The College of Business at ACU is committed to involving students in undergraduate research, something that sets us apart from many of our larger competitors. While participating in undergraduate research gives students a hands-on opportunity to conduct research, it also provides students with the chance to be mentored by a memeber of our faculty and to learn from them in a one-on-one setting.
Ashley Truong, a junior marketing major, has had the opportunity to work with Dr. Malcolm Coco on research concerning internships. Ashley describes this project’s focus, saying,
“Our research paper, ‘Content Analysis of Student and Company Reactions to a University Internship Program,’ is about the purpose of internships, the advantages and disadvantages of internships, host companies, student likes and dislikes about internships, and suggestions for host companies and students.”
For the past several years, Dr. Coco has surveyed all COBA interns and their host companies at the conclusion of each internship. Through this survey, Dr. Coco has collected data on suggestions that host companies have for their interns and vice versa, as well as likes and dislikes that each party had about the internship. Because this study has spanned multiple years, Dr. Coco has been able to compile a list of recommendations for both interns and host companies that should help internships flow smoothly.
“At the start of each internship program, I provide the students and host companies a master list of the data collected over the past 10 years,” Dr. Coco elaborated. “This information will hopefully tell the interns and host company representatives what will make their internship experience more meaningful. In other words, to do the things that work and avoid the things that don’t.”
In addition to the external benefits of Dr. Coco’s research results, the actual research process has numerous benefits for students like Ashley, an aspect of the project that Dr. Coco believes is important.
“It is fun to do research with undergrads. It hopefully encourages them to think about masters and maybe doctoral work and of course increases their knowledge about the subject being researched,” he said.
Ashley has enjoyed working on this project, although she has discovered that learning how to find research can be challenging. In spite of the challenges, she feels that the project has taught her a lot, in addition to being very rewarding.
“This has not only been a huge blessing, but it has also been a great learning experience,” she explained. “I have been able to work directly with Dr. Coco on this research project, and project has also allowed me to use what I have learned and apply it to my current classes, especially Marketing Research…I think everyone should find a mentor and friend during college and beyond.”
Congratulations to Ashley Truong and Dr. Malcolm Coco on their acceptance to the ACU Undergraduate Research Festival and to the International Academy of Business and Public Administration Disciplines Conference in Dallas!