The 1-MBA program at Lehigh University challenges students with completing 47 credits in eleven months. This leaves little to no time for students to work, other than some students who work five or less hours as Research Assistant (RA). At the same time, many 1-MBA students are using their out of classroom time to explore their passions and interests. One student reserves time in a music room in the Zoellner Center for the Arts to play her favorite musical instrument, two other students with military service backgrounds volunteer with the ROTC program on campus, while others engage in community events on and off campus. Shokirbek Marimov has a different approach. He spends his spare time working on his co-owned app on the Apple App Store called Cashable. The application was created as a gift card exchange to create a marketplace to buy gift cards at a discount and also sell unwanted gift cards (making this a timely post with the winter holidays approaching). The app also has a digital wallet component where users can store their rewards and loyalty cards in the app.
A native of Uzbekistan, Shokirbek has always been an entrepreneur at heart, launching his first entrepreneurial project immediately after the completion of his bachelor’s degree. Shokirbek previously visited Lehigh University as part of the Lehigh’s Global Village experience in 2017, an intensive immersive program where students work on cross-cultural teams for clients. The Cashable app currently has over 3,000 users and is growing daily. While he views this more as a passion project currently due to time constraints with the 1-MBA program, he has already made changes to the business with what he has learned in his 1-MBA program. “The course MBA 455 Marketing taught me how to avoid being myopic and instead discover the untapped business opportunities with this side project”, says Marimov.
Additionally, students in the 1-MBA program have access to elective courses in Corporate Entrepreneurship, which focuses heavily on taking businesses through the entire venture process, which is a great asset to entrepreneurs interested in the 1-MBA and the venture side of entrepreneurship. The goal of these courses is to learn how an organization can enhance its capabilities to market, organize, execute, integrate, and invest in new ventures. For Shokirbek, his long term goal is to gain professional experience in the internet industry and eventually launch his own payment system for the Uzbekistan market. He is also exploring employment options here in the United States as well. “It is exciting to see when students find their sweet spot of their professional passion and align their MBA experience to build off that passion, says Kevin Ezzell, 1-MBA Program Director. It is clear that Shokirbek is doing this, taking important steps to attain his ultimate professional goal. Happy Holidays and Happy Gift Carding!
Check out the Cashable app here.