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Business Appraiser Shares Methodology in Financial Economics Class

Mr. Becket presents in the Financial Economics class at Stamford on September 15, 2022

Mr. Peter Becket, a proprietor of Becket Business Appraisals, LLC visited the ECON 3413 Financial Economics class at Stamford on September 15, 2022. In this course, students learn company valuation techniques and apply those to a selected publicly traded company.

Mr. Becket has been an appraiser of privately owned businesses for over 40 years. So, his presentation gave students a real-world view of how he goes about valuing businesses that are not publicly traded.

Peter’s very engaging and interactive presentation showed how financial statements analysis and discounted future cash flow methodology are used in evaluating financial prospects of a closely held companies. Students learnt many nuances of appraisal business, which are not covered in the textbook. Peter shared several publications that present data of financial ratios, for example, which could be consulted for a benchmark analysis. He also explained his proprietary methodology for company valuation. Students were able to ask questions about the business and seek Peter’s advice about their career aspirations.

Mr. Becket encouraged students to invest in their learning, join professional associations, and start their careers working for someone else before venturing on their own if they decide to start their own professional practice. His talk connected the textbook material to the real-world appraisal business.

Dr. Smirnova, who is the instructor in this class, and the students are grateful to Mr. Becket for his time and invaluable wisdom, suggestions, and encouragement. The talk was very fun, as well.

Economics at the Major Fair at the Stamford Campus

Photo (left to right): Economics Seniors Miriam Salazar-Rey, James McQuade, and Gerson Jacinto at the Economics Major table on September 15, 2022.

On September 15, 2022, there was a buzz around the Rich Concourse at the Stamford campus. Various academic fields, representing majors and minors offered at UConn Stamford, were showcased. The Economics Department was represented by students majoring in Economics with Professor Smirnova in attendance as well.

The Economics table was one of the most visited through the two-hour period. Economics seniors Miriam Salazar-Rey, James McQuade, and Gerson Jacinto enthusiastically shared information about the academic course of study, about various economics paths within the profession, and about the College Fed Challenge competition, a popular extra-curricular activity at Stamford.

Students also shared various career readiness events that they have attended on campus and competencies that they have developed in Dr. Smirnova’s classes. Business community leaders’ visits, career panels, Career Development Center professionals’ presentations, and other events – all of these, in students’ view, contribute to the satisfaction with the Economics major at Stamford.

Stephen Acquah (MSQE 2023) awarded a National Association of Business Economists Scholarship

Stephen Acquah, a 1st year student in the Masters of Science in Quantitative Economics (MSQE), was named a 2022-23 National Association of Business Economists (NABE) Scholar.

The NABE Scholars program provides scholarships to NABE conferences specifically to minority students and early-career economists to attend NABE conferences and events.  Alex Gu (UConn MSQE 2022) was a 2021 designee of this award.

Stephen is one of 20 selected scholars  and holds a Master of Science in Economics from the University of Verona, Italy, and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Mathematics from the University of Cape Coast, Ghana. He aspires to become a future Tech-economics expert and a Certified Business Economist (CBE).

The UConn MSQE Program is a participating partner and students can earn the CBE certification by completing MSQE courses, completing the CBE certification exam, and two years of work experience in applied business economics or in a related field.

Spring 2022 Awards

Uconn sealWhile the department is not able to celebrate with an awards banquet this year, we still are able to recognize the best among undergraduate and graduate students, as well as faculty!

This year’s award recipients are:

Undergraduate Awards

Economics Department General Scholarship

Shuo Han
Samuel Jackson
Tamara Shelley
Grace Smith
Khoa Tran
Yinuo Xiang
Ziyun Zhou

Kathryn A. Cassidy Economics Scholarship

Nidhi Nair
SeSe Nguyen

Rockwood Q. P. Chin Scholarship

Nadine Fernando
Prasad Gosavi
Pin Lyi
Choyang Wang

Louis D. Traurig Scholarship

Adem Aksoy
Allen Cazeau
Jeremy Salyer
Benjamin Scudder

Paul N. Taylor Memorial Prize

Erin McKeehan

Julia & Harold Fenton and Yolanda & Augustine Sineti Scholarship

Shuyi Bian

Charles Triano Scholarship

John Doran
Beatrix Jordan

Dr. Joseph W. McAnneny Jr. Scholarship

Erik Choi
Ryan Durrel
Gregory Elmokian
Kevin Gabree
Prabhas KC
Joshua Waxman
Justin Wu

Albert E. Waugh Scholarship

Annaliesa Wood

Ross Mayer Scholarship

Cole Ensinger
Jordan Leonardi


Graduate Awards

W. Harrison Carter Award

Ruohan Huang
Ziyun Wu

Abraham Ribicoff Graduate Fellowship

Lindsey Buck

Timothy A. and Beverly C. Holt Economics Fellowship

Matthew Brown
Shangyue Jiang
Keuncheol Lee
Kunze Li
Lulin Li
Ghania Shuaib
Sirui Qiu
Zhengxuan Wu

Economics Department General Scholarship

Anastassiya Karaban

Best Third Year Paper Award

Jiaqi Wang

Graduate School Pre-Doctoral Fellowship

Sirui Qiu
Zhengxuan Wu
Heshan Zhang

CLAS Summer Fellowship

Erdal Asker
Matthew Brown
Jingyun Chen
Jinsoon Cho
Zhenhao Gong
Shangyue Jiang
Keuncheol Lee
Lulin Li
Yizhi Zhu


Faculty Awards

Grillo Family Research Award

Delia Furtado
Subhash Ray

Grillo Family Teaching Award

Mike Shor

 

Congratulations to everyone!

Frontiers in Undergraduate Research 2022 at Storrs

Griffin O'Neill PosterGriffin O’Neill, a senior with a double major in Economics and Geography, presented a poster visualizing data on the topic of National Football League (NFL) Attendance and Anthem Protests in 2016.

Using the ArcGIS, software, Griffin plotted a base map representing the Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area (SMSA) of each NFL stadium and the change in home game attendance between the 2015 and 2016 seasons. Then in separate maps he overlaid on the base map the number of player anthem protests for each team, the number of police shootings of unarmed black men in the SMSA of the home team, and voting results in the 2016 Presidential election in the counties comprising the SMSA of the home team.

The poster was part of an independent study project conducted with Prof. Oskar Harmon.

Frontiers in Undergraduate Research 2022 at Stamford

Stamford Frontiers in Undergraduate Research PosterThis year, marking the 25th anniversary of the Frontiers in Undergraduate Research Program at UConn, the Stamford campus had the first inaugural Frontiers event on April 12. The Frontiers program creates a culture of inquiry and engagement and enriches the undergraduate experience of our students.

At Stamford, students’ presentations were in-person and guests from the local community were invited. Twelve Stamford students from various disciplines delivered results of eight diverse research projects they have undertaken during this academic year.

Dr. Smirnova’s student, Matthew Gilshteyn, presented his research entitled “How Will Infrastructure Act Impact Nuclear Energy Production Costs?”, which stems from his work in ECON 3431W – “Public Economics” class. In his paper, Matthew conducted regression analysis on the data from U.S. Department of Energy and Nuclear Energy Institute and using the regression equation estimated the costs of nuclear energy production for 2022 and 2023. Matthew concluded that the Infrastructure Act’s allocation of resources towards alternative energy will decrease the cost of nuclear energy production by 8.2% by 2023. During the Frontiers event, Matthew answered questions from the audience and defended the nuclear energy as the safest energy source compared with other sources.

This year, the “posters” that students developed were in the electronic format and were projected on a big screen at the Welcome Center Atrium at the Stamford campus. Those posters will now be shown till the end of the semester on the monitors in the Concourse rotating among all eight projects.

The inaugural Frontiers event at the Stamford campus showcased the diversity of talent of our students and the continuing effort of the faculty to strengthen the undergraduate research program.

Thank you to the Office of Undergraduate Research and the Honors Program for organizing this beneficial event at the Stamford campus.

Smirnova and Gilshteyn at Frontiers in Undergraduate Research EventPhoto: Dr. Smirnova (left) and Matthew Gilshteyn at the Frontiers in Undergraduate Research event in Stamford, April 12, 2022.

Writing-Intensive Class is Visited by a Writer

Professor Smirnova’s ECON 3431W – Public Finance Writing Intensive class was visited in March by a professional writer and entrepreneur, UConn Stamford Economics major alumna, Anne McAuley Lopez (CLAS ’96). Ms. Lopez, is a business owner of Agency Content Writer, LLC.

Company Logo for Agency Content Writer

Writing-intensive courses are always challenging for students. Professor Smirnova’s class focuses on writing a scientific research paper in economics, which is often the first time a student is exposed to a scientific writing approach. It is overwhelming for students to face a fast-paced environment of selecting a topic, formulating a research question or a hypothesis, conducting literature review, obtaining and analyzing data to find the answer to the research question or accept or reject the hypothesis. All of that with the emphasis on scientific writing with in-text citations and a proper bibliography.

Ms. Anne Lopez volunteered to help with the inspiration of students several years ago. She worked with Dr. Smirnova to prepare a series of videos that motivate students along their research journey. These videos are now on HuskyCT site for this course. This year, Anne came to the class itself, albeit virtually.

On that evening in March, Anne started by sharing her story about how she changed her career from financial analyst (she was an Economics major!) to a writer. On her company website, Anne writes: “Since my earliest years, I remember loving writing. Teachers would give us options of telling stories visually with poster boards and markers or with words. I always chose words.” She told students that she discovered that people value her writing and would ask her for help. Eventually, she decided to change her career and since September 2010, she has been a professional writer, helping businesses get found online.

Students were appreciative to hear Anne’s wisdom about being open to change and being flexible. Another advice: find what you are passionate about, and that passion complemented by hard work will lead you to success.

In the second part of the evening, Ms. Lopez talked with students about their selected topics and recommended several strategies of how to cope with writer’s block, find inspiration in reading, and how to “eat an elephant” (you have to be in class to know what that means!). Students responded well to her allegories and had fun discussing their challenges with writing in this class.

Such visits from UConn alumni are very valuable. They connect students to the real-world and to UConn graduates, especially if those graduates pursued the same major while in college. The stories of career trajectories, the stories of workplace dynamics are inspiring and insightful. For the alumni, such visits give the opportunity to connect with younger generation, to share successes and challenges, and to give back to the University.

Thank you, Ms. Lopez, for your work with us!

Professor Furtado on NPR’s All Things Considered

Nursing homes are really struggling. We all witnessed the devastating number of Covid deaths in nursing homes throughout the pandemic. Now, nursing homes are toiling with labor shortages that make it very difficult to provide adequate care for residents. While the immediate impacts of the pandemic will eventually stabilize, in the coming decades, nursing homes will need to cope with increases in the demand for their services as baby boomers age. How will an industry that has struggled to hire and keep enough workers even before the pandemic be able to address the increasing care needs of an aging population?

One potential solution: A more open immigration policy. Professor Delia Furtado’s new research shows that nursing homes in areas receiving more immigrants are able to provide better quality care for residents. She talked about why this might be on The Indicator Podcast. Part of this interview aired on All Things Considered.

In related work, PhD student Treena Goswami finds that older college-educated native-born women remain in the labor force longer when they live in areas with more immigrants. Her analysis suggests that when immigrants are available to provide inexpensive care-giving or housekeeping services, older women (who can afford these services) do not have to prematurely leave the labor force in order to provide full time care for loved ones. Further evidence that policies allowing for more immigration might help the U.S. address the care-giving needs of an aging population.

Economics Undergraduate Student Selected as 2022 University Scholar

Congratulations to Economics student Elisa Shaholli, who is among the seventeen University of Connecticut undergraduates who have been selected as the 2022 University Scholars:

Elisa Shaholli

Major: Economics
Project Title: Religious Identity and Diabetes: A Muslim American Perspective
Committee: Brenda Brueggemann, English and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies; Metin Cosgel, Economics; and Kelly Newlin Lew, Nursing.

“Open to undergraduate students from all of the University’s schools and colleges, the University Scholar Program allows students to design and pursue an in-depth research or creative project and to craft a learning plan that supports their interests and academic goals during their final three semesters. Each student is mentored by an advisory committee of three faculty.

Admission is based on an application submitted during the first semester of a student’s junior year. Applications are reviewed by an interdisciplinary committee of faculty members who may select up to 30 University Scholars in any given year. The strongest proposals will show exceptional breadth and/or depth and will bring together multiple fields of study, methodologies, and/or points of view. Graduation as a University Scholar recognizes a student’s extraordinary engagement with self-reflective learning and research or creative endeavors.”

universityscholars.uconn.edu

UConn-Stamford Team Competes in the 2021 College Fed Challenge

This Fall 2021, UConn Stamford team participated again in the College Fed Challenge national competition. College Fed Challenge is a team competition for undergraduate students. Teams analyze economic and financial conditions and formulate a monetary policy recommendation, modeling the Federal Open Market Committee.

In 2021 the competition once again was virtual. Each team had to create and then upload a 15-minute video presentation encompassing the following:

  1. An analysis of current economic conditions (as of the day of the competition); these conditions may include broad macroeconomic conditions as well as conditions experienced in different geographic areas, in urban/rural areas, or among different demographic and socioeconomic groups (e.g., racial and ethnic groups, age groups), borrowers and savers, etc.
  2. A forecast of near-term economic and financial conditions relevant to the formulation of monetary policy.
  3. A discussion of significant risks to the economy that should receive special attention in formulating monetary policy; these risks may include the possible effects (positive or negative) of monetary policies on different segments of the population.
  4. A monetary policy recommendation, encompassing both traditional tools and newer approaches as warranted; presenters should give supporting reasons for their recommendation.

The Stamford team consisted of six students who divided their responsibilities for research, organization, presentation, and video creation according to their passions, skills, and interests. Here is the team:

Aidan Connolly (Captain) is a seasoned team leader with extensive experience in data-driven decision making. He is currently finishing his final semester at The University of Connecticut, where he will graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics this December. Aidan was elected by his peers to lead the UConn College Fed Challenge Team. His areas of expertise include public speaking, sustainable economic practices, and quantitative modeling. Aidan enjoys cycling, skiing, and socializing in his free time. After graduation in December of 2021, Aidan will continue to consult with the UConn College Fed Challenge Team and begin his career in software sales. Read Aidan’s reflection about the course here.

Gabriella Barg is a senior majoring in Economics with a minor in Accounting. Taking part in the Fed challenge in her remaining semesters has been one of the most academically enriching adventures in her undergrad. The freedom to choose what to research in the current American economy within diverse themes is an informative experience. After spring 2022 graduation, she looks forward to carrying on her refined skills in her professional life, pursuing a Master’s in Accounting Fall 2022. Read Gabriella’s reflection about the course here.

Jorge Cuautla Jr. is a proficient researcher with substantive experience. Combined with the resourcefulness and analytical capabilities, the introduction of the College Fed Challenge was the perfect opportunity to showcase his research abilities. Jorge’s focus as a member of the College Fed Challenge team was the United States Gross Domestic Product (or GDP). The participation in the College Fed Challenge expanded Jorge’s employment opportunities. With positions offered by Amazon, PepsiCo, Northwestern Mutual, and much more, it was difficult to narrow down a future home. Post-graduation, Jorge will continue his macroeconomics research while working as an Analyst at TD Bank. Read Jorge’s reflection about the course here.

Matt Gilshteyn is a sophomore at UConn, majoring in Marketing Management. This is his second semester as a Practicum team member. This course helped him develop a better understanding of the Federal Reserve’s influence on our economy and how real-life projects are completed. The class also demonstrated how different sectors and industries contribute to the decisions of the Federal Reserve. Matt selected the energy sector in hopes of better understanding this sector and its operations. He focused on renewable energy because it showed serious potential for growth within the energy sector. Researching and interpreting data was very insightful, and the skills that he developed helped explain how the energy sector can impact the Fed’s decision. Read Matt’s reflection about the course here.

Sava Logvinski is an experienced negotiator, with an extensive background in team development. His ambitions are high, and dreams are endless. Sava is one who emphasizes the value of asking questions. He enjoys learning new concepts and is quick to grasp them. The Fed Challenge allowed him to gain a holistic approach to monetary policy, implementing his fundamental economic analysis obtained at UConn. He focused on the sector of employment, specifically on automation and future outlook. As a senior majoring in Economics, Sava interviewed this semester with several companies. After careful consideration, he decided to accept his offer with Celonis starting January 2022. Celonis is the world’s leading process mining software company. Process Mining is a new big data analytics technology designed to help customers optimize their operations. Process Mining goes through the already existing log data every IT system produces and finds out where improvements are needed. Why? In order to be more efficient than your competitors, get rid of bottlenecks, make your customers even happier and create processes that everybody loves to deal with. The Fed Challenge prepared Sava with public speaking and presentation skills needed to succeed in the world of sales. Through studying new AI technology and understanding the economic impacts, he was able to identify proper use cases, and deliver. He is excited to begin his journey post graduation, and help businesses unlock full execution capacity. Read Sava’s reflection about the course here.

Ashley Balta (alternate) grew up in Greenwich and graduated from Greenwich High School. Ashley is a first-generation college student, and she participated in the AVID program to help her with the process of higher education. At UConn, she majored in Economics. Ashley enjoys the arts as she has been dancing ballet at the Ballet School of Stamford since the age of 3. As a member of the diversity club, she continued her volunteering work for the AVID program as a mentor. Currently, Ashley is starting the foundation of her small-Hispanic-owned business. After graduation, she plans to pursue her master’s for further education. Since joining the Fed Challenge course over the summer, she realized it was the perfect opportunity to increase her knowledge of several sectors of the economy. Being a student-led class, this course taught her the fundamentals of planning, impact instructions, and work-related responsibilities. Read Ashley’s reflection about the course here.

All students worked diligently and cooperatively through two semesters. The final video presentation can be seen here. Even though, the Stamford team was not selected to advance into the final round, the team is proud of the work they have done.

As students’ reflections show, the participation in the Challenge is very rewarding. In addition to learning about the economy and monetary policy, students gain skills in research, analysis, and teamwork, all of which are transferable to their future careers and academic endeavors.

Congratulations UConn – Stamford College Fed Challenge Team 2021!

 

Photo (left to right): Jorge Cuautla, Gabriella Barg, Ashley Balta, Sava Logvinski, Dr. Smirnova, Matt Gilshteyn, Aidan Connolly.