Bauer Doctoral Students Find Community, Shared Knowledge at University’s Inaugural GRaSP Day Event

Published on November 10, 2014

Marketing Students Present Research to Houston Community

Three doctoral students from the Department of Marketing & Entrepreneurship at the C. T. Bauer College of Business presented dissertation research at the University of Houston’s inaugural Graduate Research and Scholarships Project Day (GRaSP).

The GRaSP event consisted of talks inspired by the TED Talks series, as well as poster presentations from students representing the 12 academic colleges at UH. Bauer Marketing Professor Vanessa Patrick, who also serves as director of Doctoral Programs at the college, was sub-committee chair of the GRaSP talks and graduate student training.

GRaSP offered an opportunity for our students to take their work and communicate it to a broad non-business audience, Patrick said.

“Graduate school typically hones skills that help you gain scholastic standing by writing papers and speaking in an academic style,” she said. “Events like GRaSP shake students out of that academic bubble and force them to confront the real issues that their research addresses.”

Recent doctoral graduate Jeff Boichuk gave a talk focusing on his research in sales and ethics, winning second place in the GRaSP Publications competition. Bauer College Dean Latha Ramchand left his talk feeling inspired.

“Jeff’s presentation was impactful and left me thinking of ways in which we can use it to promote the Bauer brand, seeking the customer’s ‘why’ to make the ‘how’ more effective. As I left, I spoke to faculty in the elevator who told me that Jeff’s message resonated beyond the business school,” Ramchand said.

Boichuk’s research explores why newly hired salespeople can fall into the undesirable “salesperson” stereotype, finding that missed sales goals are a significant contributor. His study followed 221 new hires selling high-ticket items for their first six months on the job and tracked their sales goals, performance against those goals and intentions to engage with customers in maladaptive ways.

As lead author, Boichuk was nominated to present a talk and jumped at the opportunity. The training helped him to take his article and distill it down to something that was interesting to a wider audience, he said.

“It’s so often with academic research that it will just sit in a journal,” Boichuk said. “It was nice to be able to make things practical.”

Anoosha Izadi

Anoosha Izadi

Bauer doctoral students Anoosha Izadi and Rambod Dargahi also presented their research during the GRaSP poster exhibitions, where they had between 30 seconds and three minutes to share their work with graduate students and faculty from other disciplines throughout the day.

Izadi, in her third year of the doctoral program, studies sensory marketing and has developed a theory of haptic engagement which explains why handwritten labels are more effective than typewritten ones. Dargahi’s research focused on one of social media’s fastest growing components, crowdsourcing.

“It’s a good idea to see other graduate students from different fields,” Dargahi said. “I received so much feedback from other graduate students. It was very helpful because they were not necessarily marketing students and had a different perspective for feedback.”

Rambod Dargahi

Rambod Dargahi

GRaSP keynote speaker Rotary Gallop COO Radhika Dirks, summarized the impact of the GRaSP event by quoting Schrodinger (father of quantum mechanics): “Never lose sight of the role your particular subject has within the great performance of the tragic-comedy of human life. If you cannot – in the long run – tell everyone what you have been doing, your doing has been worthless.”

By Ann Lynd