Concord Students Present Research at National Conferences

For Immediate Release: 
Sep 22 2004

Concord Students Present Research at National Conferences

Athens, W.Va. – For the first time, undergraduate students from Concord University presented an article at a national meeting in Chicago, Il. The meeting was the annual gathering of the Midwest Business Administration Association (MBAA). These same students will present refined research at the Southeastern infORMs Conference in Myrtle Beach, S.C. in October 2004.

The paper first presented at MBAA, authored by Christy Elliott, of Cannelton, W. Va., and Jason Fraley, of New Haven, W. Va., under the supervision of Dr. Christopher Ziemnowicz, Associate Professor of Business, was entitled: “The Case for Sustainable Development: an Oil Company Operating in Nigeria.” It was the only paper accepted for presentation at the conference by undergraduate students.

The Midwest Academy of International Business (AIB) Chapter meets in Chicago for its annual meeting and conference. This annual gathering of researchers, scholars, and teachers from around the U.S. provides a venue for the presentation of scholarly works. Papers were selected for presentation consistent with the theme of "Ethical Organizational Practices for the 21st Century,” on the basis of a very rigorous selection process.

The student’s research analyzed the public proclamations concerning sustainable development in Nigeria by Royal Dutch/Shell Group. The actions by this company have recently prompted outside critics to question whether the company really conducts its business with a strategic focus on sustainability. The firm’s activities in Nigeria were evaluated. The research concluded with suggestions to improve management decision-making at Shell to emphasizing the benefits of following community and ecologically-friendly strategies.

The project began as a case assignment in Dr. Christopher Ziemnowicz’s International Business course. The students then expanded the material as one of the required group presentations in a Strategic Management course and continued their work in a practicum.

Christy Elliott and Jason Fraley, as well as Anthony Johnson of Vienna, W. Va., attended other sessions that included a presentation by trade representatives from Switzerland and Hong Kong. They discussed international business issues as they relate to their country, the United States, and for world trade as a whole.

“The AIB session presented by Christy Elliott and Jason Fraley was concluded by accolades from professors of International Business in attendance from a number of Universities. The opportunity these students had to prepare for the Midwest AIB meeting and to be a part of the annual MBAA conference in Chicago will serve them well in their future academic and professional endeavors,” said Dr. Ziemnowicz.

Although there are separate competitive tracks for doctorial and MBA students, this article was submitted through the regular process.

Eleven formal organizations with over 700 active members make up the MBAA. These organizations represent a variety of disciplines, including accounting, economics, finance, health administration, human resources, information systems, insurance, international business, legal studies, management, marketing, operations management and entrepreneurship and case studies.

The Academy of International Business (AIB) is the leading association of scholars and specialists in the field of international business.

The students made their presentation in the spring of 2004. At the conference, academicians and researchers offered comments and suggestions to the students. The students then used this input to improve and refine their research. The updated research was accepted into the Southeastern InfORMs Conference, another acclaimed research conference designed for experienced researchers. They were again the only undergraduate students to have their research accepted for the conference by a panel of experienced research faculty. They will present their research at the conference October 2004.

“The panel had no idea whether this research came from a person with a doctorial degree or an undergraduate student,” said Dr. Ziemnowicz, “they were selected based on the quality of their research.”

The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (InfORMs) is an international scientific society with 10,000 members, including Nobel Prize laureates, dedicated to applying scientific methods to help improve decision-making, management and operations. Members of InfORMS work in business, government and academia. They are represented in fields as diverse as airlines, health care, law enforcement, the military, the stock market and telecommunications.

“They’re starting a lifelong process of development through their undergraduate experience at Concord, and that’s something that will benefit them for their entire careers,” Dr. Ziemnowicz emphasized. “They are proud representatives for this university.”

For information on attending Concord call 1-888-384-5249 or 1-304-384-5248 or e-mail


Jesse Call, a student in Concord University’s political science department wrote this press release. His hometown is Pocahontas, Va.