Business faculty lead grad, undergrad students on research trip to China
03/05/2014

An injury and a resulting six-month trip delay allowed two College of Business and Entrepreneurship faculty at Fort Hays State University to take four undergraduate students and an MBA student on a research trip to China in January.

Dr. Tony Gabel, an associate professor of management and marketing and the inaugural holder of the college’s Lusk Faculty Member of Distinction Award, and Justin Evans, instructor of management and marketing and the college's international coordinator, conducted research on how international companies can best strategically account for the various legal systems in which they operate.

Originally scheduled for July 2013, the trip was not originally intended to include students, but that changed when a knee injury that required surgery sidelined Gabel less than 24 hours before the flight to Shanghai. The trip was rescheduled for this year.

Gabel and Evans took advantage of the delay to apply for an Undergraduate Research Experience (URE) grant from the FHSU Office of Scholarship and Sponsored Projects and received full funding to take two students to China. The students were to assist the faculty with their research and would also complete their own research papers for undergraduate scholarly journals.

When more than 20 excellent students applied, Gabel and Evans sought and received additional funding from the FHSU Provost’s Office, the Graduate School, the College of Business and Entrepreneurship, and the Department of Management and Marketing. The additional funding enabled Gabel and Evans to take two additional undergraduate students and one graduate student.

The faculty and students spent one week in Shanghai and another week in Beijing.

Their first article on their research will be published in spring 2014 in the North Carolina Journal of International Law & Commercial Regulation. While the North Carolina article proposes a general framework for the synthesis of law and international strategy, the faculty members' recent trip to China will form the basis of a new article that applies their ideas to the Chinese market specifically.

The four senior undergraduates were chemistry major Seth Gooding, Haven (67543), finance major Amanda Groff, Hays (67601), finance major Matthew Whitmore, St. Francis (67756), and graphic design major Adam Wilbur, Wichita (67212).

Aaron "Tres" York III, Indianapolis, Ind. (46219), Master of Business Administration candidate, was the graduate student.

In China, the team interviewed nearly 40 senior executives and attorneys, who spoke on the Chinese legal system and its impact on foreign companies.

"Traveling to China with the College of Business was an eye-opening experience," said Gooding. "The opportunity to conduct meaningful, cutting-edge research in international business with world-renowned firms was truly an unparalleled one. As a result of this research experience, I have gained valuable insight on the world, international business, conducting research and my future career plans. I highly encourage anyone with the opportunity to take advantage of experiences like this one to do so."

The trip was the first overseas experience for Professor Gabel and for four of the five students.

"Visiting China through the undergraduate research program was an incredible and well worthwhile experience," said Whitmore. "I had traveled many times before, but never to the East Asia area. It was amazing to see how another group of people live, and being able to experience that culture is something I won’t soon forget. It's opportunities like these here at Fort Hays State University that prepare students like myself to be forward thinking and world ready."

Groff was similarly enthusiastic. "The Undergraduate Research Experience in China was a wonderful and affordable opportunity. I learned so much not only through our research, but also about the amazing culture. Being able to see the Great Wall in person was such a humbling experience. China is a country with such an interesting history, and I am so thankful I had the opportunity to see it!"

Leslie Paige, who coordinates the FHSU Undergraduate Research Experience, said that "undergraduate research is a valuable activity for many reasons. This project is a prime example of how participating in research as an undergraduate can provide great opportunities for students and contribute new knowledge."

The FHSU College of Business and Entrepreneurship offers degrees, certificates and course work in a number of business disciplines including management, marketing, business law, economics, finance, accounting and informatics. The college embraces international and cross-cultural skills as core elements of its mission to prepare students to excel in the twenty-first century marketplace. The college offers its Bachelor of Business Administration degree on campus in Hays, through the FHSU Virtual College and at Sias International University, FHSU's partner university near Zhengzhou, China.


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