Bauer Business Minds: Research for the Real World

 

Undergraduate Research

Photo: Bauer Undergraduate Researcher

 

“Engaging undergraduate students in the research enterprise to do original research while being mentored by an experienced faculty member is of increasing importance in contemporary higher education. Research shows that undergraduate research can ‘facilitate empowered learning (including communication, problem solving, and teamwork), informed learning (allowing the student to study the natural and cultural world), and responsible learning (permitting the study of social problems and the self)’ (Lopatto, 2006). Our commitment to undergraduate research at Bauer not only gives our students a unique experience to understand the power and value of research in business practice, but also provides them with a competitive edge on the job market.”

– Dr. Vanessa Patrick-Ralhan, Associate Dean for Research, C. T. Bauer College of Business.


Bauer undergraduate students share their experiences and research.

Kota Nagase

Major: Biology
Program: Provost Undergraduate Research Scholarship (PURS)
Faculty Sponsor: Vanessa Patrick-Ralhan, Marketing & Entrepreneurship
Project: How luxury Japanese fashion brands can expand and be successful in the U.S. market.

  • What did you learn?
    I learned a tremendous number of things from my PURS experience. Out of all of them, I think learning about effective research strategies and deepening the understanding for the field of marketing are the most important aspects of my experience.

    Before PURS, I was not familiar with the UH library portal. Once I started to work on my research with my mentor, Professor Patrick, she recommended that I talk to the advisor from UH library to seek help in order to learn about effective research strategies. I talked to the advisor, and he taught me how to effectively navigate through the UH library portal and multiple websites to search for useful resources for my research. My mentor shared many useful articles throughout the semester, which increased the quality of my research.

    I have an enormous interest in fashion marketing even before PURS, but through this research project, my interest towards fashion marketing skyrocketed. Knowing more about fashion marketing made me want to know more about it. I think the articles that my mentor had sent me throughout my research project helped me to keep on track with the latest topic of fashion marketing. Since fashion marketing is an ever changing and developing field, it was interesting for me to research and observe how the marketing has been affecting the field of fashion in many different ways.
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  • How will this help your career?
    The skills and knowledge that I gained from my research project will definitely help me with my future career since I would love to work in the field of fashion. Knowing how to market effectively is a crucial factor in fashion and the experience I got from my research project is a perfect resource for me to succeed in that particular field. My experience in PURS helped me greatly to better understand the customer’s wants and needs, as well as the effective branding activities.

    Since I looked at many famous brands and their branding activities, my understanding for those brands has deepened, which I think is an important factor when it comes to my future career. This knowledge can be utilized for sure when I am applying for jobs from one of the brands that I have researched. I will be able to showcase my insight for those brands and their branding activities.

  • What was the benefit?
    I think learning about effective research strategies was extremely beneficial for me. Since I was not familiar with the UH library portal, and other credible websites that are useful for my research, learning about them and being able to utilize them are one of the most beneficial things that I gained from PURS. In addition, my mentor helped me to join a group that shares a lot about articles regarding fashion marketing and fashion in general on Facebook that she organizes. I can even contribute to this group by making a post about interesting articles that I find on the internet. I love how people are sharing their findings on the group and sharing their knowledge to improve others. Joining this group has considerably benefitted me by allowing me to be exposed to the latest fashion marketing information.

Abby Chopra

Major: Management Information Systems
Program: Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF)
Year: 2020
Faculty Sponsor: Emese Felvegi, Decision & Information Sciences
Project: OER Opinions and Academic Self-Assurance

  • What did you learn?
    Not only have I learned more about OER benefits to students, I have also learned how to develop skills applicable to other areas. For example, I am now better at finding resources relevant to my interests, and I can use tools in Microsoft Teams that I had known about before, like the collaborative notebook. I also learned how to stay organized, be more responsible, build independence, and communicate more effectively.

  • How will this help your career?
    These skills will help me in my career in Supply Chain Management and MIS, because I will need to know how to collaborate with others, analyze information, and be efficient and organized.

  • What was the benefit?
    Working with a faculty mentor has helped me build my confidence in communicating professionally while also being myself, which is very important to me. It has also helped me improve at building connections with the people I work with. Having someone experienced there to help me with any questions I have, as well as suggest good ideas, has made my research go smoother and be stronger.

Yash Raghuwansi

Major: Accounting and Finance
Program: Provost Undergraduate Research Scholarship (PURS)
Year: Fall 2019
Faculty Sponsor: Natalia Piqueira, Finance
Project: Diversity and Firm Performance

  • What did you learn?
    Diversity is a truly tricking thing to tackle and hence doesn’t have a one size fits all solution. While we might all agree that diverse firms in general do perform better, it’s harder to point out specific drivers of such along different firms and sectors. The issue currently surrounding Diversity can best be summed up as this - It’s an a la carte issue that’s currently being dealt with by a buffet approach. That needs to change.

  • How will it help your career?
    Diversity has always been a contentious issue for most people. Through the results of this project, we’re hoping that a lot more people are exposed to positive externalities of it. We’re also hoping that people understand that contrary to popular opinion, that diversity does have a few negative externalities associated with it as well. For instance, our project goes into detail about board level diversity and how culture shapes it.

  • What was the benefit?
    I’ve always been interested in doing research, especially for my blog, but I hadn’t realized how different the experience would be. Working with Professor Piqueira was a truly marvelous experience because not only did I learn how to complete a research project, but also how you should approach it. She constantly pushed me to not worry about the results as much, but to make sure that I was asking the right questions. Less certainty. More inquiry.

Sobia Mohammad

Major: Marketing
Program: Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF)
Year: 2019
Faculty Sponsor: Craig McAndrews, Marketing & Entrepreneurship
Project: Impact of social media platforms on sales and engagement, for Walmart and Target

  • What did you learn?
    How to effectively analyze the retail market space to ultimately create projections and forecasts. Also how the competition can affect the way each company projects its outlooks.

  • How will it help your career?
    At the time I was interning with Target and the research assisted me in better understand and stay up to date with the marketplace. Ultimately helping me understand the retail trend and analyze the store's financial situations within their modernization process to simply learn.

  • What was the benefit?
    Professor McAndrews and I analyzed all of the different financial statements that were publicly released by both retail companies, Walmart and Target. We then plugged the data into a formula sheet that Professor McAndrews helped me construct, in order to translate all of the data into identical and comparable numbers.

Claire Muniga

Major: Marketing
Program: Provost Undergraduate Research Scholarship (PURS)
Year: Fall 2019
Faculty Sponsor: Vanessa Patrick-Ralhan, Marketing & Entrepreneurship
Project: American Preference for European Luxury Goods: How and Why European

  • What did you learn?
    Self-discipline and how to be a better learner by slowing down, absorbing information, and processing it in a clear way.

  • How will it help your career?
    The content of my research helps when I’m tasked with various marketing projects. Specifically for my current job, my research helps me understand how to target audiences when creating content for luxury brands. On a disciplinary level, this project taught me how to use various resources and extract information in a way that can be easily presented to and understood by management. I also gained confidence in reaching out to less familiar people for guidance.

  • What was the benefit?
    I developed my research skills, gained a higher level of knowledge on a previously unfamiliar topic, and developed a strong relationship with faculty in the department of my major.


Nima Nayeri

Major: Accounting
Program: Houston Early Research Experience (HERE)
Year: 2018
Faculty Sponsor: Emese Felvegi, Decision & Information Sciences
Project: NA

  • What did you learn?
    I believe the experience of undergraduate research is so important in developing a well-rounded student, I have been seeking opportunities to grow my skills in research and develop a research portfolio since I started at the University of Houston.

  • How will it help your career?
    I would like to use the skills gained from my undergraduate research experience in a career as an accounting and finance professional. I have also attached my responses to the Bauer article from two years ago. I think it will help you. However, please note that the information is outdated. I have since graduated from UH with a degree in Accounting and Finance and a minor in Sustainability. I am set to start my career in Energy at EDF Trading working as an Associate in Data Analytics on the Natural Gas desk. This is tangentially related to my research with HERE and I believe the experience helped begin to solidify my skills working with data.

  • What was the benefit?
    The skills gained from research can be beneficial to any career, both in industry and in academia.

Sidra Aslam

Major: Supply Chain Management
Program: Houston Early Research Experience (HERE)
Year: 2019
Project: Assessment of Disaster Relief Funding Effects on Property Values

  • What did you learn?
    I was able to learn how to take preliminary steps towards developing research proposals, which is very helpful because it can often be difficult to find an area of interest and narrow down ideas enough to have testable questions and hypotheses. This is especially true for undergraduate students that are only beginning to gain exposure towards research-related academia.

    It was also very insightful to see the intersectionality of many different subjects and how they can help to paint a valuable picture of the many dimensions of both research and natural disaster/flooding effects. I was able to learn not only about business-related but also about anthropological, biological, and psychological effects of natural disasters, and ways to prevent flooding in the future using innovating engineering tactics.

  • How will it help your career?
    This experience allowed me to understand how to conduct research and tailor interests to answer specific questions. That is a very valuable tool in business. Many individuals in business roles may not conduct formal research projects, but being able to tackle large issues, to identify strategic areas of interest, and to navigate a plethora of information to obtain valuable insights and ask vital questions are essential skills provided by the HERE experience that have already helped me greatly, and will only continue to.

  • What was the benefit?
    Dr. Kennedy was an excellent advisor that helped us understand our areas of interest and how to tailor them towards addressing the topic at hand (Flooding and Storms in Houston). He gave us great advice about how to approach research, described best practices, and guided us to ensure our research question was detailed and narrow so that it could lead to a viable research proposal. It was incredibly helpful to have someone who is in the field of academia, and has conducted research in the past, to help us understand the value of being curious and developing proposals that can help us understand complex topics that influence our society today.

Sangeetha Ranadeeve

Major: Supply Chain Management
Program: Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF)
Year: 2019
Faculty Sponsor: Elizabeth Anderson-Fletcher, Decision & Information Sciences
Project: Heroes Unseen: A Supply Chain Approach to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Treatment at the Veterans Healthcare Administration

  • What did you learn?
    By conducting this project, I have learned more about my research topic, PTSD, and how to approach ambiguous projects and goals. It really made me understand that it's important to keep a big picture mindset while focusing on the micro details of the research.

  • How will it help your career?
    The various skills I've gleaned from this experience such as dealing with ambiguity, flexibility, adaptability, and analytical reasoning will help my career tremendously. This project has also given me insight into how much social responsibility matters to me. I believe that developing this value in myself and expecting it in the companies I work for will lead me to have a more fulfilling career.

  • What was the benefit?
    Conducting this research with Dr. Fletcher really helped me find focus and define the scope of my project. Dr. Fletcher has years of experience with thinking about processes with a supply chain perspective and she gave me a wealth of insight. Dr. Fletcher also has research experience with my research project topic, PTSD. Her connections were extremely helpful. She was an amazing mentor!

Crystal Gamboa

Major: Supply Chain Management
Program: Houston Early Research Experience (HERE)
Year: 2018
Faculty Sponsor: Emese Felvegi, Decision & Information Sciences
Project: Making Oil Refineries Carbon Free

  • What did you learn?
    This project was my first exposure to research. During the program, speakers would present their specific findings on a problem that greatly impacts Houston. Each individual had some context on why they wanted to pursue this research.

    While working on how we could implement the Carbon Capture System in oil refineries, I was reminded of my past. I am a product of YES Prep East End, a high school in the East End area. YES Prep’s purpose is to help students who live in low-income communities attend college. It is 1.5 miles from the Valero Refinery and near the Houston Ship Channel. I remember at times we would not be able to go outside because of the emissions from the refineries.

    Before this experience, my thought of helping the community was to graduate from the University of Houston and give back by community service or donations. However, this project gave me hope that there was something I could do during my time in college to actually grow and develop those around me. It helped me learn about action items I can do for my community, how Houston is dependent on the energy sector, and ways that we can research to find better/safer products to keep our known energy economy running.

  • How will it help your career?
    Research is something that happens on a daily basis in my life. Every day I attempt to come up with new, creative solutions by looking at many materials and resources to find how I can make the most impact either in my industry or my personal life.

    The opportunity to be a part of an amazing team with Nima Nayeri, Sharan Sabu, and Dr. Felvegi was absolutely incredible. I remember the steps I took to complete the two week research, which I can utilize to solve future dilemmas. It also taught me how to unravel a complex, big picture problem that doesn’t necessarily have the right answer.

  • What was the benefit?
    My faculty advisor led our project in the right direction. She asked questions throughout the project that kept us encouraged to seek answers and research to provide a solution. Before the summer of 2018, business was not included in the Houston Early Research Experience Program. Therefore, Dr. Felvegi did a phenomenal job at introducing us to research. She also allowed us to think about how it applied to business and how we could use our strengths in finance, accounting, supply chain management, and other majors to our advantage.

    During the project, we took the perspective of the oil refineries and asked ourselves how would the refineries accept this Carbon Capture System. In the end, by participating in this program, I was able to meet and learn from Dr. Felvegi. I appreciate how, after the end of the two weeks, she reached out and offered any assistance that she could give.

Fariha Jawed

Major: Accounting and Political Science
Program: Provost Undergraduate Research Scholarship (PURS)
Year: Fall 2017
Faculty Sponsor: Joshua Cutler, Accountancy & Taxation
Project: Corporate Social Responsibility in the United States

  • What did you learn?
    Working on this project enabled me to improve my research, specifically data collection and analysis.

  • How will it help your career?
    After the conclusion of PURS, Dr. Cutler and I have revisited this topic in hopes of creating a scholarly article that can be published.

  • What was the benefit?
    Working on this project with Dr. Cutler has been an amazing learning experience. Along with guiding me with research and writing, Dr. Cutler has become a life-long mentor. He advised me in regard to my career, specifically earning my CPA. He helped me with my law school applications and wrote me recommendation letters for law school and countless of other scholarships and job applications. This year, Dr. Cutler and I are working together to publish an article.

Hadiqa Memon

Major: Supply Chain Management
Program:Thesis and Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF)
Year: 2016 and 2018
Faculty Sponsor: Elizabeth Anderson-Fletcher, Decision & Information Sciences
Project: “The Role of Acceptance in Implementing Innovation in Hospitals.”

  • What did you learn?
    The best part of undertaking this project was being able to take charge of the project. I was the one making my own syllabus for the thesis course and that was definitely a daunting and exciting experience at the same time.

    The idea for my project came after I met a recruiter at a event hosted by Houston Business Healthcare Alliance, an organization I co-founded. He connected me to Dr. Anthony Carmine Colavecchia at Houston Methodist Hospital. They were implementing a new pharmacy protocol for dispensing insulin. And, I was fortunate enough to use this opportunity to better understand how organizations (especially as dynamic as a hospital) implement innovation.

    Through this project, I was able to get myself an internship and a research project at the same time! Working in the hospital from the angle of a researcher was definitely an amazing part of my undergraduate education. I was able to get hands-on experience, while having the opportunity to apply the fundamental concepts I learned from my business coursework.

  • How will it help your career?
    I have always wanted to become a physician. However, with the dynamic changes occurring in healthcare environment, having the basic understanding of business has become essential for any occupation. Therefore, I pursued a business degree while completing all my pre-medicine requisites. It was definitely different from the more traditional degrees pursued by pre-medical students and it became a way I distinguished myself from the large pool of candidates applying for medical school.

    I am currently a third-year medical student at Texas Tech – Paul Foster School of Medicine. However, I remember when I was interviewing with medical schools and my senior thesis became a great talking point on my resume.

    Additionally, as I continue my journey in the field of medicine, my project has inspired me to pursue a career in which I can work both as a physician and in administration in an effort to improve overall quality of care being provided to patients.

  • What was the benefit?
    I had a great time working with Dr. Fletcher. I actually completed a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship Project with Dr. Fletcher, before I pursued the Senior Honors Thesis project. Through the shorter summer research project, I realized how much I enjoyed research and was able to use that project to build the framework for my thesis.

    Her wealth of knowledge and appreciation for both medicine and business definitely inspired me. Her mentorship further fueled my desire to learn more about the gaps in the business/healthcare industry and the solutions business offered for the field of medicine.

    It is really difficult to differentiate yourself in a class of 100 students. But, by working one on one with a faculty mentor you are able to really dig deep into a topic you’re interested in and develop a customized educational experience for yourself. Additionally, having this opportunity allowed me to develop a lasting mentorship.

Past Participants