Worcester State University

 

Business Abstracts

 

MONEYSKILL FINANCIAL LITERACY OUTREACH

Dennis Brosnan

Faculty Adviser: Jay Mahoney, Ph.D.

Financial literacy is not a priority in the U.S. Only seven states require high school students to complete a personal finance course to graduate and a 2006 Jump$tart personal finance survey found 62% of school age Americans failed a basic knowledge test. The mission for this project was to provide an educational opportunity for students to aid them in making informed financial decisions. MoneySKILL is an online financial literacy interactive program aimed at high school students. We created an interactive presentation outlining the program benefits and explaining to teachers how to integrate the program into their own curriculum.


NEW PRODUCT INNOVATION PROJECT

Daniel Gallupe and Christopher Croke

Faculty Adviser: Jay Mahoney, Ph.D.

We partnered with Pusateri Architectural to help in new product development and marketing. The owner had an idea for a product which would conceal a rifle safe and add visual appeal to a home. He believed that there was no other product like it on the market. We conducted a SWOT analysis and market potential analysis and assisted the entrepreneur in the design of a prototype. We also helped negotiate for a CAD design, educated him on the need for a product mix portfolio and taught him the essentials of break-even analysis as it applies to

both production and marketing.

YOUTH MENTORING: HOCKEY + SCHOOL = SUCCESS

William Knauber

Faculty Adviser: Jay Mahoney, Ph.D.

We ran an on-and-off ice clinic for kids, coaches, and parents, promoting the importance of education while pursuing athletics. We delivered a 90-minute experience including 60 minutes of instructional skills and drills, and 30 minutes of a highly interactive presentation entitled “School + Hockey = Success.” Connecting math to lining up slap shots or cutting the angle of attack, social studies to diversity of languages, countries of origin, or cultures of hockey players, and highlighting examples of former players’ successful non-hockey endeavors, we tried to gently but firmly debunk the myth that athletes don’t need to be educated and smart.


LOCAL RESTAURANT SWOT ANALYSIS AND MARKETING PUSH

Matt Pagourgis

Faculty Adviser: Jay Mahoney, Ph.D.

SIFE performed a SWOT analysis for Westside BBQ in order to attract a larger college-aged clientele. We conducted interviews and surveys to identify strengths and weaknesses, considered implementation, and made recommendations. We proposed a college special, enhanced signage, and delivery service. Westside created the college special while we created a Facebook group for the Westside, sent out invitations to join the group, and advertised the college special through this mechanism and others. With the success of the college special, Westside went on to install new signage, and has also initiated a delivery service.

STUDENT PERCEPTIONS OF MARKET FAIRNESS

Elizabeth Wark, Ph.D., and Janice Yee, Ph.D.

Rational behavior, self interest, and incentives are some of the simple assumptions found in many introductory economics courses. Incentives impact the rational behavior of self-interested individuals and the result is the price and quantity in the market. Is this fair? Given the recurring public protests against market outcomes globally and locally, the answer may be no for many individuals. Could a semester in economics with its emphasis on the objectivity of markets and efficient outcomes change such opinions? We surveyed over 300 students in Introduction to Microeconomics and Macroeconomics in order to answer this question. We found that in some cases, student opinions regarding market fairness did change, but this very much depended upon whether students felt market-based outcomes were circumvented or enhanced. Early conclusions suggest instructors and topics can influence student opinions.

SOCIAL CAPITAL AND ITS IMPLICATIONS

Janice Yee, Ph.D., and Julie Burdett

Popularly introduced by Putnam (2000) in his work Bowling Alone, the concept of social capital continues to be one that has drawn both criticism and intrigue into its possible impacts for community development. Social capital is believed to be an important concept in strengthening community cohesion and cooperation, and therefore instrumental in effectively impacting in a positive manner, policy aims that attempt to draw community members together to move towards a common goal. Formal and informal ties to community members can foster community connections, but the degree to which such interactions impact social capital depend much upon the community in question as well as its composition. We surveyed approximately 200 Worcester State students to better understand their perspectives on social capital and how that might impact social capital formation in Worcester in the years to come.


LOYALTY PROGRAMS AND FIRMS PROFITABILITY
Dennis Brosnan
Faculty Adviser: Rodney Oudan, DBA
Consumers in today’s marketplace are presented with a large array of choices when involved in a purchase decision for products and services to satisfy their needs, want and requirements. While most companies in a given industry offer similar products and services most have a differentiated marketing strategy using one or more product attributes to set them apart from the competition. Companies communicate this product differentiation to their target market to give them a competitive advantage, acquire new customers and achieve customer loyalty.  With advances in technology and increased data mining sufficiency, firms are now using loyalty programs as a multi-tier platform in order to gain a competitive advantage and build a long term profitable relationship with their customers. We define a loyalty program as an integrated system of marketing actions that aims to stimulate repeat purchases to achieve customer retention. Loyalty programs are important tools for driving customer retention in many industries, including retail, credit cards, banks, airlines, and hotel chains. Generally the loyalty program can improve the company CRM (customer relationship management). Loyalty programs can be used to collect valuable data about needs, buying patterns and preferences.   The information gathered can provide the firm with better knowledge of how to create customer value, product targeting, influential promotions, brand strength and overall communication.  A company can use this valuable information to provide customers customized benefits to satisfy individual needs and wants.  Many scholars have argued that loyalty programs may increase repeat purchases due to the rewards that a company offer. This study provides an examination of different loyalty programs, its impact on customer purchase behavior and firm profitability.

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