Mihaylo College undergrad Han Tran, recipient of the Outstanding Student Scholarly and Creative Activities Award, poses at Steven G. Mihaylo Hall.

Mihaylo marketing senior Han Tran ’17 looked at undergraduates’ use of social media in job and internship searches. “The study aimed to explore whether there was an underlying relationship between social media affinity, levels of career engagement and online impression management,” she says.

Mihaylo students are the next generation of researchers in business and related disciplines. This year’s Outstanding Student Scholarly and Creative Activities Award honors two Mihaylo students –senior Han Tran ’17 (marketing) and information systems graduate student Ameya Agavekar ’17 – for their independent research projects.

Mihaylo College not only has faculty who conduct research in their respective disciplines, but also students who are expanding the breadth of knowledge of the fields they are studying through faculty-supervised research.

This year’s Outstanding Student Scholarly and Creative Activities Award recognizes the accomplishments of two Mihaylo students, who were honored at the university’s Student Creative Activities and Research Day on April 12.

Han Tran ’17 – Examining Social Media and Job Searches

Social media is a major player in today’s career landscape. While 29% of job seekers used social media as their primary research tool according to Staff.com, the figure is as much as 70% for millennials.

Working with Mihaylo Associate Professor of Marketing Steven Chen, Han Tran ’17 (marketing) examined whether university undergraduates actively monitored their social media profiles to search for jobs and internships, as well as to network with professionals in their fields of interest.

“Specifically, the study aimed to explore whether there was an underlying relationship between social media affinity, levels of career engagement and online impression management,” says Tran. “The resulting findings should help university resources identify the gap between current trends in the labor market and current behaviors among college students.”

Tran’s study was conducted through an online 43-question survey of 197 undergraduates nationwide, disseminated primarily through Facebook groups.

After graduation, Tran hopes to pursue a career in digital marketing and eventually earn a graduate degree in this field.

“As I plan to pursue a master’s degree in marketing, I believe that this research experience will help me stand out among the applicants,” she says. “I am very honored and humbled to receive this award. Throughout the journey, I am thankful to have Dr. Steven Chen as a mentor. Since I began my research in spring 2016, Dr. Chen has constantly provided me with great guidance and advice, including finding research gaps, developing a framework for conducting the survey and analyzing the data.”

Ameya Agavekar ’17 – Analyzing Online Product Reviews

With more than 88% of consumers taking online product reviews into account when making purchase decisions, it is imperative that such reviews be displayed to the maximum benefit of the user.

Working with Associate Professor of ISDS Daniel Soper, Ameya Agavekar ’17 has designed a statistical and analytical model that interprets the sentiment from text as being either positive or negative. Applied to paragraphs of online product reviews on Amazon, the n-gram model is of practical benefit to businesses and consumers.

Mihaylo College graduate student Ameya Agavekar holds his Outstanding Student Scholarly and Creative Activities Award while standing in front of a brick wall.

An algorithm to evaluate online product reviews was the research for which Mihaylo grad student Ameya Agavekar ’17 earned the Outstanding Student Award. He plans to study which business decisions are conducted most efficiently by either humans or machines in a study later this year.

“One unique feature of this algorithm is that it is designed to work in all languages, not just English, as is the case with most other models,” says Agavekar. “My analysis is that some products move so slowly online that companies just want them to sell, and thus they change the structure of online reviews.”

Agavekar is hoping to embark on a data analysis and business intelligence career path, before pursuing a doctorate in statistics and analytics in the UC system, University of Southern California or Columbia University. He is also currently conducting research on which decision models should be executed by machines or humans for the most efficient outcomes for business.

“I want to give credit to Dr. Soper and ISDS Department Chair Bhushan Kapoor, with whom I first discussed my research concept,” says Agavekar. “I believe this award will be outstanding for my career, because independent research goes above and beyond what we learn in the classroom and shows a commitment to the field while gaining a fresh perspective.”

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