When Sheel Patel and Paul Avoaka left their homelands in India and the Ivory Coast, respectively, to pursue their bachelor’s degrees in management information systems (MIS) at IU South Bend’s Judd Leighton School of Business and Economics, they were not thinking about publishing research. With the encouragement and direction of Assistant Professor of Decision Sciences Mohammad Merhi, both students’ papers were accepted for publication in the spring 2016 issue of the IU South Bend Undergraduate Research Journal.
Expanding on a project from a previous class, Patel investigated the critical success factors in implementing a cloud-based Electronic Health Record system. Aware that Patel had some expertise in cloud computing, Dr. Merhi suggested Patel research combining cloud computing with Electronic Health Record systems because there has been little research in the area. “I wasn’t sure I could do it,” he said. “Dr. Merhi really pushed me to present something that was unique and new.
After some research guidance from Dr. Merhi and several rough drafts, Patel was able to accomplish his goal. “I learned a lot about healthcare in the U.S.,” he said. “And it taught me how I needed to present research to my audience.”
To earn honors credit for his M.I.S. class with Dr. Merhi, Avoaka researched the cultural and technological factors impacting mobile banking adoption in the Ivory Coast. “Dr. Merhi helped me narrow the topic and pursue a research path that would help me and my country in the future,” said Avoaka. “Dr. Merhi and I worked closely to make an innovative research.”
“Both students published groundbreaking research,” said Dr. Merhi. “Working with undergraduates on research expands their understanding of the topic and opens their eyes to the value and rigor of academic research. As they find success, their confidence in their academic abilities grows, too.”
After Patel’s graduation in August, he plans to work in a local data center for a few years, and then pursue a graduate degree. He’s grateful his experience at the Leighton School has prepared him well for graduate school. “My research with Dr. Merhi will be helpful when I apply to graduate schools,” he commented. “It’s been an eye-opening experience.”
Likewise, Avoaka hopes to work a few years after his graduation in December 2016. Ultimately, he too would like to go to graduate school, and eventually return to the Ivory Coast, where he can have a positive impact on his country.