The Supply Chain Management Research Center at the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas hosted its 11th annual International Graduate Supply Chain Case Competition on March 5-7 at the John Q. Hammonds Center in Rogers. Continue reading Teams Compete in International Supply Chain Case Competition
Hannah Birch likes solving problems. She sees herself someday working for a consulting firm, helping businesses figure out mergers, acquisitions and management practices.
Coming to the University of Arkansas was an easy choice. Growing up about 45 miles southwest of Little Rock in the town of Malvern, her family always rooted for the Razorbacks. Following in the footsteps of her older brother, she became a U of A student. “This was the only place I applied,” she says matter-of-factly.
Hannah was inspired to pursue an education at the Sam M. Walton College of Business when she came to the university as a junior for a convocation that featured presentations by Walton students as well as Jason Adams, the college’s Honors Programs associate director, and Javier Reyes, vice provost for distance education and business professor. Hannah learned about the college’s rankings and opportunities for internships and real-world experience. The different study abroad programs offered through the college particularly interested her. “I knew I wanted to go to Belize,” she says.
During her freshmen year, she did. While there, Hannah and her fellow classmates participated in a community development program helping fledgling entrepreneurs, which included a daycare provider and juice salesman, with business planning, marketing and bookkeeping skills.
Since then, she has traveled to Mozambique, where she helped a poultry company analyze profitability measures, and to Rome, participating in the National Model United Nations class taught by Robert Stapp. While at the National Model United Nations, Hannah served on the Brazil team in the general assembly.
Now, Hannah participates in similar panels to the ones she encountered in high school encouraging students to come to the Walton College. “I try to show them the endless opportunities available here, like studying abroad,” she says.
She also works to partner freshmen with upper classmen through university’s Walton Honors peer mentorship program for honors students. “Students have great perspective and insight to share with one another because we deal with similar situations,” she says.
Hannah, now a junior, majors in both finance and accounting. Both involve working with numbers – which she likes – and problem solving.
She is vice president of membership for Walton’s Finance Association and chaired the freshman initiatives committee for the Walton Honors Student Executive Board. Hannah is also a member of Leadership Walton.
Away from Walton College, she is president of her sorority, Kappa Kappa Gamma, where she has also served as treasurer, and is a U of A Ambassador. Hannah is the recipient of an Honors College Fellowship and the Governor’s Distinguished Scholarship.
In the summer of 2014, she served an internship with the insurance division of BancorpSouth in Little Rock, where she helped build different programs, assessed the risk exposure of companies and organized some of the past policies for a few of the bank’s larger clients. She also has an internship with ConocoPhillips in Bartlesville, Oklahoma.
Following graduation, Hannah says she hopes to work for “three or four” years and then possibly earn an M.B.A. But in the meantime, she enjoys telling future students about the advantages of becoming a Walton student. “You get the big school opportunities but in a small group setting,” she says.
Peter Katuscak researches around the globe as he examines the behaviors of auction bidders or how people perceive their tax situations. For the 2014-15 school year, he is a visiting assistant professor with the Department of Economics at the Sam M. Walton College of Business, where he teaches microeconomic theory to undergraduates.
Originally from Kosice, Slovakia, Katuscak has already lived in the United States for more than seven years. This includes Ann Arbor, where he earned his Ph.D. in economics at the University of Michigan and San Diego, where he worked as a visiting assistant professor during the 2005-2006 school year.
Always on the move, he jokes that he lives out of two suitcases. Katuscak says when it was time for him to come to the Walton College in August 2014, he had no time to spare. He was in Prague, organizing a conference, and then flew in to Northwest Arkansas and taught his first class the same day he arrived.
Before coming to the University of Arkansas, he was a faculty member at the Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education – Economic Institute (CERGE-EI) in Prague. Katuscak came to Fayetteville on the invitation of Cary Deck, Walton College economics professor, whom he knew from his teaching visits to Prague, Bratislava and various experimental economics conferences.
“I enjoy a family-like atmosphere of the department and the college.”
Katuscak’s research as an experimental economist involves testing theories and looking at causes of economic behavior using human volunteers in a lab. “We try to see how people react to different incentives and information, hoping to learn how to improve design of market mechanisms such as auctions.” he says.
His work on auctions has touched on topics such as learning from historical feedback, anticipation of future feedback, reaction to lacking knowledge about other bidders, but also issues such as differences in bidding behaviors between males and females.
One other area Katuscak is researching is how people perceive their tax rates. In particular, he is interested in whether taxpayers confuse their average tax rate for their marginal tax rate. If this is so, then taxpayers might end up reacting to tax system elements such as tax refunds or tax credits that have so far been thought of as not being important for marginal incentives to work more hours or look for a higher-paying job.
Katuscak’s research has been published in Games and Economic Behavior, Journal of Economic Theory, Journal of Human Resources and CESifo Economic Studies. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Comenius University in Bratislava, Slovakia, and another master’s degree from the Central European University in Budapest.
In the classroom, Katuscak likes to challenge his students. “What I’m discovering is that these kids are smart and talented, but they need to be pushed,” he says.
Katuscak says he’s enjoying his time at the Walton College, which, through the university’s various support systems, allows him to focus on his teaching and research. He says he finds his colleagues collegial and friendly. “I enjoy a family-like atmosphere of the department and the college,” he says.