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UNCP graduate student wins best paper award

March 25, 2011

UNC Pembroke MBA candidate Marlon McPhatter won first prize and $100 for the best paper at the Southeast Decision Science Institute conference, February 23-25.

 Marlon McPhatter

Marlon McPhatter, left, received his award from Dr. George Lowry (center) at the Southeast Decision Science Institute luncheon on February 25 as UNCP business professor Dr. Rick Crandall looks on.

The money was nice, McPhatter said, but the prestige is priceless.

“I think it was a great honor for UNCP, and it will help me with my Ph.D. applications,” he said. “I got emails from Duke, Tennessee and Florida congratulating me. Those are great schools that I would like to attend.”

An employee of UNCP’s Office of Housing and Residence Life, McPhatter will graduate in May 2011 with a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree in management.  He wants to teach, research and, ultimately, become a top executive with a National Football League franchise.

The award followed a presentation before a panel of judges, who questioned McPhatter intensely.

“All the judges were from universities where I would like to go, so I was nervous,” he said. “They didn’t ask any cupcake questions.”

“One of the contestants I was up against was a student of Dr. (Rick) Crandall’s father at Appalachian State,” he said. “That made it interesting.”

McPhatter’s paper, “Balancing Work with Life: A Look at Alternate Scheduling in the Long-Term Health Care Industry,” was a research project for Dr. Rick Crandall’s course Human Resource Management.

“I did research at Scotland Memorial Hospital and the Morgan Center, a convalescent home,” McPhatter said. “I presented some different ideas for management to staff their facilities.

“With flexible scheduling, I hope to reduce job and family stress and job turnover,” he said.

A Laurinburg, N.C. native, McPhatter is a graduate of Georgetown University. He owned a fitness center and gym near Philadelphia, Pa., before returning home due to a family illness.

McPhatter also presented two other papers that he co-authored with School of Business faculty members: “Work Ethic Among Students: What are Some of the Meanings?” with Drs. John Spillan and Stewart Thomas and “Sustainable Strategic Management: The Case of Poland” with Drs. Spillan and Chris Ziemnowicz.

For more information about UNCP’s MBA program, please call 910.775.4099 or email The MBA website is