This summer, 23 undergraduate students at Georgetown's McDonough School of Business conducted research as part of the fifth annual Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program.
Students worked with 18 Georgetown University faculty members to investigate business topics and challenges, completing research projects in diverse subjects such as employee retention in nonprofits, the demography of game theory, the relationship between corporate social responsibility and executive stock compensation plans, the impact of paternity leave on gender norms, and how collaborative technologies foster economic growth in the Philippines. Each fellow received a grant to work on their research project for five to 10 weeks.
Sophomore Selina Wang (B ’19) worked with Turan Bali, the Robert S. Parker Professor of Business Administration, on researching contingent convertible bonds and their return correlation with other asset classes.
“Having Professor Bali as a faculty mentor gave me someone with more depth to bounce ideas off of,” Wang said. “Since this is an independent research project, I still possessed the autonomy to direct my own research. This freedom allowed me to look at more niche topics that my classes here may never touch.”
“SURF allowed me to carve out an individualized academic journey,” she added.
That's the benefit of the program, according to Bali. Rather than professors assigning projects to students, SURF encourages students to develop their own research ideas. As a faculty mentor, Bali advised Wang on topics such as statistical methodologies to use in estimating risk and return characteristics of certain securities.
"I find the faculty mentor role gratifying because I help shape the academic experience of some of Georgetown's most motivated students," he said. "Throughout the project, Selina showed genuine enthusiasm and endless curiosity about related topics, which I consider essential in a research career."
The research fellows’ work will be presented in a variety of forums throughout the academic year, including the McDonough Undergraduate Research Symposium during Family Weekend, and is intended to be ready for submission to scholarly journals.