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Business Trip

Ohio Northern University business students reap the rewards of a job well done.

Imagine standing in front of a crowd getting ready to make a presentation. The lights are blinding and all eyes are on you. Despite the hours that you have prepared, your stomach flips and you desperately want to be anywhere but where you are.

“I was nervous,” says Andrew Jacoby, a senior management major from Columbus, Ohio. “It was the first time I had presented in such a professional environment, so I was not really sure what to expect.”

Andrew Jacoby and Matt Dutro at Commencement.

Jacoby, along with fellow senior management major Matthew Dutro, of Dayton, Ohio, were in Chicago, Ill. at the North American Marketing conference, presenting a research paper they co-authored for their Nonprofit Management class at Ohio Northern University.

Although public speaking can be a nerve-wracking experience for many people, Jacoby and Dutro were confident in their research and confident from the support they’d received from ONU. It certainly didn’t hurt that so many people at the conference expressed interest in their presentation.

Their paper, “Accuracy of the Automatic Revocation of Exemption List for the State of Ohio,” describes a newly passed federal tax law that requires all nonprofit organizations to file taxes. Its passage led to more than 270,000 nonprofit organizations losing their nonprofit status. Of this amount, 10,000 of these organizations were in Ohio. The paper looks at why so many Ohio organizations were effected.

“Professionals felt a connection to our paper as many were associated with nonprofit organizations,” says Dutro. “We give researchers background knowledge to perform similar tests in their states to determine if the results are comparable.”

The North American Marketing Conference is an important conference in the field, covering all aspects of business —marketing, finance, accounting and management. However, even after their paper was accepted by the conference, Jacoby and Dutro weren’t sure they would be able to present it do to the costs involved with a trip to Chicago. So they did what any enterprising young entrepreneurs would do, they asked for some venture capital.

Having already received so much support from their professors while writing their paper, they figured it would be worth asking Dr. James Fenton, dean of The James F. Dicke College of Business Administration, for help.

“We did have a short period of time between when we got accepted to the conference and when we got the financial assistance from Dean Fenton,” says Jacoby. “However, we were confident that he would be able to help us out. Dean Fenton made our trip possible, and we owe him a lot of thanks.” 

It was not the first time students received monetary support to present research at a professional meeting. According to Fenton, students are encouraged to do research on current topics that are of interest to various fields in business, and to present their research at professional meetings.

“The research done by Andrew and Matt is an example of this type of work,” he says.

The Dicke College of Business Administration is representative of the University in that it values the unique experience students obtain in both doing high quality undergraduate research and presenting it to both academics and professionals in field, and provides financial assistance to do so. These experiences benefit the student and also build the academic reputation of the college nationally.

“This is not something that every business school provides to its students,” says Fenton. “We do because we wish to encourage our students to do more of it, and it provides them with a unique professional experience.”

With only a few other undergraduates presenting at the conference, Jacoby and Dutro feel like they contributed to it by offering a slightly different perspective from most of the other presenters who were mainly professionals, professors and graduate students. They themselves certainly gained from the experience.

“Presenting opens so many doors. You are able to get to know other people outside of the academic realm and potentially get post-graduate opportunities,” says Dutro.
“It gave us an experience that is difficult to reproduce in the classroom,” says Jacoby.

Both encourage other students to seek out opportunities to present their research. After all, says Jacoby, “It’s not nearly as scary an experience as it may seem.”

—Katie Hozan
Senior, Communication Arts major
Homerville, Ohio