Six graduate business students recognized for academic achievement

The College of Business congratulates and extends best wishes to each of the six graduate honorees of the graduating Class of 2015.

The College of Business congratulates the Graduate Business Distinguished Achievement honorees for 2015. These students receive special recognition from the university during commencement week.

In addition, Ashly Collins was selected as the college’s Graduate Hood Recipient to be recognized at the Graduate Honors Convocation.

Ashly Collins

2015 Graduate Business Hood Recipient
MBA with an Emphasis in Leadership

Ashly CollinsAshly’s culminating experience project was a strategic analysis of PulpWorks, a sustainable packaging startup dedicated to replacing toxic plastic packaging for consumer products. Her project examined the company’s strengths and offered suggestions on how to better attract and retain customers and establish a business-level strategy. Ashly served as co-leader for Net Impact at SF State from fall 2013 to fall 2014 providing students with opportunities to create positive social and environmental change in the workplace. She established the MBA Speed Recruitment Expo to offer students and employers a fun, new take on traditional career fairs. Her goal was to allow students the opportunity to meet with hiring managers from companies who are actively recruiting for full time and internship positions in a fun, speed networking environment. She regularly served as a panelist for the Graduate Business Programs recruiting events and new student orientations. She also worked as a research assistant for the College of Business Task Force with Professor Bruce Paton and Professor Sanjit Sengupta to propose systematic changes to the graduate business programs. Ashly interned at Kaiser Permanente in summer 2014 to help improve employee engagement within their Accounts Payable team. She will be returning to Kaiser Permanente this June as an Organizational Development Consultant in their Financial Services Operations group.

Mark Austreich


Mark AustreichMark’s research project was a strategic analysis of AirBnb. com. His project identified several key company challenges and proposed various solutions to solidify the company’s position in the marketplace and deter competition. The solutions included growing the network, creating partnerships, and bridging regulation with ownership and hosting. Mark currently works in the Financial Planning and Analysis team at Facebook. Prior, he spent five years at eBay in several roles including Accounting and Finance; most recently as Finance Manager supporting online advertising business units. Mark is a member of Beta Gamma Sigma and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. He volunteered with eBay groups at several homeless shelters and soup kitchens in the Bay Area. He also completed a research project with Professor Nickerson on “Mobile Technology and Smartphone Apps: A Diffusion of Innovations Analysis.”

Terra Baykal

MBA with an Emphasis in Marketing

Terra BaykalTerra’s research project was a strategic analysis of Belcampo Meat Co, a vertically integrated company devoted to sustainable farming, animal raising, and butchery practices. Drawing on the Strategy Diamond Framework and in-depth research, her project examined Belcampo’s internal strengths and weaknesses and the external environment. Based on her findings, Terra offered suggestions on how to gain and sustain a competitive advantage in the market. On campus, Terra tutored two SF State undergraduate students in marketing courses. Off campus, Terra volunteered at the St. Anthony Foundation, assisting with food and clothing drives for the homeless in San Francisco. She also worked as an Account Management Intern at a ticketing agency called Zerve. There she served as a main point of contact between the clients and the company, allowing her to exercise her business and marketing consulting skills. Terra now works as a Paid Social Media Specialist at Just Media, an advertising agency based in Emeryville. Within this position, she is able to apply the theories and skills gained from the MBA program towards helping technology companies strategize and achieve marketing objectives.

Kristy Kerr

Master of Science in Accountancy

Kristy KerrKristy’s culminating experience project explored the history of international accounting standard setting, particularly focusing on the pros and cons of converging United States Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). The report provided an analysis of the problems that will need to be overcome before a single set of accounting standards is applied worldwide as well as the effect it will have on the accounting profession. While pursuing her MSA, Kristy served as an officer of the Graduate Students in Accounting Association (GSAA), which organizes professional and social events for students interested in the accounting profession. In 2014, she organized the Fall Kick- Off Reception, a networking event at the SF State Downtown Campus for students, professors, alumni, and representatives from Bay Area accounting firms. She also assisted with new student orientations and served as an interviewer for GSAA Mock Interviews. During summer 2014, Kristy completed an assurance internship with Burr Pilger Mayer’s Santa Rosa office. She begins work as an Audit Associate in fall 2015. Off campus, Kristy volunteers as an adoption counselor at the Marin Humane Society.

Aliceth-Jingya Liang

MBA with an Emphasis in Finance

Aliceth-Jingya LiangAliceth’s culminating experience project analyzed the existing practices of the Exploratorium, San Francisco’s museum of science, art, and human perception. Her project provided recommendations on how to improve business intuition and improve revenue by formulating pricing and promotional strategies to increase attendance. Since fall 2014, Aliceth has been interning as an Investment Analyst at Lighthaven Capital Management, a San Francisco-based hedge fund company. She works closely with the founder to refine the company’s process of evaluating potential high growth companies through strategic business analysis and has also been helping the company develop its equity short program. Aliceth has a strong research interest in asset pricing and asset allocation and plans to enter a PhD program in finance within the next three years.

Elan Segarra

Master of Arts in Economics

Elan SegarraElan’s research focused on the economics of biopiracy, which occurs when one country coopts the indigenous crops of another country for private enterprise. By adapting a theoretical innovation model, Elan was able to demonstrate how adjusting the strength of intellectual property rights affects both the rate of biopiracy and the economic wellbeing of the countries involved. While studying at SF State, Elan taught four courses in microeconomic analysis and econometrics. He also co-taught an interdepartmental workshop on LyX and LaTeX aimed at teaching students how to use professional typesetting software. During the summer, he worked as an analyst for CREDO Mobile where he constructed life cycle models for their phone brands and used data mining to identify early indicators of potential attrition. Elan will be entering a Ph.D. program in economics at the University of Wisconsin in Madison in fall 2015.