Important COVID-19 Update

Read more about UNCP's response to COVID-19. 

UNCP graduate student wins best paper award


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.

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