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Senior presents thesis, gains experience in international collaboration

Stephanie Bedard ’17 presented her thesis and worked on a global team to solve a real business challenge during the Academy of International Business Southeast conference.

Elon University senior Stephanie Bedard presented her undergraduate research thesis and competed in the X-Culture Competition during the 2016 Academy of International Business Southeast (AIB-SE) Annual Conference.

Stephanie Bedard '17, right, and her thesis mentor, Assistant Professor Carri Tolmie, at the 2016 Academy of International Business Southeast Annual Conference.

The Nov. 10-14 conference featured paper presentations, panel discussions, research methodology workshops and junior faculty and doctoral student consortiums.

Bedard presented “Exploring millennials’ social media usage and green consumption” as part of an “International Marketing” session. Three research projects being completed by professors were presented during the session as well.

The international business major and Honors Fellow was also invited to present her thesis in a professional development workshop for the International Journal of Emerging Markets’ special issue, “Global Value Chains, International Trade, and Markets: The Role of Emerging Economies.” In this invitation-only session, Bedard was asked to discuss her paper, so she could receive feedback from the journal editor and special issue editors.

Bedard found the presentation experience encouraging, and is now considering attending graduate school in the future. “I had never seriously considered pursuing graduate studies in business until attending the conference,” Bedard said. “Presenting my Honors research to a group of PhD holders and candidates, and receiving positive feedback, gave me the confidence to put obtaining an advanced business degree on my list of goals for the future.”

The paper’s abstract reads: “Millennials, born between 1980 and 2000, are the first generation to mature in an internationally-interdependent world. Their upbringings were shaped by the Internet and digital communication. For these reasons, millennials grew up exposed to ethical issues stretching beyond their home countries, including concern for the environment. Today, research into the sustainable consumption patterns of millennials is important due to this generation’s increased spending power and prominence in the world’s workforce. Several studies have investigated millennials’ perceptions of sustainable or “green” products, and the factors that make these products appealing. Yet, insight into the green purchase intentions of this demographic and influencing factors is lacking. This study will use a cross-cultural comparison of millennials in the United States, Canada, and Mexico to investigate the influence of social media usage and online interpersonal influence on green purchase intentions. Additionally, culture will be investigated as potential moderator in these relationships using dimensions from Hofstede’s consumer culture theory framework. Data will be collected using 62-item survey administered to millennials in the United States, Canada and Mexico. Results will have important research and managerial implications for marketers, sustainable business strategists and policy-makers.”

Bedard’s faculty thesis mentor is Assistant Professor Carri Tolmie, who accompanied her to the conference. Tolmie was an invited chair for an “International Marketing” session and served as a panelist on a “Research Methods, Cross-Cultural Measurement, Analytics and Metrics” session, in addition to attending the junior faculty consortium.

Bedard worked on a global team during the X-Culture Competition to solve an international business challenge.

Bedard also participated in the the X-Culture Competition during the conference. She and approximately 50 students representing 27 countries were selected from a pool of more than 4,000 students around the world.

In teams, students collaborated virtually the month prior to the competition on solving an international business challenge. At the conference, teams developed and presented a consulting report to a panel of judges. This year’s challenge involved creating a new business model for SYKES, a customer contact management solutions provider, to connect “people with needs” to “people with solutions.”

Bedard’s teammates were from Canada, the U.S., Chile, Slovakia, China and South Korea. They represented the University of Wisconsin, University of Toronto, NEOMA Business School (France), Colegio Universitario de Estudios (Spain), and University of Nottingham-Ningbo (China).

“There is nothing more valuable to an International Business student than collaborating on a global team,” Bedard said. “Many students participate in X-Culture virtually, but I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to meet and work with my team in-person. I gained skills I hope to use in a future career, such as managing geographic, linguistic and cultural barriers. In the end, our team enjoyed working together and we were all very proud of our solution and presentation.”

Nicole Filippo,
11/17/2016 10:55 AM