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Future Business Leaders Committed to Changing the World for the Better


The COVID-19 pandemic forced millions of workers to adapt to a remote working environment nearly overnight. This reality tested the limits of enterprise technology, making this transition uniquely remarkable. For these reasons, the early 2020s present an important time to revisit the utility of worker autonomy and job meaningfulness to prepare for a post-pandemic workplace.

The textile industry produces substantial waste and environmental impacts in its production of textile goods. Waste management strategy is an issue in the textile industry as companies seek new ways to reduce environmental impacts of their production. The purpose of this research is to understand how textile companies are currently managing and reducing their waste and integrating sustainability into their production.

Rising technologies enable people to create, list, and trade cryptocurrencies much easier, cheaper, and faster. However, the low entry barriers and censorship-free environment are abused by scammers. Many new cryptocurrencies—including meme coins created around memes and inside jokes and have no fundamental values—were devised following the launch and success of these technologies.

Often seen as a “blueprint for change,” the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) require a strong commitment on the part of member-states to follow through on the expectations set forth by the international community. That being said, no single country can address the issues without multi-lateral support. For that reason, I contend that SDG 17: “Partnership for the Goals,” is a prerequisite to realizing the impacts of any other goal.

The twenty-first century has marked the growth of the triple bottom line: people, planet, and profits. What was initially a catchphrase used by the most environmentally conscious firms, the triple bottom line has become a priority for firms around the globe. Rather than solely focusing on short-term profitability, the business world is looking to long-term wealth generation strategies that empower stakeholders. The emphasis on firms to balance wealth generation with environmental preservation has culminated in the prominence of ESG investing.

With increased tensions with Russia and the ambitious energy goals set at the Paris Climate Accord, Europe is scrambling to find new sources of low-emissions energy. The Gulf States (GCC) are Europe’s best hope to meet their energy goals in the medium to long-term while simultaneously tapering their reliance on Russian natural gas in the short-term.

The term ESG (environmental, social, and governance) investing was coined in 2005, but it has only recently become a priority in the business world. Sustainability no longer exclusively refers to climate impacts, but it also considers the effects companies have on their internal employees and the communities in which they work. In order to create a resilient company, business leaders must take into account environmental, social, and governance challenges.

An asset’s expected return is based on a set of risk factors and the asset’s exposure to each factor. A core pillar of factor investing research has been the identification of new factors that can best explain cross-sectional returns. Researchers have identified hundreds of factors, but many of these factors are redundant, containing similar information about risk. A key challenge is using this vast collection of discovered factors to determine which factors are actually the most important.

Saudi Arabia is economically evolving as they diversify their economy away from oil because of scarcity concerns. Understanding the impact that entrepreneurship has on their economy is valuable considering Saudi Arabia released Vision 2030, which is a set of entrepreneurial-driven initiatives that aims to diversify their economy.

Although the first affordable housing program begin in 1917, the United States still faces a significant shortage of affordable housing today. The shortage disproportionately affects low-income workers who cannot afford to live near their jobs and face growing commutes. In order to mitigate the worsening effects of the shortage on lower income workers, non-governmental organizations are increasingly engaged in workforce housing development. This research draws on the extant literature, key informant interviews and surveys of affordable housing experts, and case studies of actual workforce housing development projects to create a set of “promising practices” that colleges and universities can deploy to develop much-needed workforce housing for some of their employees.

Author: Emily Arnold, Class of 2020
Faculty Advisor: Jim Johnson, UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School

The integration of social media marketing into the Theatre District has shifted Broadway from a passive experience to a multi-dimensional dialogue. A Broadway show’s cast and creative team now have the opportunity to connect with fans directly as well as to release social media content to the public for further show enjoyment. What research has yet to address, however, is the extent to which an effective social media presence directly translates into increased ticket sales. My research explores this question by analyzing the effect an active Twitter presence has on weekly ticket grosses for six long running Broadway shows. To examine this relationship, I first performed a series of difference-in-difference estimations to determine if simply creating a Twitter account impacted weekly ticket grosses. I then went into greater depth and ran a multiple regression analysis to determine the extent to which volume of show-related tweets impacted weekly ticket grosses. The results indicate that Twitter and volume of tweets likely do not have a discernable impact on ticket sales.

Author: Elizabeth Lang, Class of 2020                 
Advisor: Richard Blackburn, UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School

Medicaid work requirements are a relatively new policy, coming into effect January 2018. While the current literature focuses on coverage loss for Medicaid recipients, this honor thesis examines the impacts of implementing Medicaid work requirements in North Carolina. I examine the effects of Medicaid work requirements on payer mix, operating margins, and uncompensated care costs of Disproportionate-Share Hospitals in North Carolina. Using a quantitative approach with hospital data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, this study concludes that work requirements significantly impacts payer mix, operating margins, and uncompensated care costs. The results indicate that work requirements could decrease the Medicaid payer mix by 2% at hospitals. Additionally, my research suggests that operating margins improve between 1.8% and 2.0% while uncompensated care costs increase between 3.3% and 3.4%. The results indicate that while hospital margins could improve with work requirements, the increases would be outweighed by the increases in uncompensated care costs.

Author: John T. Noble, Class of 2020  
Advisor: Saravanan Kesavan, UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School