In this interview, we had the privilege of sitting down with Dr. Syed Zaidi, an inspiring Professor of Accounting at Louisiana State University Shreveport! Dr. Zaidi's expertise in Cost and Managerial Accounting and his unwavering dedication to empowering students for success sets him apart as an inspiring educator.
What is one thing that a student taught you?
There are many, but the biggest life lesson I learned from one of my students is to never give up no matter what. One of my students showed up in class after her father passed away a day before the class. She was sad and disturbed in class, so after the class ended, I asked her if all was well. She mentioned that her father passed away last night. I said, “I am sorry to hear that, but you did not have to come to the class today. You could have just emailed me. We don’t have any exam or quiz scheduled either.” She said, “my dad wanted me to study, so I come here for him.” That was extremely motivational thing for me because I could not have done this.
What is one industry book that a newcomer must read?
There are various areas in Accounting that students can explore. Various books have been written as well. However, I would like everyone to read one non-industry related book that will help them make better and more informed decisions in their lives whether they are related to work, school, or their daily lives. The book is entitled “Quit: The Power of Knowing When to Walk Away” by Annie Duke. It is definitely one of the finest books I have ever read.
What drives you to give back?
The struggles I have faced in my life during my student life is the driving factor for me to give back. I want my students to establish themselves early on so they can build a better future for themselves and for their families.
Share one teaching strategy that worked.
In group projects, there is always someone who either does not participate or provides minimal participation. Therefore, I created a rubric for students to grade their teammates. The rubric was not shared with other teammates, so students were honest about others. After receiving their graded assignment back and seeing different grades for the same assignment compared to the other group members, their work ethics completely changed, and they started to participate in the projects.
Share your last mentorship experience.
I love mentoring students and guiding them to the right path based on their capabilities. My last successful mentorship led one of my students to the Accounting PhD program at LSU-Baton Rouge. She is in the job market now and hopefully will be starting her first tenure track position in the fall of 2024. In addition, one student of mine has already finished his PhD and another one is starting her 4th year at Texas Tech’s Accounting PhD program.
1000 Spotlights: Why We Give reflects our mission of giving back, to mentor and to inspire those around us. Through a series of interview questions, we explore intrinsic motivations behind why we give, and talk with those inclined to make a difference in the lives of others. If you are involved in charitable activities, volunteer and paid academic engagements or in community service, we want to talk to you.
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