Accounting grad from Azerbaijan branches out, finds success at Binghamton University
Laman Mirzaliyeva moved to the United States when she was only 16 to study at Binghamton
Laman Mirzaliyeva not only moved nearly 6,000 miles away from her home country of Azerbaijan to study at Binghamton University by herself — she did so when she was only 16.
“It was something that I really wanted to do,” she said. “My parents were very understanding, and I’m very grateful for that.”
Coming from a family of medical professionals, Mirzaliyeva originally thought she’d become a doctor. But after participating in several events organized by the European Youth Parliament, a non-profit organization that encourages students to learn more about civic life, that began to change.
“They’d give us real-world situations, often business-related, that real European countries were facing. And we’d work with students from different high schools to help solve those issues and propose recommendations,” she said. “That experience of pitching and advocating for my ideas and beliefs, as well as the teamwork and leadership opportunities that came with it, made me realize that business might be the right field for me.”
“I liked the fact that students have direct access to the Nature Preserve. That’s something I care a lot about because I like to be outside,” she said.
Despite graduating from high school at only 16, Mirzaliyeva said she wasn’t as nervous about moving so far away from home as one would expect.
“I consider myself to be a pretty adaptable person and was looking forward to meeting new people and experiencing a new culture. It wasn’t the easiest at first because of language barriers and time zone differences, but I was able to adapt and feel very comfortable in Binghamton,” she said.
One thing that helped her get acclimated was getting involved with the many opportunities the School of Management (SOM) provides to its students.
“SOM held its career week early in the school year, and I was surprised to see how many alumni had come back to stay involved with the school. Here I was, a 16-year-old student from Azerbaijan, talking to people who had been working in industry for years,” she said. “It sparked my interest in getting more involved with the school, taking on leadership roles and giving back in the future.”
A member of many SOM student organizations, Mirzaliyeva said it was her involvement with the Dean’s Mentoring Program and the Management Consulting Group that stood out to her the most. Over the course of her time at Binghamton, she worked her way up to leadership roles in both organizations, giving her the opportunity to mentor new SOM students.
“I think people sometimes forget that you not only learn and grow as a mentee, but as a mentor as well. So being in this role has been an amazing experience,” she said. “SOM has such a supportive environment, and it makes me so happy that I decided to come here.”
One piece of advice she often gives her mentees: don’t be afraid to network.
“A lot of what I learned about business, I learned through networking and talking to professionals and my professors. Start networking and building your network early,” she said.
Through her SOM classes and experiences, Mirzaliyeva settled on majoring in accounting with a concentration in management information systems due to her interest in the tech side of business. But a desire to branch out also led her to take on a minor in education.
And while she has a job lined up with Deloitte’s audit and assurance analytics group in New York City after graduation, Mirzaliyeva said the education minor has given her long-term aspirations of eventually becoming a teacher.
“It’s one of the best decisions I’ve made here, and I’ve learned so much in my education classes. Binghamton offers so many opportunities, so I always recommend that students try something different while they are here,” she said.
Mirzaliyeva’s achievements resulted in her being named one of SOM’s Seniors of the Year and featured on the Poets & Quants list of the Best and Brightest Business Majors of 2023. Despite the many accomplishments, Mirzaliyeva said that she’s been reflecting on the relationships she’s forged and strengthened during her time at Binghamton as graduation approaches.
“It’s so easy to approach people and talk to them here. I will miss all my mentees and professors and friends here, and I’m sad about leaving the collaborative environment,” she said.
“But I know for a fact that I will be coming back to Binghamton.”