MBA research projects enhance business and life strategies

Participating Upper Iowa University MBA student team members are eager to implement new strategies from their respective research projects into their lives and future careers. Pictured are (front, l-r) Andre Cheong, Jose Acosta Rosa, Sasha Zainal, Sabreena Zainal, Vu Nguyen and Bethany Stock; (back) Jayde Blue, Jie Jun Teng, Santiago Cordero, Jamie Gehling, Chung Ho Chee, Jack Cousin and UIU associate professor of management Redmond Humphrey. Anna Okolot is not pictured.

By examining the different management principles of various enterprises, three teams of Upper Iowa University MBA students hope findings from their corporate entrepreneurship and sustainability course project help improve the business strategies of not only those they researched but also other local establishments.

A study of restaurants within a 75-mile radius of Fayette examined whether the local food establishments implemented a quality management system (QMS) and if management was aware of the formalized system. Team members Sasha Zainal, Bethany Stock, Jamie Gehling, Ghanna Okolot and Sabreena Zainal contacted the restaurants through Facebook, email, phone and personal visits.

The students discovered that few of the participants knew of or executed a QMS, which is a business process that focuses on a collection of information to meet and enhance customer satisfaction. The team noted future studies could be conducted on how businesses manage their social media rate on investment. While finding the overall experience enlightening, the students especially enjoyed the opportunity to visit new places, talking with the business owners and managers, and sampling a variety of different restaurant items.

Team members Andre Cheong, Jose Acosta, Vu Nguyen and Jayde Blue studied Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC), a charity cooperation that helps families with sick children find comfort and support. The core RMHC programs—Ronald McDonald House, Ronald McDonald Family Room and Ronald McDonald Care Mobile—provide access to health care and enable family-centered care.

The students’ research focused on the efficiency and work satisfaction of RMHC full-time and part-time employees, including their future sustainability and if employees want long-term employment with the corporation. It was discovered that full-time employees were more dedicated to their employment with RMHC than part-time employees. The team suggested that UIU could utilize the same research model to evaluate faculty and staff satisfaction and potential improvements to the University.

Chung Ho Chee, Jie Jun Teng, Santiago Cordero and Jack Cousin (l-r) provided a presentation on their MBA project, which examined the continuous improvement practices of the printing and publishing industry and how the companies sustain their businesses during today’s “going green” culture.

As part of the third and final study, team members Chung Ho Chee, Jie Jun Teng, Jack Cousin and Santiago Cordero focused on exploring the impact of continuous improvement management practices on the organizational culture. More specifically, the students examined the continuous improvement practices of the printing and publishing industry and how the companies sustain their businesses during today’s “going green” culture.

The students found that while a bigger company has more funds to grow strategically and a smaller company lacks the funds to take higher risks, they would advocate that all publication companies practice continuous improvement. If a company were to practice continuous improvement, it could identify performance and development opportunities to promote employee growth and customer satisfaction. From their study, the team also noted that continuous improvement could influence future improvements and developments at UIU.

From their teams’ respective findings and other coursework, each student experienced an enhanced vision of their personal professional development and future employability. Much like their research subjects, they are eager to implement these new strategies in each of their careers and lives

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