April 28, 2011

UCARE Program Gives Undergraduate Business Students Research Opportunities

The first thing that comes to mind when thinking about academic research is usually the work done by faculty or graduate students.  At the University of Nebraska-Lincoln the UCARE (Undergraduate Creative Activities and Research Experience) program is available to give undergraduate students a head start in learning how to conduct their own research.  Kin-ian Yin, an actuarial science major from the College of Business Administration, is one of the students who took advantage of the UCARE program to participate in an undergraduate research project this year.  Yin completed his research project with accounting major Sihui Zhou.  Both students are graduating seniors this semester.

Yin and Zhou studied how fraud schemes have changed in the United States since the Sarbannes-Oxley Act was implemented to help counter corporate fraud in the post Enron environment.    The students were following up on a previous research project conducted by faculty advisor, Lei Gao, who studied fraud in the pre-Enron scandal environment.

“The research project is a follow-up of my faculty advisor's research,” said Yin.  “I read her research on the pre-Enron scandal and how fraudulent schemes were concealed and manipulated.  But after that she hadn’t done any research so that’s where me and Sihui Zhou came into play.  We did this research for two years gathering data from the SEC (Security Exchange Commission).  We data mined from those releases and put them in a spreadsheet.  We did comparisons to see how the patterns have changed since 2003 when the Sarbanes-Oxley Act was implemented.”

Yin, who transferred to UNL from Malaysia in 2008, said the research was fascinating but difficult to draw concrete conclusions.

“We saw a decrease in fictitious documents and fictitious revenue.  Those very common types of fraud schemes were reduced significantly after 2003 but there was a significant increase in other methods of overstating revenues.  There are so many different ways that companies can manipulate their accounts that are not commonly known by the general auditor.  My background isn’t in accounting but Sihui Zhou did most of the analysis to study how the companies transferred money.   We bundled all of them into a category called ‘Other Methods of Overstating Revenues’ because there were so many different methods.”

Yin hopes to begin a career as an actuary after he graduates from UNL.  He believes that both the research experience and the CBA Business Ethics program have helped prepare him for his future career.

“I’ve taken a couple capstone courses in management and actuarial science.  We learn standards of practice and codes of conduct so the College of Business really emphasizes a lot of ethics issues during the senior year.  It’s a solid program here.  They also have a lot of research opportunities through the professors and through the UCARE program.  I would tell prospective students to go out there and look for opportunities to do research because you learn a lot of things about the real world business environment.”

Other College of Business Administration students conducting UCARE projects this year included:

Name Year in UCARE Faculty Sponsor Department
Duowei Xia First Year Huishan Wan School of Accountancy
Can financial statements restatements be predicted?
Meng Xiao First Year Linda Ruchala School of Accountancy
The voluntary corporate reporting of environmental impact and sustainability: Is it all good news?
Kin Ian Yin Second Year Lei Gao School of Accountancy
Have they changed their way of cheating? : an analysis of management fraud schemes post Enron and SOX
Sihui Zhou Second Year Lei Gao School of Accountancy
Have they changed their way of cheating? : an analysis of management fraud schemes post Enron and SOX
Maxwell Laird First Year Sam Allgood Economics
Economics Graduate Survey
Shannon McCoy First Year Carlos Asarta Pedraza Economics
Research in Economic Education Database (REED) and the Assessment of Undergraduate Students Majoring in Business and Economics
Hanwei Wei First Year Yijia Lin Finance
Enterprise Risk Management: Strategic Antecedents, Risk Integration and Performance
Yunlu Cao Second Year Keng Siau Management
Exploration Versus Exploitation Learning in Virtual Worlds
Foong Yee Cheng First Year Keng Siau Management
Social Networking Websites and Educational Applications
Ee Von Cheong First Year Fui Hoon (Fiona) Nah Management
Consumer Decision Making in 3D Virtual Worlds
Christopher Chia Second Year Fui Hoon (Fiona) Nah Management
Use of Virtual Worlds for Collaboration
Doug Fernaays Second Year Keng Siau Management
Entrepreneurship Education in Virtual Worlds
Jieling Mai First Year Fui Hoon (Fiona) Nah Management
Financial Implications of Virtual Worlds
Mei Yuann Ng Second Year Keng Siau Management
Hedonic and Utilitarian Dimensions in Virtual World Education
Xinrou Tan Second Year Fui Hoon (Fiona) Nah Management
Virtual Worlds for Marketing
Mei Wan Wong First Year Keng Siau Management
Pedagogical Strategies for Three-Dimensional Virtual World Education
Dan Wu Second Year Fui Hoon (Fiona) Nah Management
Human-Computer Interaction in 3-D Virtual Worlds
Kye Le Ho First Year James Gentry Marketing
Changing nature of masculinity and femininty globally