One of Elon University’s distinctions is its leadership in the area of “high-impact” educational practices. These high-impact practices are seen as particularly beneficial for the development of undergraduate students. Each year U.S. News & World Report issues a “Focus on Student Success” ranking of key programs that enrich the college experience. Elon is the only university in the nation identified as a leader in the eight high-impact practices: undergraduate research/creative projects, service learning, study abroad, first-year experiences, senior capstone experiences, internships, learning communities, and writing in the disciplines.

The faculty and staff of the Love School of Business are strongly committed to having students engage in high-impact practices. Read on to see how we do this.

Undergraduate Research

The research process involves solving ill-structured problems and employing critical thinking and communications skills. Working under the guidance of a faculty mentor, students engage in inquiry in their chosen field of study and complete an original thesis. Select students present their research in public forums such as Elon’s Spring Undergraduate Research Forum (SURF). Fourteen percent of Love School of Business majors in the Class of 2017 completed undergraduate research while at Elon.

2018 Theses:

The Rise of Incarceration in the U.S.: The Burden of Crime on Society
Evan Becht (mentor: Brandon Sheridan)

Federal Reserve Transparency and its Effect on the Financial Markets in the United States
Nicholas Berntsen (mentor: Vitality Strohush)

Do Student Loans Affect the Decision to Have Children?
Claire Donnellan (mentor: Vitality Strohush)

The Effects of Universal and Free Healthcare on Entrepreneurial Environments: An international analysis
Jonathan Eves (mentor: Tina Das)

Are Prisons the New Asylums? A Look at Transinstitutionalization and the Effects of Mental Illness on Crime within New York State
Amanda Feldman (mentor: Steve Bednar)

Impact of Presidential Elections on Gun Sales
Matthew Furlong (mentor: Brooks Depro)

The Impact that Playing Sports in High School has on Future Earnings
Julie Gibbons (mentor: Katy Rouse)

The Effect of NAFTA on U.S. Manufacturing Employment
Parker Holbrook (mentor: Casey Dirienzo)

Healthy Body, Healthy Mind: The Effect of Child Body Weight on Academic Achievement
Brooke Hunziker (mentor: Katy Rouse)

The Effects of Corporate Taxes on Economic Growth: A U.S. State Empirical Study
Nicholas Kyle (mentor: Brooks Depro)

The Impact of Table Position on English Soccer Spending in January
Bennett Lemanski (mentor: Doug Redington)

Changes in high school start times and teen traffic crashes
Stephan Marsh (mentor: Andrew Greenland)

Exploring the Effect of International Wage Differences on Brain Drain
Austin Martin (mentor: Brandon Sheridan)

The Impact of the Severity of Worldwide Natural Disasters on U.S. Immigration
Marianne Michael (mentor: Vitaliy Strohush)

The Effect of the Estate Tax on the Distribution of Wealth and Income Across States
Calvin Mincer (mentor: Steve Bednar)

Studying what economic factors affect college attendance rates in North Carolina
Andrew Murray (mentor: Tonmoy Islam)

Social Inclusion and Innovation in a Digital World
Caroline Perry (mentor: Haya Ajjan)

Bilingualism and earnings
Adrian Pomeroy (mentor: Tonmoy Islam)

The Relationship Between Income Inequality and Life Expectancy
Christian Reese (mentor: Mark Kurt)

Health and Economic Growth in Developing Countries: An Analysis of Infant Mortality Rates in OECD-Classified Least Developed Countries in 2014-15
Megan Ross (mentor: Tonmoy Islam)

Assessing the Impact of U.S. International Sugar Trade Policy on America’s Drug Epidemic: Evidence from U.S. Counties
James Setzer (mentor: Andrew Greenland)

The Unlikely Determinants of Player Salaries in Premier League Soccer
Patrick Silk (mentor: Doug Redington)

Corporate Tax Rates and Gross Fixed Capital Formation
Adam Wanstall (mentor: Brandon Sheridan)

Migration and Educational Outcomes
Sean Webber (mentor: Brooks Depro)

Issues in Political Economy Undergraduate Research Journal

The Department of Economics supports the undergraduate research journal Issues in Political Economy, which is co-edited by students at Elon and the University of Mary Washington. During the 2016-17 academic year, 26 Elon students served as referees and four were associate editors. In spring 2017, the journal sponsored 12 undergraduate sessions during the Eastern Economic Association annual conference. Seven Elon seniors presented their theses during the conference.

Love Award for Excellence in Business Leadership

The Love School of Business offers the Love Award for Excellence in Business Leadership to rising seniors enrolled in any Love School of Business major. The award honors and provides financial support to complete an independent research project on a business-related topic. The typical project involves an in-depth independent research project that might include an internship, service-learning, leadership or study abroad experience. A project may address a business question for a particular organization or can be broader in scope, addressing an issue that cuts across organizations or industries. Projects will establish standards of creativity and excellence that will inspire others, have clearly defined objectives and tangible results, and will culminate in a written document and public presentation to the faculty and students of the Martha and Spencer Love School of Business and other appropriate parties.

Case Competitions

Case study is a staple of engaged management education. In addition to exposing students to real-world scenarios, it engages them in undergraduate research: gathering information, analyzing that information, developing a recommendation, and communicating that recommendation persuasively. Unique to case studies, however, is the purpose to which the research, analysis and communication are put: to solve a complex business problem or to provide advice to a firm as it looks into new opportunities.

Case studies have also become the basis for case competitions hosted by business schools and firms throughout the world. Love School of Business students participate in a variety of case competitions: business ethics, strategy or market opportunity analysis, as well as competitions within specific disciplines such as accounting, economics or finance.

Students prepare for case competitions by taking specialized courses, independent studies or through membership in student organizations.

Over the years, Love School of Business case competition teams have participated in such competitions as:

  • Collegiate Ethics Case Competition
  • Scotia Bank Ethics in Action Case Competition
  • McDonough-Hilltop Business Strategy Challenge
  • John Molson Undergraduate Case Competition
  • International Collegiate Business Strategy Competition
  • Templeton Business Ethics Case Competition
  • X-Culture Competition
  • CFA Institute Research Challenge
  • Beta Alpha Psi’s Southeast Regional Conference Best Practices Competition
  • Beta Alpha Psi’s Project Run Withit
  • Institute of Management Accountants Student Case Competition
  • College Fed Challenge
  • Great Northwoods Sales Warm-Up
  • National Collegiate Sales Competition
  • BSU Regional Sales Competition
  • Russ Berrie Institute National Sales Challenge
  • World Collegiate Sales Open
  • International Collegiate Sales Competition
  • Diamond Dollars Case Competition
  • “2 Minutes to Win It” Business Idea Contest
  • Enactus Regional Competition
  • MIT Global Startup Workshop’s Elevator Pitch Competition
  • Society for Human Resource Management Student Case Competition
  • Charlotte Venture Challenge
  • Startup Weekend

Service Learning

Performing service provides students the chance to meet a social need while developing skills they would not gain through formal teaching alone. Service is performed through service-learning courses, student organizations, university programs, on-campus events and community partners. Examples of programs Love School of Business students participate in are The Village Project, Safe Rides, ElonTHON and Relay for Life. Eighty-nine percent of Love School of Business majors in the Class of 2017 reported completing at least one service experience while at Elon.

Service-learning Courses

Service-learning courses include service components that are relevant to course objectives. Examples of such courses taught by Love School of Business faculty include Human Resource Management Strategy and Consulting, Marketing Research, Business Communications and Economics of Poverty.

Honor Roll for Social Responsibility

The Love School of Business established the Honor Roll for Social Responsibility to recognize and motivate student volunteerism and community service. The program aims to create responsible business professionals who understand how business success is linked to both financial and social responsible performance. Fifty-nine students earned a place on the honor roll during the 2016-17 academic year.

Global Engagement

Studying abroad gives students the opportunity to expand their global perspective and broaden their cross-cultural awareness, better preparing them for a global business environment. Eighty-one percent of Love School of Business majors in the Class of 2017 reported studying abroad or participating in Study USA at least once during their college career.

Winter Term Study Abroad Courses

The Love School of Business, in conjunction with the Isabella Cannon Global Education Center, offers the following undergraduate Winter Term study abroad courses: Business and Culture of Vietnam, Business and Culture in the Pacific Rim and EUROMED.

Semester-long Programs

Examples of programs Elon students participate in:

  • ESDES Business School – Lyon, France (direct exchange)
  • Business & Culture program – Barcelona, Spain in partnership with CIEE
  • Nanyang Technological University – Singapore (direct exchange)
  • Dublin Business School – Dublin, Ireland in partnership with FIE
  • University of Cape Town – Cape Town, South Africa in partnership with CIEE
  • Elon Center in London
  • Universidad San Francisco de Quito – Quito, Ecuador in partnership with the NC Consortium

Elon MBA Global Experience

MBA students who participate in Elon MBA study abroad can choose between two experiences that are offered each year – a January trip to Asia and a June trip to Europe. The experience focuses on the nature of doing business abroad. This may be projects that research and analyze factors involved in establishing an international operation or, alternately, on the characteristics of local firms in the country visited.

The global experiences have proven to be one of the most attractive elements of the MBA program, with over fifty percent of enrolled students participating during their course of study. The most consistent remark from those students who participate is, “I had no idea what business was actually like in China (or Milan, Prague, Hong Kong, or other destinations) until I actually got to see it with my own eyes. Magazine or newspaper articles cannot being to make so clear the actual feel and excitement of business in places such as Saigon or Shanghai.” Elon is one of the very few part-time MBA programs that offer such an experience.

LSB Center Abroad in Shanghai

In fall 2015, the Love School of Business Center Abroad opened in Shanghai, China. The center offers business students a semester-long study abroad opportunity to take Love School of Business core courses and business electives, as well as complete an internship in Shanghai.

Business Dual Degree Program

The Love School of Business offers a business dual degree program through partnerships with ESB Business School in Reutlingen, Germany, NEOMA Business School in Reims, France, Universidad Pontificia Comillas-ICADE in Madrid, Spain, and Universitá Cattolica Del Sacro Cuore in Piacenza, Italy. In four years, students earn one degree from Elon and one from a European partner institution. Twenty-nine students were enrolled in the program during the 2016-17 academic year.

First-year Experiences

The introductory business course Gateway to Business exposes students to traditional business disciplines as well as broad societal environments in which those disciplines operate and interact. Students explore the meaning of “work” and its role in business, and develop the analytical skills and communication skills expected in the business environment.

Senior Capstone Experiences

Strategic Management, one of the senior capstone courses, involves taking the perspective of key decision-makers in developing a holistic, integrative approach for an organization to achieve sustainable competitive advantage. Through the analysis of current global trends, organizational strengths and challenges, and the competitive environment facing the organization, the course provides a framework and techniques for students to consider strategic organizational decisions. Equally important, the course focuses on how these decisions will be implemented throughout the functional areas (i.e., marketing, finance, supply chain, accounting, human resources, etc.) while considering the organizational and leadership implications of execution. The course actively engages students in a competitive business simulation requiring the application of all functional areas in the pursuit of a chosen strategy.

The BA in Economics degree requires students to complete a research-based capstone, involving writing an original thesis. Students work individually with a faculty mentor to develop their own research question, read the literature, and test theoretical predictions of economic models to address their thesis.

The BSBA in Economic Consulting also requires a research-based capstone, but students work in small groups as they would if they were working in a consulting firm or division. Together they work on a client-driven research project rather than a question of their choosing.


Students who are pursuing degrees in one of the majors in the Love School of Business, with the exception of economics and international economics, must complete the BUS 381 Internship in Business course as a graduation requirement and work in an approved internship experience as a co-requisite. Ninety-two percent of Love School of Business majors in the Class of 2017 reported completing an internship for credit.

What sets the “academic internship” apart from an independent work experience are:

  • The formal partnership for success that includes the academic instructor, work supervisor and student
  • Objective guidance and support to the student during the experience
  • Reflective journaling and feedback to facilitate the learning process
  • Midterm checkups that include a discussion of how this experience has influenced the student’s career direction; it may also include a site visit by a university representative
  • Creation of a presentation that is representative of the culmination of the student’s experiences

The Porter Family Professional Development Center, which was established by a gift from Elon trustee Dave Porter P’11 and his family, provides support and resources to assist students in preparing for and acquiring internships. Ninety-six percent of Love School of Business majors in the Class of 2017 reported completing an internship for academic credit. Students have interned for employers, such as PricewaterhouseCoopers, State Street, Credit Suisse, Booz Allen Hamilton, Morgan Stanley, Coca-Cola, UBS, Prada and BlackRock.

Learning Communities

Business Living Learning Community

The Business Living Learning Community gives students the opportunity to live with like-minded business students and build strong relationships that will last throughout their life, both professionally and personally. Located near the Koury Business Center, the community is very accessible to the class hubs of business students.

Business Living Learning Community members interact with faculty, staff, alumni and students associated with the Love School of Business, participate in professional development activities, and enhance their learning through intentional connections between community programming, academic courses and co-curricular interactions with Elon faculty and staff.

Entrepreneurship Living Learning Community

The Entrepreneurship Living Learning Community provides a residential space for students who share a desire to develop their entrepreneurial thinking. They foster a collaborative environment that encourages continual dialogue and idea sharing among students.

Writing in the Disciplines

Through the Writing Excellence Initiative, Elon aspires to prepare every student, undergraduate and graduate, in every major, to be an excellent writer. The initiative focuses on developing students’ abilities related to three kinds of writing that are aligned with the Elon Commitment’s goal of educating “engaged minds, inspiring leaders, and global citizens.”

  • Writing to learn: We will prepare every Elon graduate to use writing to understand new content and perspectives, analyze information and problems, and generate knowledge.
  • Writing in a discipline: We will prepare every Elon graduate to develop and communicate ideas effectively to readers, for purposes and in contexts that are appropriate for his or her field of study.
  • Writing as a citizen: We will prepare every Elon graduate to communicate effectively with other members of his or her communities on issues of local, regional, or global significance.

Each major in the Love School of Business has courses involving writing projects. A few examples include:

  • Employment Law: A regulatory audit of an existing organization. The purpose of this project is to increase student awareness of specific areas of potential liability for an organization and its supervisors. Students describe the relevant facts, analyze the data in terms of general legal requirements, and make reasoned suggestions for action steps the organization might take to increase compliance and decrease potential liability.
  • Business Economics: A business report for a consulting project. Students are asked to do rigorous analytical work in Microsoft Excel and write up their results and recommendations in report form. Specifically, students use regression analysis in Excel to estimate demand functions and calculate elasticities. They then interpret these calculations and recommend price changes for a hypothetical client. Students also use Solver, a data analysis tool in Excel, to calculate current profit, estimate profit that would result from a proposed merger, and provide recommendations to their client on whether they should go through with the merger.
  • Business Communications: A written report of a deep dissection performed across stock prices for potential employers. This report focuses on the products produced, competitive landscape, and analyst projections. It is designed to be a true reflection of data points and analytics through a prescriptive lens.
  • Strategic Management: An executive brief requiring identification of struggling businesses with a diagnosis of the root cause analysis and identify solutions. The irony of this brief is that most business students focus on strong performing companies, however, the objective is to intentionally choose a poorly performing company and devise a turning point while applying strategic management concepts.
  • Big Data Analysis: A written in-depth industry analysis on one given technology on the Gartner’s hype cycle inclusive of identification of all major players that compete in the space, and a student-defined selection criterion. The analysis includes an evaluation and recommendation of the business-in-class provider.


Through Love School of Business courses, students develop important leadership skills, such as oral and written communications, decision-making, persuasion, team building, innovation and motivation. Students further develop and practice their leadership skills through co-curricular activities, including case competitions, consulting projects and student organizations. Fourty-two percent of Love School of Business majors in the Class of 2017 reported serving in a leadership position for a student organization while attending Elon.

During the 2016-17 academic year, business students held more than 800 leadership positions. Examples of leadership positions include Safe Rides Captains, Lambda Chi Alpha Alumni Relations Officer, Men’s Club Basketball Business Manager, Asian Studies Vice President, Habitat for Humanity Fundraising Chair, Student Union Board Programming Chair, Elon’s Finest Public Relations Representative, Phoenix Pal Program Secretary, Elon Irish Dance Club Treasurer, Alpha Kappa Psi Ritual Chair, Sigma Kappa PHC Delegate and Campus Recreation Team Leader.