ABERDEEN, S.D. – The youngest presenters in a roomful of seasoned academics,
a current and a former Northern State University student performed well in a public exhibition of their business research skills.
Junior Mykenzie Spaulding and recent graduate Joe Klipfel presented papers at the 20th annual Conference on International Business
and Contemporary Issues in Business Sept. 25-28 at the Holiday Inn in Rapid City. Forty-five papers were accepted and 38 presented by people from the U.S., Korea, Finland, Switzerland and Germany.
Presenters usually are academics with Ph.Ds ; less often, Ph.D students, said Allen Barclay, assistant professor of management and marketing in the NSU
School of Business
. One NSU student presented at last year’s conference; Barclay was unsure whether other NSU undergraduates ever had presented before.
“Rarely do we dip down to the undergraduate level for a conference,” said Barclay.
“These kids did something special.”
The students chose topics and, with advisors’ help, prepared papers which School of Business faculty reviewed.
Klipfel graduated with honors from NSU in summer 2013 with a B.S. degree in
marketing. With Barclay and NSU business instructor Kristi Bockorny, he presented “Self-Congruity: A Determinant of Brand Personality.” Klipfel said his point was that consumers, not just marketers, can influence brand image.
Klipfel said he made sure to have a glass of water handy to sip so he wouldn’t talk too fast.
“I was nervous,” he said. “One student standing in a room of professors – that was kind of scary. But they gave me good feedback and asked good questions, and Dr. Barclay was there to save me if they asked something over my head or beyond my scope.”
“Joe is probably one of the brightest students I’ve had,” said Barclay. Barclay, Klipfel and Bockorny are working to submit the paper for publication and use its ideas as the basis for a study. “He’s very excited about his topic and there’s a lot of potential in his paper.”
Klipfel, who played on NSU’s golf team, has a marketing job with Performance Ag Services near Aberdeen. When he has time, he farms near Forbes with his dad, Mike, raising organic oats, barley, sunflowers, corn and soybeans. He said graduate school is a future possibility, after a few years of full-time work.
Spaulding was the youngest presenter with her paper, “Marketing Techniques
Involved in the Women’s National Basketball Association.” Spaulding examined how, through marketing, the WNBA might attain the same level of exposure as the NBA.
“She blends her academic studies and her passion for sports, and it came out in her presentation,” Barclay said.
An unusually long 20-minute question period resulting from another presenter’s absence was a challenge for Spaulding, but questioners were mostly kind.
“They were very supportive and emphasized how much further they think I can go with this,” she said.
Spaulding said having done a significant amount of research for the paper and presenting it should be a valuable asset when she applies to graduate school or for a job.
“I think this was a once-in-your-collegiate-lifespan opportunity, and I’m glad I took advantage of it, even though it was a lot of extra work.”
Spaulding said Northern’s accessible faculty was a big plus. In addition to help from Barclay, Spaulding met with Dr. Jessie Daw, associate professor of health and physical education, for insight on research techniques.
“I love it here; the professors are so great about helping you,” Spaulding said. “[Daw] had nothing to do with my paper, but still was so willing to set aside time.”
Spaulding, from Annandale, Minn., is a redshirt sophomore and forward for NSU basketball . She’s considering a career in marketing – ideally, with the WNBA. She is majoring in business marketing and communications studies with an emphasis on public relations.
Photos, from top: Barclay, Bockorny, Klipfel, Spaulding