Students standing in the atrium of a business

Research & Internship

Summer Research Fellowship

As a business or accounting major, you will have the opportunity to work with our faculty on real-world problems. We explore the most complex issues impacting every business, ranging from accountability and leadership to globalization and sustainability.

You will be engaged in real research. That means your work will not be relegated to the most remedial task. Instead, you’ll have an opportunity to attend conferences and present your own research. Some of our students have even co-authored research papers that have appeared in journals like The Psychological Record and The International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education.

If you decide to conduct research with our faculty, be sure to apply to Summer Research Fellowship. It is one of the few programs in the country that directly funds student internships, offering competitive fellowships to our students.

Read on to see what some of our student research fellows have done.

LiveWell Greenville

Backgrounds or experiences can influence consumer decision-making during point-of-purchase.  The purpose of this study was to determine whether increased availability and point-of-purchase promotion of healthy concession food options influenced consumer acceptance at county-owned waterparks.  Weekly sales data for each healthy concession option and all concession options were collected during the comparison season and in each intervention season.  Consumer selection of healthy food options was assessed by analyzing sales data. Findings indicate increased availability and point-of-purchase promotion of healthy menu options may positively influence consumer acceptance.  Sustained acceptance of healthy menu options for three years is promising, but additional methods may be warranted to further increase consumer acceptance of healthier food options.  Consumer behavior analysis applications may help support marketing practices.

Antecedent Stimuli to Donor Behavior: A Component Analysis of Nonprofit Donor Campaign

This research features a community-based project with an Upstate nonprofit organization.  A component analysis of the nonprofit’s donor campaign advertising materials was conducted.  The purpose of the study was to conduct an internal assurance check of the nonprofit’s communication materials with potential donors, examining the use of specific language/images found in the materials to be aligned with the organization’s current mission and objectives.  In essence, this research is the first step in being able to find out what materials and phrases the non-profit can use to increase donors and retain past donors.

Automotive Foreign Direct Investment in the United States: An Updated Analysis

This research builds on a previous study by analyzing the growth and development of automotive “foreign direct investment” in the U.S. since 2011.  Utilizing secondary data and interviews, the study seeks to provide insight relating to the follow issues:  plant expansion and vehicle production growth; impact on regional supply chains; sales relating to both domestic and foreign markets; economic impact to cities, states, and regions; competitive positioning of manufactured vehicles including performance and quality; and the impact of the plant on additional nonautomotive state and regional economic development. The research also seeks to understand the major issues facing foreign firms currently manufacturing on U.S. soil.

Internships

If you are seeking a career in business or accounting, an internship can help you develop new skills and explore different career paths. We not only have connections in the local business community, but each year representatives from the nation’s four largest accounting firms recruit our accounting students. Apply for an internship.

Experiential Learning in Wealth Management

Students in the Principles of Financial Planning course are paired with local Certified Financial Planners,®  who act as mentors throughout the semester.  The mentors meet with the students during lunches and breakfasts to discuss current financial topics that affect CFP’s® and to advise the students on basic concepts regarding putting together a personal financial plan.

At the end of the semester, the students deliver presentations on their personal financial plans and are judged by a panel of six other CFP’s®.  The judges offer constructive criticism and advice on the work the students have done.

Using the Consulting Framework to Help Remedy Local Business Problems

Local companies are partnering with students in the “Strategic Implementation and Innovation” course to help solve a problem faced by the company operations.   As different companies request a partnership, they will bring a different operational problem.

In this type of engaged experience, students strengthen their foundational coursework by being a part of the full problem-solving cycle.  Their study of the company includes site visits, project analysis, synthesizing and developing questions, understanding the company and industry processes, using professional communications, exhibiting leadership, and utilizing team dynamics.

At the end of the semester, a student presentation is given to the company’s executive team.   Then the cycle repeats with another group of students, a new company, and a new problem.

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA)

Furman students in Intermediate Accounting I and Advanced Financial Accounting participate in the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) service-learning project.  As participants in this program, students travel to United Way VITA sites in the community and spend at least 15 hours preparing income tax returns for low-income taxpayers free of charge.  The impact of this service is significant as tax payers are able to save several hundred dollars in tax return preparation fees while receiving assistance from certified tax preparers.  Prior to VITA service, students are trained in tax return preparation and must pass a certification exam.  Throughout their service, students prepare written reflections and consider the impact of their service on themselves and on their community.

In addition to providing a valuable community service, the benefits to students are significant as VITA service involves far more than just inputting numbers into a tax return.  Students interview each taxpayer and must develop rapport and a sense of trust in order to effectively obtain information about the client’s life and financial situation. In addition to enhancing their communication skills, VITA service helps students gain technical and organizational skills in a professional environment.

An Interdisciplinary Study of Neighborhood Change and Gentrification

Using an urban displacement typology, researchers randomly selected urban and rural tracts at different stages and conducted focus groups with residents and interviews with local businesses to better understand the local business landscape, displacement pressures, impact on community health, and trust within these neighborhoods.  One student researcher developed an interactive web interface to allow researchers, community leaders, and community residents to more easily evaluate and map changes over time.