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Fulbright Scholar Focuses on Research

Aminath Zumra, a Fulbright Scholar from Maldives, had no misgivings when it was time to select a university for her graduate work: St. John’s was at the top of her list.  

“When I was awarded the Fulbright scholarship, I was given a choice to suggest a university I would like to attend,” she explained. “Being an international student, and one who has to attend seminars and workshops overseas, it was important to me that the degree I get is accredited, both in the US and internationally. St. John's University has double accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business – International (AACSB) and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), which made this a very easy choice.”

Zumra earned her undergraduate degree in business management with a focus on strategic management and marketing at Macquarie University in Australia. Currently on a study leave, she is working toward her master of science degree in accounting in The Peter J. Tobin College of Business at St. John’s.

“To do my job well, it is important that I have a very solid understanding of accounting and auditing, in addition to my tax knowledge,” she said. “That is is why I chose to pursue a master’s degree in accounting.”

Back home in Maldives, Zumra works for the country’s tax authority, where five years ago she aided in implementing their tax system. Her goal is to participate in research at St. John’s, with a focus on international tax law in the context of new tax systems, to provide the necessary foundation to draw upon when she returns to her job in Maldives. There is much that still needs to be developed with the country’s tax system, including double tax treaties with other nations. Zumra has acquired a significant interest in this area, and she intends to pursue further studies in principles of tax treaties and international tax laws. She is planning to earn another master’s degree, this time in the legal field.

“There is a lot that needs to be done in terms of building effective tax mechanisms, educating the public, instilling good accounting practices in business, and formulating standards for local auditors to follow,” she explained. “It is my intention to work on developing the fledgling tax system of Maldives in terms of training auditors and educating the public. I will also be involved with the drafting of the personal income tax bill of Maldives, providing the tax expertise to assist my legal counterparts.”

Zumra sees her Fulbright scholarship as an opportunity to meet intelligent people from different fields and build her network of connections. According to Zumra, the majority of students from Maldives choose to pursue higher learning in the UK or Australia due to the similarities of their tax and legal system. However, she sees this as a missed opportunity to learn the best practices implemented here in the US.

She seeks to gain a new perspective and share it with her peers. “My hope is to take the knowledge, skills, and connections from this opportunity and utilize them during the course of my work in Maldives,” she said. “I have gained a lot of knowledge from my studies at St. John's University, not just through my courses, but also from my professors. I have made connections with people who are currently working in areas where I want to be involved, and I am sure that they will continue to be a great source of information and advice.”