Business Students Showcase Research at NU Undergraduate Research Conference

May 3, 2014  |  by Melissa Heidt

  • Alyssa Fazio, senior marketing major

  • Michael Federspiel, senior finance major

  • Paige Reitmeier, senior finance major

Three College of Business Administration honors students showcased their research at Niagara University’s Undergraduate Research Conference, held Friday, April 11. The conference, sponsored by the University Honors Program, whose motto is Explore, Investigate, Achieve, is an occasion for honors students to display research in their field of study. Each student has spent the last year working on their thesis, an original research at his or her own initiative while working one-on-one with a member of NU’s outstanding faculty.

Syracuse native Alyssa Fazio will be graduating this May with a degree in marketing and she worked with Dr. Peggy Choong, associate dean and marketing professor, on her research titled, “Mobile Apps: The Trend of the Future.” Fazio’s research focused on advancement in technology and its usage to the future of fashion retailers remains on them to continually advance their technological skills and resources. She advised that her study looks to uncover information concerning the use of mobile fashion applications for both brick-and-mortar and online-only fashion retailers. More specifically, it examines the salient attributes of fashion retail apps that are important to consumers as well as consumer perception of four existing fashion apps, including Forever 21, Urban Outfitters, Wanelo, and Polyvore.

Fazio explained, “The fashion retail industry has an opportunity to capitalize on this new trend and the results from this study can be used by marketing managers in developing their design of future fashion apps. By understanding what the customer would want from a mobile fashion app, they can create a strategy for building and implementing this new technology to their already existing business outlets. Taking that in-store experience and transforming it into an online platform requires knowing what aspects and attributes the consumers expect in order to create an optimized mobile shopping experience.”

After graduation, Fazio will be working as a wardrobe director for an independent film, titled The Prescient, and then has plans to relocate and obtain a job in a fashion marketing, social media, or advertising.

Michael Federspiel, a senior finance major with a minor in accounting from Lewiston, explored the very timely topic, “The Student Loan Crisis: Shaping our Nation One Block at a Time.” He was able to investigate with Chris Aquino, assistant professor of accounting, and Dr. Lisa Williams, assistant professor of management, his research, which he explained “examines the student debt crisis that is constantly making headlines.”

“I first examined the crisis on a macro-level, as the statistics from that perspective are quite eye-opening,” he said. “However, I think that ordinary folks look at the $1.2 trillion level of debt and don’t see the whole story. Over the millions of individuals that graduate each year, two-thirds of them will have student debt. In saying that, this crisis has potentially profound effects on the individual and the choices that they make in everyday life; decisions such as where they’re going to eat dinner, if they choose to have children, buy or rent a home, and even the community in which they choose to live. As the output of these effects magnifies across our nation, I think we have a different and more personal angle to digest the possible long-term effects (it’s been suggested that this could be the next housing crisis) that I hope will inspire people to get active in finding a solution, whether that be through their vote at the polls or through letters and calls for advocacy of their elected officials. This is a problem that is especially unique in that it is a bipartisan issue that affects us no matter which side of the aisle we sit on.”

After graduating this May from Niagara, Federspiel will begin the M&T Bank Management Development Program. This is a very prestigious and intensive training program that he explained “will allow me to maximize the education and skills attained here at NU and push me to a higher level professionally. Over the long-term, I would like to work for one of our state or federal law enforcement agencies, using my skill-set to help fight financial/white collar crime. Between my prior military experience and the service learning opportunities afforded to me here at Niagara, I’ve definitely found a passion for helping others and think that it’s a career focus that I could look back on and be proud of.”

Aquino commented, “The undergraduate research conference provides a wonderful opportunity for our students to share their research with the rest of the Niagara community.  In addition, Mike received great feedback from faculty and peers on how to improve his product.  Many of those ideas will be integrated into his final honors thesis paper.  It was a very well-run event with significant positive outcomes.”

A senior finance major from Buffalo, Paige Reitmeier worked with Ed Hutton, director of the Financial Services Lab and assistant professor of finance, on her research, “CFA Institute Research: Transcat Inc. Valuation.”

Reitmeier conducted a study of the validity of several different common stock valuation models. Her goal was to determine the theoretical or fair market value of a local western New York company Transcat Inc., and to compare it with the company’s valuation on the NASDAQ stock exchange. Her work was featured as a part of the Niagara University CFA Investment Research Team.

Ed Hutton, CFA, and faculty advisor to the investment team, added, “Paige’s skillful application of financial theory to this problem was a critical component of our teams’ submission. She has a wonderful future ahead of her in the investment industry.”