Meet the Team


Stefano Maffina is a Beta Gamma Sigma, Golden Key, BSAS, multilingual MBA candidate at UMass Boston, specializing in Finance. He works as Marketing Strategist and Business Development/ Operations Representative for a green energy start-up in Massachusetts. He has maintained a 4.0 GPA while working full-time and performing academic research both as a graduate assistant in finance, accounting, marketing and statistics, and for his Master’s Thesis on economic inequality. Prior to attending UMass Boston, he worked as a market analyst and communications intern for a multinational B2B chemical company. He also holds a BA and an MA in Foreign Languages and Literature from the University of Verona, where he graduated with honors. Additionally, Stefano has written a book entitled “The Role of Jack Kerouac’s Identity in the Development of his Poetics”, which was published in 2012. In his Master Thesis at UMass, Stefano performs quantitative and statistical Analysis of the Nursing Home Compare website and the Five-star rating used to evaluate nursing homes and healthcare facilities. Additionally, he analyzes the current scholarly literature on Medical and Healthcare Facilities rating methods, evaluation criteria, and use of QCA methods in hospitals and nursing homes.


Yu Zhang is Master in Accounting student at UMass Boston. After her graduation, she would like to pursue a Ph.D in Accounting. Her MTO thesis examines the relationship between labor unionization rates and corporate investment efficiency using 55,300 firm-year observations from 1983–2002. Yu found evidence that labor unionization rates are negatively associated with underinvestment and over investment. In turn, this suggests that labor unions can improve investment efficiency.


Wen Xiao has a finance background, and is pursuing her Graduate Studies at UMass Boston. She is interested in financial products in CEOs compensation. The main topic of her thesis is pensions in current CEOs compensation. Her research brought her to analyze how much value benefit plans could bring to CEOs and their companies, by using research tools such as Excel and Stata.


Pruthvi Bhat is a MS Finance Candidate at UMass Boston, and a Teaching Assistant in the Electrical Engineering Program. Pruthvi is currently working on his Master Thesis with a research interest in Corporate Finance/Corporate Governance. His thesis focuses on ‘Effect of foreign ownership on firm performance, shareholder value and board structure: Evidence from India’. The study would involve a comparative analysis of company’s performance and shareholder value before and after the increase in foreign ownership. This comparative analysis would answer the question: “Is major ownership of foreign investors good for firms in emerging country such as India?”, and thereby it would provide empirical evidence regarding credibility of the change in FDI policy in India. Pruthvi is well versed with research tools such as STATA and MATLAB, and is Bloomberg Proficient. He comes from an Electronics & Telecommunication engineering background, and plans to use those technical and analytical skills in his field of research. He would like to pursue a Ph.D after his masters. Pruthvi’s goal is to become a potential player in the field of Corporate Finance, and contribute to the growth of the business by applying his financial planning and strategic analysis skills.

Maggie Batista is a candidate for a Masters of Business Administration with a specialization in Leadership and Organizational Change and a Distinction in Research. She maintains a 3.95 GPA while working for the UMass Boston College of Management and within the Boston restaurant industry. The focus of her thesis will be on the effects of gender inequality on the career migration of female executives as primarily studied through quantitative social networking analysis. Maggie aspires to be a voice for gender, racial, and cultural equality. She holds a Bachelor of Music in Classical Voice from the Boston Conservatory.



Rouya Nasseri is an international student at the University of Massachusetts, Boston working towards a master’s in business administration. She is seeking an academic position in a high ranked university. Her main goal is pursuing her education in management, in order to obtain a Ph.D. She received her first master’s degree in Management of Technology in Iran. Her thesis focused on commercializing nanotechnology projects in Iran. After graduation, she was a journalist of a Persian site focused on nanotechnology management. In addition, she worked as a research assistant for seven years in the field of management, focusing on technology commercialization, innovation and entrepreneurship.

Xingyuan Fei

Xingyuan Fei graduated from the MSA program at UMass Boston, and is currently a second year Ph.D. student in the Accounting Department at Boston University. Her research interests include fair value accounting, accounting information and management earnings forecast. Her Master Thesis at UMass Boston focused on reexamining investors’ overpricing of intangible information. Her study aims to find an explanation of the negative relation between future abnormal returns and intangible information.


Elinor (Yuwen) Shao is a Master of Science in Finance candidate at UMass Boston. The Focus of her thesis is to better understand the regulatory changes in the the US banking system in the post-Lehman bankruptcy period . Her paper aims to analyze the changing environment and trends in banking laws (and their impact) from both qualitative and quantitative research in this area. She plans to bring the new text aggregating/analyzing software NVivo to test her hypothesis. Elinor already holds a Master of Science in Marketing from Simon Business School, University of Rochester.  Prior to attending UMass Boston, she worked for Chanel and Edelman PR Company as CRM assistant and digital marketing consultant.


Zhilu (Luna) Lin is a Ph.D student at UMass Boston. Her research is about whether IPO cost affect innovations. Her main hypothesis is that countries with lower IPO cost will have higher innovations. The prevalent hypothesis for the existence of Post-earnings announcement drift (PEAD) is that investors underreact to the information in earnings. In this paper, she uses cross-country data to explore whether PEAD is due to market underreaction or missing risk factors. Luna also examines the PEAD anomaly in 19 countries including advanced countries and developing countries. By comparing the results between advanced countries and developing countries, she concludes that PEAD anomaly is due to market underreaction.


Natalia Plotnikova is currently an MSF Candidate at UMass Boston. After graduating from both Russian and American universities she started her career as a business analyst. Natalia is a fast-learner, who is always open to new challenges and professional growth. For her master thesis she is building a multi-factor model for forecasting gold prices that she will further apply to analyze the M&A deal in a gold-mining industry.

Emily Luksha is an MBA candidate specializing in Finance and Environmental Management and pursuing a graduate certificate in Clean Energy and Sustainability.  While completing her degree part-time, she works full-time as an Economist at the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities.  In June 2015, she received the Commonwealth Citation for Outstanding Performance, in recognition for her dedicated service to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and a Performance Recognition Award, in recognition for her contribution to the goals of the Department of Public Utilities.  Prior to attending UMass Boston, Emily was an analyst in the Energy Practice at Charles River Associates and a market analyst at World Energy Solutions.  She holds a B.A. in Economics from Boston College.  One day a week, Emily volunteers by reading to a child during his or her lunch period through the Read to a Child program.


Poorvi Bahety is a MSIT student and a member of Beta Gamma Sigma at the University of Massachusetts Boston. She has a computer science background and holds an MBA with a focus on marketing. Her Masters Thesis evaluates the possibility to use reviews generated on Social Media to predict sales in the automobile industry. The platform considered for this study is the third party review websites. For the scope of this study, she focused on few sedans that have had recalls from January 2012 – April 2015. After graduating in May 2016, she intends to dig deeper into this research and take it a step further with a PhD.


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