MTO Defense Pictures

Stefano Maffina and John Dorey discussed their Master’s Theses this afternoon in front of the MTO President: Professor Chakraborty, their advisors, professors from the College of Management, the MTO class, UMass students and members of the public.

Some pictures of the event are featured below:







Upcoming MTO Defenses

Wednesday, April 6, 2016, 3:30 p.m.

 Dean’s Conference Room, McCormack 5th Floor, Room 619

Join the faculty and students of the UMass Boston College of Management on Wednesday, April 6th for two MTO defenses.


“Medicare Nursing Home Compare: Issues and Improvements”

presented by Stefano Maffina


This research analyzes the Medicare Nursing Home Compare Website five-star Rating in the United States. The purpose of the project is to discover several issues with the scores and rating systems employed on the website. The qualitative analysis performed in this project showed that the main issue faced by the five-star rating is the fact that most of the data available online are self-reported by the facilities. Medicare officials do not check the veracity and truthfulness of the numbers and scores reported by the nursing homes administrators.

The quantitative analysis employs a sample of data collected from thirty nursing homes located in Massachusetts. These data are analyzed via statistical models such as regression analysis and t-test. The first interrogative that is answered with this method is whether various categories of nursing homes have significantly different scores. For instance, non-profit nursing homes are compared to for profits, while nursing homes located in wealthy neighborhoods are compared to facilities located in less-affluent towns. Finally, this research compares the weight and importance that the various quality measures have on the overall score of a facility.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank my thesis advisor, Professor Kiran Verma, and the MTO Program Director, Professor Atreya Chakraborty, for their help and support.


“Investor Learning and the Abnormal Returns to a Fundamental Signal Strategy”

presented by John Dorey


Through research on the fundamental analysis signals I examine the following research question: Does investor learning explain future abnormal stock returns to the fundamental analysis strategy over time? For this study I use NYSE/AMEX firms from 1998 to 2012 and find that abnormal returns to the fundamental signals have disappeared over time, which I attribute to investor learning. I also discuss the value relevance of the fundamental signals, and the predictive ability of these signals.

Completing my research would not have been possible without mutual passion for research that I and the University of Massachusetts Boston, College of Management share, and the tremendous support of a few individuals, namely Dr. Atreya Chakraborty and Dr. Sangwan Kim. The reason I chose UMass Boston was because of the amazing faculty, and their commitment to being a research facility.

My journey began with the research colloquium with Dr. Chakraborty in 2012. Due to personal reasons I had to back out of my original topic. In 2015 I came back to Dr. Chakraborty with renewed interest in researching a topic in accounting and finance, and after conversations with Dr. Yong-Chul Shin and Dr. Kim, I was back in pursuit of completing my thesis. These professors’ commitment to research is only matched by their commitment to their students. Never before have I been more resolute in my decision to come to UMass Boston, and I am proud to associated with such a renowned institution.

Five Steps Towards Your Distinction in Research

1) Find a topic you are passionate about: the MTO is a one year research project that requires a decent amount of commitment. If you do research on a topic you love, you will soon see the benefits that the MTO work gives you regarding other endeavors you might have, such as landing an assistantship or internship position in your field of interest. The MTO is a great way to leverage your applications and provide you with something to present during an interview.

2) Reach out to faculty in your field of interest and find a dedicated mentor for your project: this will give you additional support while doing your research and a potential option for an assistantship.

3) Make use of the various research options that Boston provides: UMass has a broad variety of databases and resources that you can use for your research, for instance subscriptions to Bloomberg Professional and FactSet. But you can also access research tools of numerous other universities and libraries in the Boston area, e.g. through the Library Consortium service (Healey staff can help you with questions in this matter). This way I was able to use for example one of MIT’s databases.

4) Pace yourself: regular check-ins with your mentor and supervisor will help you to finish the project in time while handling all of your other commitments. The one year timeframe is generous, but make sure you don’t get lost in details. Eventually, it is all about getting your work out there and focusing on your main target: your career!

5) Leverage your work: as mentioned before, the MTO is a great way to enhance your resume and deliver a valuable and comprehensive piece of academic research that proves your ability to go beyond the standard requirements for MBAs. While all MBA students will have to prove their quantitative skills throughout their time in business school, you will be able to prove that, in addition to that, you are able to transform complex information into a concise piece of writing. Use this valuable work product for your personal branding, for instance by working with faculty on publishing your work or presenting it at conferences.

Björn Stengel, MBA Class 2015