Convention goers explore a TripAdvisor booth.

Founded in 2000, TripAdvisor has become the leading user-generated travel review website, ranking hotels, restaurants and attractions around the world. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

Hotel reviews on sites such as TripAdvisor, Hotels.com and Yelp have transformed the travel experience. Mihaylo Assistant Professor of Management Ellen Kim examines who reads reviews and how readers process positive and negative reviews.

Take a look at your favorite online review site and you will be deluged with competing positive and negative testimonials. What do you do when you see one positive review followed by one negative review? Do you really trust the reviews anyway?

Consensus vs. Sequence of Reviews

Mihaylo Assistant Professor of Management Ellen Kim conducted a 2015 study, How do consumers process online hotel reviews? The effects of eWOM consensus and sequence,”  to determine how the consensus and sequence of hotel reviews impact consumer attitudes toward hotels. The study appeared in the Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Technology.

“I was interested to know how people process all of the competing reviews they read online,” says Kim. “We found that consensus among reviews overrides the sequence in the minds of consumers.” This means that if the majority of the reviews are negative, the reader will get the message even if there are one or two positive reviews. Yet if the reviews paint an evenly mixed picture, whatever message displays first is what consumers are likely to base their decision on.

To conduct the study, Kim and Chung Hun Lee of the Department of Hotel and Tourism Management at Sejong University in Seoul, Korea, created hotel reviews based on TripAdvisor content, though modified as desired for the study. Undergraduate student participants from the two universities were asked to imagine that they were looking at the hotel reviews to determine a place to stay while on a trip to another city. After reading 20 reviews, the participants reflected their attitudes toward the hotels and the likelihood that they would stay at the establishments on a seven-point bipolar scale.

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This blog post is the fifth and final in a weekly series throughout July examining opportunities in different sectors of America’s diverse economy.  

The Blue Ridge Parkway winds through the fall colors of the Appalachian Mountains.

The Blue Ridge Parkway in the Southeast U.S. is America’s most visited national parkland.

This summer marks the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, which administers America’s 411 national parklands in every state covering a total of 84 million acres. A number of career paths are available in the park service and related tourism.

“Laws change; people die; the land remains.” So said Abraham Lincoln, the United States’ 16th president. Ten years later, Union Civil War general-turned-president, Ulysses S. Grant, declared Yellowstone the world’s first national park.

As exploration and the conservation movements recognized numerous natural and historic treasures from coast to coast, Woodrow Wilson signed the National Park Service Organic Act on Aug. 25, 1916, establishing the agency within the Department of the Interior to oversee the nation’s irreplaceable parklands.

America’s Top Parks

The advent of the automobile and the growth of interstate highways during the 1950s made national parks and monuments accessible to millions of Americans and overseas visitors. More than 305 million people visited a U.S. national park area in 2015, a record approaching the nation’s total population, though many were international tourists or repeat visitors.

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A female speaker discusses the contents of a PowerPoint presentation on nonprofits at the Gianneschi Summer School for Nonprofits at CSUF's Mihaylo College.

Hearing from expert speakers and networking with fellow nonprofit professionals at the Gianneschi Center’s Summer School is a great way to stay at the forefront of trends in the social responsibility sector.

The 11th annual Summer School for Nonprofits will be held this summer from Aug. 15 to 18, providing instruction for local organizations on how to thrive in the contemporary economy.

Mihaylo’s Gianneschi Center for Nonprofit Research, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, will host the annual Summer School for Nonprofits this August to equip local organizations to succeed in their mission to better the community. These organizations include nonprofits, social enterprises and socially-responsible for-profit companies, government agencies, and philanthropic foundations.

The Gianneschi 2016 Summer School for Nonprofits will feature instruction from more than 20 expert speakers on board development, regulatory issues, technology, fundraising, and volunteer recruitment and development. Attendees will expand their knowledge through one of three tracks: beginner, intermediate and advanced. Early-Bird Tuition is available through July 31. Individual tuition is $150, while up to four individuals in the same organization may attend for a combined rate of $300. Early-Bird Tuition includes free parking at the Fullerton Marriott  and a $10 Starbucks gift card. After July 31, registration increases to $175 for individuals and $350 for organizations, while parking will be $7 at the Marriott and $8 on-campus at the Eastside Parking Structure.

There will also be two free seminars, which are open free of charge, though registration is required. A Free Grant Seminar, hosted by the office of U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-Brea), discussing grant and proposal writing and federal programs for nonprofits, will be held on Aug. 17 from 1 to 4 p.m. at SGMH 1406. A Tax Seminar for Nonprofit and Exempt Organizations, sponsored by Vice Chair Diane Harkey of the California State Board of Equalization, will be held from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Aug. 18 at SGMH 1502.

Registration is available online. More information is available by contacting Susan Cadwallader, director of the Gianneschi Center for Nonprofit Research, at 657-278-7565 or email at scadwallader@fullerton.edu.

A student walks alongside bookshelves in a library.

In this era of Google and Wikipedia, plagiarism is a danger for university students. But a few tips can keep students out of trouble and even improve their grades. Photo from Pixabay.

On the first night of the Republican National Convention last week, Melania Trump, wife of the GOP nominee, gave a speech including portions of language lifted from Michelle Obama’s 2008 Democratic National Convention speech. The controversy isn’t the first time that plagiarism has made political headlines. But repeating words that aren’t your own is a big issue for university students too. Here are five tips on how to avoid your own plagiarism scandal.

Melania Trump isn’t the first political figure to be accused of plagiarism. In 2003, then California Governor Gray Davis was charged with copying from Bill Clinton’s first State of the Union address. Senator Rand Paul, Russian President Vladimir Putin and even Vice President Joe Biden have been accused of copying the words of others at different times over the years.

In the digital age, plagiarism has become a major problem on university campuses, as students sometimes lift the words of others into their research papers and other academic work. Each year, students at the world’s top universities are expelled for stealing from the works of others. In some cases, alumni have even had their degrees revoked when it is determined that their theses were pirated.

“Plagiarism” comes from the Latin word plagiarius, which means “kidnapper.” Students need to quote and attribute referenced sources for most of their assignments. But when the reader is left to believe that the words are the author’s own, it is considered academic dishonesty and the penalties can be severe.

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A busy work day on Wall Street in New York City.

The New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street is the symbol of the American financial system. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

This blog post is the fourth in a weekly series throughout July examining opportunities in different sectors of America’s diverse economy.  

While the world economy has become more diverse in recent decades, all of the world’s 10 largest companies by market capitalization are still headquartered in the U.S., and Wall Street is still the hub of global financial markets. The American financial industry supports millions of jobs, including accounting, finance and management roles.

In the late 1700s, when traders began gathering under a buttonwood tree on Wall Street in Lower Manhattan to trade securities, no one could have imagined the importance the financial markets would have over the following centuries. The highs and lows of the global economy since 1900 have largely depended on the strength of the American financial sector.

The financial services industry in the U.S. accounted for 7% of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP), or around $1.223 trillion in 2014. Nearly 6 million people work in this sector of the economy. The securities industry shows the greatest potential for employment growth, with a 12% increase in employment predicted by 2018.

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The Ferris wheel at the Orange County Fair in Costa Mesa, California.

Carnival rides, live bands and exhibits of all kinds draw area residents and visitors alike to the Orange County Fair in Costa Mesa. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

The annual Orange County Fair is going on now through Aug. 14. Here are seven things to do at the fair and some tips on how to save on admission and parking.

More than 1.3 million people attend the annual Orange County Fair in Costa Mesa, which is more than a third of the total population of the county. Last year, the fair made more than $23.1 million in sales. There’s plenty to do at the fair, from animal exhibits to concerts to edible creations. Here are seven things not to miss.

  1. Check Out the We Are One Exhibit

Projection mapping permits irregularly shaped objects to be transformed into a display surface for video projection. Visitors to the Orange County Fair will be able to experience this technology at the We are One exhibit, designed by creative and technical director John Mastri. On any day during the fair, stop by the Visual Arts Building to step into the four-sided area, where the faces of you and everyone else in the building will be turned to a video.

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Mihaylo College Dean Anil Puri stands with golfers at the 2016 Mihaylo College Golf Classic at Pelican Hill Resort in Newport Beach, California.

Mihaylo Dean Anil Puri (far left) with golfers at the Mihaylo Golf Classic on June 20 in Newport Beach, Calif. Says Joe Ferrucci ’93: “The golf tournament is thoroughly enjoyed by the participants and has become the college’s largest fundraising event. This is because the event reflects the high standards of excellence that Mihaylo College has become known for.”

On a scorching first day of summer, the 22nd annual Mihaylo Golf Classic provided more than $90,000 to fund the college, helping to ensure a world-class business education for Mihaylo’s student body.

It was the hottest June day on record in much of Southern California. Yet Mihaylo faculty, staff, alumni and donors braved the heat to raise funds for student scholarships and services at the Mihaylo Golf Classic at the oceanfront Pelican Hill Golf Club in Newport Coast. With the more than $90,000 raised at this year’s event, the total for more than two decades now exceeds $1.1 million. The foursome from Newport Beach law firm Robinson Calcagnie Inc. took first place among more than 130 golfers.

“As Mihaylo College’s largest fundraiser, the proceeds from this tournament support student-oriented initiatives,” says attorney Joe Ferrucci ’93 (accounting), a member of the Executive Council. “One of those initiatives is the Business Honors Program. This unique program provides a socially and professionally stimulating academic environment to a select group of business students who are exceptionally driven in their pursuit of excellence.”

The golf classic would not have been possible without the assistance of Helpmates Staffing Companies, the title sponsor; garment sponsor Smart & Final; dinner sponsor Southern Counties Lubricants LLC; product sponsor US Bank; and the alumni and business network.

Additional photos of the event are available on Flickr.

For more on next year’s tournament, contact Associate Director of Development Micah Howard at mihoward@fullerton.edu.

This blog post is the third in a weekly series throughout July examining opportunities in different sectors of America’s diverse economy.  

A sunset view of a Texas oil rig in operation.

An oil rig in Texas. Orange County once had a large oil industry, and rigs are still in use in Brea and Huntington Beach. Image from Pixabay.

Long dependent on foreign oil, the U.S. can now boast the world’s largest domestic oil production. But it’s not all about oil – the nation’s diverse energy sector includes wind and solar energy, nuclear power and alternative fuels.

In 2014, the U.S. economy accomplished what only a few decades ago would have been unthinkable. America became the world’s top oil producer, with 12.7 million barrels per day, knocking Saudi Arabia to second place. In the 10 states at the epicenter of America’s post-recession oil boom, employment has outpaced the national average and added $300 billion to $400 billion annually to the nation’s economy. According to some estimates, without this industry’s expansion, the nation would still be mired in recession.

From Oil Producer to Oil Dependency – And Back Again

This is not the first oil boom in America. Oil was a major industry in the U.S. more than a century ago, following the discovery of the Spindletop geyser in Beaumont, Texas, forever associating the Lone Star State with oil. By 1902, more than 1,500 oil companies had been chartered in the U.S. But America’s oil industry extends even further – oil was first tapped at its source in Pennsylvania in 1859, and settlers noted oil slicks off the California coast during the 1500s.

John D. Rockefeller started one of the world’s wealthiest business dynasties with his Standard Oil Company. Yet the world wars and economic development of the 20th century depleted the nation’s oil reserves, forcing policymakers to look elsewhere for oil sources.

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Pleasure boats dominate the harborscape in Avalon, California.

The harbor of Avalon, Calif., will welcome Titans for a day of fun and networking this August. Photo from Pixabay.

Cal State Fullerton students and alumni will visit Catalina Island on Aug. 6 for a day trip sponsored by the CSUF Accounting and Business Finance Alumni chapters.

Just 30 miles offshore from Orange County, Catalina Island offers dining, water sports, beaches and wildlife observation in an island setting that feels worlds away from Southern California traffic.

Thanks to the Student Success Initiative, the Cal State Fullerton community will spend the day connecting with alumni as they explore the island with their fellow Titans on Saturday, Aug. 6. This day trip will depart from Newport Beach at 8:30 a.m. There are a total of 70 tickets, including a limited number of free tickets for current students and tickets for alumni and others in our university community. Registration is $40 for alumni association members and $50 for others, such as parents, faculty and staff. See all the details on the trip here.

The group will spend the day in Avalon, the largest city on the island, kayaking, sightseeing and networking, as well as enjoying the 75-minute boat ride on The Catalina Flyer, a 500-passenger catamaran ferry. Lunch will not be provided, but there are plenty of local dining options worth checking out. Seafood, Italian, Asian, bakeries and coffee spots are among the restaurants popular with visitors.

Sign up today for this day of fun in the sun. Catalina travel tips are available online.

For more information, contact Gleanne Dimson, student alumni engagement coordinator, at gdimson@fullerton.edu or 657-278-4277. Space is limited, so reserve your spot today.

This blog post is the second in a weekly series throughout July examining opportunities in different sectors of America’s diverse economy.  

An abandoned barn and silo against a stormy sky in the American Midwest.

Farms, small factories and other buildings often sit abandoned in America’s many rural communities. Image from Pixabay.

Nearly one in five Americans live in rural areas, which still comprise the majority of the country’s land area. Yet many communities are facing demographic challenges as young people relocate to urban areas. Diversification is important to the revitalization of the nation’s heartland.

From California’s Central Valley to the Great Plains states, some 62 million Americans live in rural or frontier areas, defined as areas outside of urban centers with no more than 2,500 residents. Though about 80% of U.S. land is rural, rural America is losing population for the first time ever, as interest in retirement in rural areas wanes among baby boomers and younger people continue to relocate to the cities in search of jobs and education.

While most states are gaining population overall, rural counties in much of the nation are in such decline that governments are considering student loans and tax incentives to prevent the depopulation of some areas.

The State of American Agriculture

The population decline in rural America obscures the fact that American agriculture is generally doing well, despite a smaller number of farmers than ever before, due to mechanization. U.S. agriculture exports totaled $115 billion at the beginning of the decade, creating a positive trade balance for this sector of the American economy. Agriculture still accounts for slightly more than half of the nation’s total land area, with California, Iowa, Texas, Nebraska and Minnesota making up the top five states by agricultural output, according to the 2012 Census of Agriculture, which is issued every five years.

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