Undergraduate Research

Cadet Rhys Williams
Cadet Williams began investigating the economics of MBAs in 2006 and he that found several of his questions remained unanswered by previous economic studies.  Thus, we collaborated to explore the underlying economics of the market for MBA degrees.  In conjunction with VMI's Summer Undergraduate Research Institute (SURI) Rhys formulated his questions, collected data and learned to use STATA (a statistical software package).  Rhys continued his SURI project in the fall semester as an independent study.  Rhys ultimately has achieved his goal of understanding what drives the demand for MBAs.  Rhys presented this work at a scholarly economics conference (Eastern Economics Association Annual meetings in Boston, Massachusetts), and will also present during April at VMI's Undergraduate Research Symposium and at the National Conferences on Undergraduate Research in Salisbury, Maryland. 

Cadet Garrett Smith
Cadet Smith ’08, is working on research examining the relationship between senior executive compensation and company performance.  Titled “The CEO Need for Greed: Reconciling CEO Compensation and Performance among American Corporations.”  Col. Robert W. Moreschi is the faculty mentor to this project.  Garrett is a participant in the Institute Honors Program.  His research began in summer 2007 as part of a SURI grant.  His work continued in fall 2007 as an independent study under Col. Moreschi.  The project will conclude in spring ’08 as he presents his work during Honor’s Week.

Cadet Alex Menas
Cadet Menas worked with Lt. Col. Barry Cobb to develop a minimum variance portfolio model for the TIAA-CREF optional retirement plan available to VMI employees.  The portfolio is developed based on investor goals then reallocated annually to consider fund performance and updated investor objectives.  Simulation is used to analyze risk associated with meeting the investor’s targeted performance.  The minimum variance approach outperformed three portfolios suggested by TIAA-CREFF over the period from 2001-2007.  Cadet Menas will present his research at the National Conference for Undergraduate Research (NCUR) in Salisbury, Maryland in April.  Lt. Col. Cobb presented this research at a brown bag luncheon attended by faculty, staff, and cadets.

Google Competition
Under the supervision of Maj. Elizabeth Baker and Col. Stewart Husted, 54 cadets enrolled in Col. Husted’s Principles of Marketing course are participating in a global Google Ad Word Campaign. Thirteen local businesses/non-profits are matched with cadet teams, which using a Google donation of $200 per team have created three-week advertising campaigns to draw traffic and business to each organization’s web site. VMI is competing internationally against approximately 20,000 students representing over 5,000 teams. Winners will be announced in June 2008.

Cadets present at March Madness of the Minds
A team of cadets lead by 3 EBCU majors were invited to present their Engineering Entrepreneurship project at the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance annual meeting in Dallas, TX March 20-22, 2008.  The ELF-SD (short for the Extremely-Low Frequency Seismic Detector) project team was invited to participate in the March Madness of the Minds Exhibition as one of 16 E-Teams selected out of hundreds applying for the spot.  These project teams are called E-Tams for excellence and entrepreneurship.  Currently, the VMI Foundation is sponsoring the patent process for the ELF-SD to further the commercialization efforts on the project.

UnderResearchCadets to present research paper at Society for the Advancement of Management (SAM) Annual Conference
Three cadets from the ECBU department had their research paper accepted for the 2008 Annual Conference of the Society for the Advancement of Management.  The paper, titled ““Commercialization of the Extremely-Low Frequency Seismic Detector (ELF-SD): Collaboration Between Engineering and Business for Innovation,” was written by Matthew Kokal ’08 ECBU; Issac Putnam ’09 ECE; David Shedd ’08 ECBU; and Bradley J. Simpson ’09 ECBU, and the paper will be presented in April 2008. Cadets Putnam and Simpson are seen at right.