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In Utah, Gabelli research gets a national audience

Event Recaps Stories | Apr 19, 2012 |

An NCUR banner hangs on the clock tower at Weber State University during the research conference.

by Daniel Keyes (GSB ’12)

There is a common perception among business students that undergraduate research is the purview of science majors, with little relevance to the study of business. Not so. Business research allows students to expand their knowledge of career-relevant topics, contribute findings that have meaning in the real world, and generate a unique, appealing addition to their applications for internships and jobs.

It also can garner students national attention. On the weekend of March 29, eight Gabelli students traveled to Weber State University in Ogden, Utah, where they had been selected to present papers at the National Conference of Undergraduate Research, a premier event for showcasing independent studies. Seniors Caitlin Byrnes, Chelsea Carges, Jessica Castano, Matthew Collins, Delaney Leighton, Bryan Matis, Sean Pinckney and Yujin Ye were Gabelli’s representatives this year — a four-fold increase over our presence at NCUR last year. With topics ranging from finance to economics to marketing, the Gabelli presentations displayed the business school’s growing emphasis on undergraduate research.

Jessica Castano (GSB ’12) and Caitlin Byrnes (GSB ’12), both of whom will graduate with marketing degrees and pursue careers in the field, studied how consumers’ self-perceptions affected their purchasing patterns and their attention to product detail. “Our research definitely provided us with invaluable insights into the motivations of consumers — knowledge that will be extremely helpful going forward in the field of marketing,” Caitlin said.

The view from the National Conference of Undergraduate Research in Utah, held the last weekend in March.

Personal interest is a major motivator for students who pursue undergraduate research. Sean Pinckney (GSB ’12), who presented his findings on the economic and regulatory factors influencing corporate fraud, viewed his study as a way to dig deeper into an area about which he was curious. “I arrived on my topic due to a genuine fascination with the Bernie Madoff fraud and the impact it had on so many people,” Sean explained. “Madoff claimed the only reason he was ever caught was the economic downturn of 2008, so I wanted to see if this was another lie cooked up by the ultimate scam artist.”

Sean’s research showed that the presence (or lack) of financial-industry regulation was the biggest predictor of both the incidence and reporting of fraud in the United States since 1984. His conclusion could provide support for future regulations that target fraud, proving that undergraduate research can yield useful lessons for the real world.

Chelsea Carges (GSB ’12) and Delaney Leighton (GSB ’12) discovered that Socially Responsible Investment funds outperformed the S&P 500 and a peer group of control mutual funds over the past five- and three-year periods while offering a lower risk level. Research like theirs might offer empirical support to management teams considering corporate social responsibility programs and trying to justify that path to a board of directors.

The Gabelli students reflected positively on their NCUR experience. The conference put them into the same space as scores of students whose research represented the arts, humanities and sciences, in addition to business.

“The conference was a great opportunity to share our research with others while learning more about a wide variety of subjects,” Delaney said. Chelsea added that she “would love to see more students from Fordham going in the future, as the business world was definitely under-represented.” Chances are she will get her wish, as Gabelli’s research programs continue to grow.

If you’re interested in hearing more about the research cited in this article, as well as many other topics, feel free to attend the first Gabelli Undergraduate Business Research Conference tomorrow from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Rose Hill Commons in the McGinley Center. Come by even for a half-hour and see one or two students present. Our researchers could use your support!

Click here to register for free.


Photographs courtesy of Bryan Matis (GSB ’12)

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