News at Smith

CIBER Awards $8K to PhD Candidates

Mar 24, 2014
World Class Faculty & Research


The Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER) has awarded two PhD candidates at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business $4,000 each to support international business-related research focused on Chile and China.

Jorge Mejia is working toward a PhD in information systems in the decision, operations, and information technologies department. Bryan Stroube is a PhD candidate in the management & organization department.

Mejia holds undergraduate and master’s degrees in electrical and computer engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology and his research focuses on Startup Chile (SUP), a government­funded accelerator based in Santiago, Chile. Since its founding in 2010, SUP has received over 10,000 applications and has one of the largest startup networks with 850 startups from over 60 countries.

Mejia’s project uses an econometric model to examine two key questions: the effect of entrepreneurs’ pre­entry experience on the quality of their experience in the incubator and the effect of the quality of the entrepreneurs’ experience in the incubator and the outcomes at the end of and after the incubation period, including firm survival.

Mejia expects his research to contribute to the firm survival and business incubator literature. Further, he aims to contribute practically to entrepreneurs in the context of accelerators.

“This work has the potential to inform incubators about what incubation services and milestones affect startup survival,” Mejia said. “For example, we can study how important mentorship (a constantly debated element among accelerators) is to new firm survival.”

Stroube’s dissertation examines markets as cultural phenomena and the summer funding will take him to Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong for field research.

His research examines the direct impact of culture on the Chinese real estate market through a study of hongza – so-called “haunted house” or “calamity house” in which a terrible incident has taken place such as murder or suicide. Popular sources indicate hongza see steep devaluation but Stroube seeks to quantify the size of the impact, identify the types of properties most often affected, and understand arbitrage opportunities available to buyers that have different cultural norms. The collection and analysis of these data are key to understanding the true market impact of hongza. While in China, Stroube will also undertake qualitative research to complement quantitative data he collected last summer which focuses on demographic biases in online peer-to-peer microfinance.

Stroube has a strong background in Chinese studies. He holds a master’s in economics from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and was a 2012-2013 Fulbright Research Fellow in China where he was affiliated with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. He studied abroad at Shanghai Jiao Tong University as an undergraduate at Purdue University. 

“It is a pleasure to award these two grants to support PhD student research,” said Kislaya Prasad, CIBER director. “Mejia and Stroube’s projects are both very interesting and the Smith School is privileged to have the opportunity to support these promising young scholars. The reality is that research in global business can involve significant cost - not least for travel and data collection. Our intent with these awards is to help students undertake such work, and to stimulate more research exploring the global context in which business is conducted,” Prasad said.

This is the second year in a row that CIBER has provided research support to PhD candidates. In 2013, CIBER funded Jiban Khuntia (information systems) and Austin Starkweather (finance). The students carried out research on “Service Augmentation and Customer Satisfaction: An Analysis of Cell Phone Services in Base-Of-The-Pyramid Markets” and “Strategies that Firms Should Take When Investing Abroad,” respectively.

For more information, visit:

Matt Grieger, Office of Global Initiatives

About the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business 

The Robert H. Smith School of Business is an internationally recognized leader in management education and research. One of 12 colleges and schools at the University of Maryland, College Park, the Smith School offers undergraduate, full-time and part-time MBA, executive MBA, online MBA, specialty masters, PhD and executive education programs, as well as outreach services to the corporate community. The school offers its degree, custom and certification programs in learning locations in North America and Asia.