it into a full research paper.

“He has been a pillar of motivation and enthusiasm throughout the project, helping me to design its goals, suggesting various industries that it could be applied to and broadening my perspective of the economy to an industrial scale.”

Nikita’s paper has also been accepted by two other major international conferences - the International Conference on Management, Finance and Entrepreneurship, also in Bangkok and the 2014 International Academy of Business and Economics Conference in Verona, Italy – and she is now planning to undertake a joint research paper with her Bond teacher and mentor, Dr Kumar, to apply the model to other industrial sectors.

“It has been exciting to delve into the research arena and I am now planning to steer my career towards financial and business analytics.”


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