Careers & Student Outcomes

SSB Students Showcase Expertise at Innovation Expo 2024

Seniors present projects focused on entrepreneurship, research and consulting.

Whether it was creating sweatpants made partially of bamboo, helping local businesses evaluate and streamline their processes or exploring the male-female pay differentials in C-suite and board of directors roles at S&P 500 companies, the creativity, ambition and enthusiasm of Stevens School of Business students was on full display at the recent 2024 Innovation Expo.

The university-wide event is an annual showcase for student design, innovation and entrepreneurship. The SSB portion of the event was divided into three areas: entrepreneurship, research and consulting.


Sustainability and the environment were the themes of this year’s entrepreneurship projects. Three of the four ideas were based on using sustainable materials, reducing unsustainable consumption and educating consumers about the environmental impact of a product.

Best Entrepreneurship Project: Leaf & Loom
Team Members: Ethan Chen, Luke Hoerle, Phu-Quy Ho, Hansel Kim, Brandon Schwartz, Isa Yilmaz

The fashion industry has struggled to balance sustainability and comfort. The Leaf & Loom project team addressed this by launching sweatpants made from a unique bamboo-hemp blend. This eco-friendly fabric offers unmatched comfort, durability and versatility. By using sustainable materials and processes, Leaf & Loom promotes environmental consciousness and customer well-being. This initiative provides a sustainable fashion choice without sacrificing comfort or style, encouraging conscious consumerism. Leaf & Loom's innovative solution fills a market gap and fosters a community valuing sustainability and lifestyle in fashion.

“Fashion is the second biggest polluter on Earth right now, so this combats two problems at once. We're helping the fashion industry become more sustainable, as well as helping the Earth. Hemp and bamboo when they’re produced and manufactured use about five times less water than cotton, nylon, or wool, etc.” — Ethan Chen, Business & Technology

Runner-Up: Fleco
Team Members: Jessi Li, Vadym Pastukh, Samuel Preston, Ekin Temur

FLECO is an online eco-friendly flea market for college students, addressing unsustainable consumption by providing access to affordable, secondhand essentials. It curates pre-loved items like clothing and furniture, promoting circular economy principles and conscious consumption habits. By targeting students with sustainable alternatives, FLECO empowers environmentally responsible choices, reduces waste, and fosters a sense of community around sustainability.

Other Entrepreneurship Projects:
  • ReCig: ReCig started addressing e-cigarette recycling, but pivoted to a nonprofit educating middle/high schoolers about the environmental harms of vaping to reduce e-waste and encourage informed choices.

  • Tabesk Designs: Tabesk Designs aims to tap the massive U.S. gaming market by providing customized gaming stations/tables. Their initial product allows gamers to incorporate their favorite accessories and design themes into their table.


Gregory Prastacos stands on the left wearing a blue blazer talking to a student in the middle wearing a checkered shirt about his project.Professor Guarav Sabnis wearing a red Stevens t-shirt is to the right.Given the disruption caused by both world events and new technology, it’s not surprising that several of this year’s research initiatives focused on how societal factors and the latest innovations were impacting the financial world.

Best Research Project: Equitable Compensation of C-Suite Staff
Team Members: Jake Bermudez, Renée Grunwald

This paper examines factors affecting equitable compensation of employees at S&P 500 companies, considering evolving corporate governance practices, gender equity laws and job market shifts from the COVID-19 pandemic. The study demonstrates the multifaceted nature of equitable compensation using quantitative methods like Augmented Dickey-Fuller Tests and Random Forest Classification. It highlights the importance of organizational practices and corporate governance in achieving pay equity. The research underscores the need for further investigation and data collection, especially regarding equitable compensation for entry-level positions.

“Being a research scholar over the summer under Professor Ann Murphy and researching the same intersection between diversity, equity, inclusion and business gave me the skills to look at problems in a different way than what I was used to. Coming at a problem understanding that you have expectations and a hypothesis, but that you're not always going to get that confirmation is what makes research so interesting and amazing in general. I want to say thank you to Professor [Khaldoun] Khashanah and Professor [Siyuan] Ma, our advisors, who were very helpful and very patient with us during these two semesters and helped guide us along to our final product.” — Renée Grunwald, Marketing Innovation & Analytics

“I think the biggest thing was learning how to leverage each other's strengths. I focused more on the technical side and more of the analysis, and Renée was really helpful on finding the literature and sourcing all of the different background information we needed to draw the conclusions that we did in our research. Understanding that some people are just inherently better at doing things than others and playing to your strengths is really beneficial when working in a group.” — Jake Bermudez, Business & Technology

Runner-Up: Gaussian Processes for Implied Volatility Estimation
Team Members: Tejas Appana, Drew Carranti, Arjun Koshal, Adam Moszczynski, Matthew Thomas

This project developed an innovative Gaussian Process method to forecast implied volatility while quantifying uncertainty through posterior distributions. Applied to option data, their model demonstrated superior accuracy over traditional methods, significantly improving option pricing and enabling refined risk assessment under diverse scenarios. Empirical tests highlighted the practical benefits for hedging strategies.

Other Research Projects:
  • Analyzing Small-Tail Risk Events Using Data Augmentation for Scenario Generation: The project team addressed accurately assessing and managing the risks associated with financial assets during small-tail risk situations, similar to those in the COVID-19 financial crisis and the 2008 financial crisis.

  • Constructing Resilient Portfolios Across Market Regimes: The research aimed to construct portfolios minimizing downside risk while maximizing upside across market regimes. Using VIX and hidden Markov modeling, it back-tested diversified portfolios, providing insights for building resilient allocations.

  • Deciphering Investments ~ SPY vs. Individual ETFs: The project analyzed whether to invest in a portfolio of ETFs or just the S&P 500 ETF (SPY), using 2010 data. It developed a risk analyzer tool to provide insights for mitigating investment risks between ETF portfolios versus SPY.

  • Evaluating the Capability and Efficacy of GPT-4 for Forecasting S&P 500 Index Openings: The research explored the accuracy of OpenAI's GPT-4 language model in predicting S&P 500 opening prices by incorporating market sentiment, news headlines and other financial variables into the model's training data.

  • Financial Derivatives in Quantitative Wealth and Investment Management: The research analyzed the impact of including options in investment portfolios for institutional investors. It tested if adding options improved portfolio performance and identified optimal investment styles to pair with different options strategies.

  • Jump Diffusion: The research compared different jump-diffusion models for detecting discontinuous asset price movements, including a simple model, the Lee-Mykland model and a machine learning isolation forest model, using 2010-2011 SPY equity and options data.

  • Regime-Switching Asset Allocation Model: The research introduced a unique regime-switching asset allocation model that combines traditional economic indicators with calendar anomalies and superstitious indicators to enhance portfolio performance in terms of returns and risk management.

  • Reinforcement Learning in Quantitative Wealth & Investment Management (QWIM): The research applied the reinforcement learning algorithm Proximal Policy Optimization (PPO) to quantitative wealth and investment management. It used PPO's actor-critic models to dynamically optimize portfolio allocations across ETFs, stocks, and other assets.


Stevens students put their academic lessons to the test by helping real businesses and non-profit organizations solve issues and improve performance, including many local companies right here in Hoboken.

Co-Best Consulting Project: Boomerang Bites
Team Members: Jeffrey Eng, Eshita Jain, Himaya Jeyakumar, Mihika Rachamallu, Sabrina Vuong

Boomerang Bites is a woman-owned artisanal bakery specializing in Australian "slice" desserts. The project team assisted with establishing the Hoboken storefront and online presence. Responsibilities included streamlining operations, fundraising campaigns, marketing analytics, and design. The data analysis group optimized efficiency through cost/sales analysis and ad targeting. The design group enhanced interior design and fostered community partnerships for promotion. Overall, the team supported Boomerang Bites' launch through process improvements, targeted marketing, fundraising efforts, and engaging design elements.

“We split up the work individually because we felt that was the best way to tackle the job. We had so many different interests in so many different areas, so we used our strengths to help her in as many different ways as possible. I think our team worked really well together, and because we covered so many different areas, we were able to help Andrea in more ways. Being able to cover things like cost analysis and something more visible, like working on the storefront, meant that we were able to contribute a lot to the project and help Andrea out in all the ways that she needed.” — Sabrina Vuong, Quantitative Finance

Co-Best Consulting Project: The Hive
Team Members: Gabrielle Aloe, Lindsey Baratta, Clare Fitzgerald, John Irby, Elissa Nsenkyire

The Hive, a female-owned coffee shop in Hoboken, experienced significant growth, necessitating cost identification, order management streamlining, website updates and price adjustments. Through a data analytics report, the team addressed these challenges, and more. They researched order management systems, revamped the website targeting a younger audience and conducted a market analysis for pricing. The implemented solutions enhanced sales precision, customer satisfaction, brand identity, online presence, and profitability.

“Working with The Hive was an amazing experience that taught us invaluable lessons about the dynamism of the business world. Initially tasked with improving basic operations, our journey took an unexpected turn when Blake Lively's post of their cinnamon rolls catapulted the shop to unforeseen success. Quickly, our priorities shifted, and we found ourselves pivoting to accommodate the demands of newfound fame, whether it was implementing a catering system or streamlining inventory management for scaled-up production. This unexpected change underscored the crucial lesson that in business, adaptability is paramount. The ability to swiftly adjust strategies and redirect plans in response to evolving circumstances is not just a skill; it's a necessity for survival and growth in today's fast-paced landscape. Our experience highlighted the reality that success often hinges not only on meticulous planning but also on the agility to embrace change and capitalize on new opportunities as they arise.” — The Hive Team

Runner-Up: Shorely Clean
Team Members: Dianni Leon Almeida, Yzabel Breboneria, Olena Malich, Catherine Maloney, Nawrin Saju

The Shorely Clean project aimed to enhance the cleaning service's visibility in Monmouth County through extensive research and a strategic social media campaign. With over 100 targeted posts across various themes and a brand kit for consistent messaging, the team exceeded goals for increasing followers, impressions, and engagement. They also provided tools for ongoing campaign management, including influencer connections and a real-time feedback dashboard.

An overhead shot of students presenting their projects in the atrium of the Babbio Center in front of the glass wall with the Hudson River in the background. Other Consulting Projects:
  • American Legion Post 107: American Legion Post 107 in Hoboken aims to construct 18 apartment units for homeless veterans but faces a $2.5 million budget gap. The consulting team initiated fundraising efforts and revamped social media to garner support from local businesses and suppliers.

  • Anchor Therapy: Anchor Therapy offers specialized therapy services focusing on various areas including anxiety and LGBT+ matters. The project team aided in SEO optimization, email newsletters and location-based analytics.

  • BioReference Health Data Transformation: BioReference Health faced challenges with siloed technology, impacting clinical genomics tests. The project team assessed infrastructure, identified risks, and proposed solutions, enabling scalability and operational optimization for sustained growth.

  • CAKES Body: Cakes Body, an e-commerce company, soared in growth with viral TikTok videos and a Shark Tank investment. A project team aided in developing a customer community forum, facilitating brand loyalty and growth.

  • CWS Tracking System: CWS faced challenges tracking donated goods across three locations, hindering grant applications. The project team implemented a tracking system, expanding funding opportunities for the nonprofit organization.

  • E3: A non-profit building schools in Malawi, E3 lacked awareness and a sustainable plan. The project team developed a social media campaign and crafted a long-term business strategy for sustainability.

  • Enstar Group: Enstar's Treasury team faces manual, time-consuming tasks hindering efficiency. The SIT Team introduced Alteryx automation software, enabling streamlined data manipulation and freeing up time for strategic work.

  • The Hoboken Girl/The Local Girl: Hoboken Girl's real estate website faced usability challenges. The team revamped the backend, simplified navigation, optimized loading speed, and implemented marketing strategies to enhance user experience and engagement.

  • Hoboken Shelter: The Hoboken Shelter offers meals and amenities for the homeless. The project team aimed to establish a lasting Stevens partnership and implement a composting system to reduce food waste.

  • Jarrett Creative Group: Jarrett Creative Group, a media creation company, needed a branding and digital marketing overhaul. The team revamped the website and developed a social media strategy to attract clients and partners.

  • KaysuCRAFT: KaysuCRAFT, a handmade accessories business in Hoboken needed marketing and website improvements. The project team optimized their online presence, focusing on Instagram, Google Business, and Shopify.

  • Prime Cycle: Prime Cycle, a Hoboken fitness studio, aimed to improve profitability and customer conversion. The project team devised a cost-effective marketing strategy, pricing models, and a strategic partnership for increased revenue.

  • aimed to grow its user base and reputation for the launch of a paid version. The project team conducted targeted outreach to software development managers, anticipating increased product adoption and revenue.

  • Starfish Studios: Starfish Studios, a video game studio that specializes in creating experiences in Minecraft, aimed for expansion and profitability. The project team outlined priorities, including new content creation, game diversification, partnerships, and organizational enhancements.

  • vipHomeLink: A home management platform founded by a Stevens alum, vipHomeLink sought to expand its market presence. The project team utilized influencer collaborations to enhance app visibility and user engagement, achieving clearer growth goals.

  • Working Constructively: This web-design company aimed to enhance client engagement and internal processes. The project team identified gaps, proposed solutions, and improved relations, contributing to improved satisfaction and business outcomes.

“What is great about our team is that we all have different majors in the business school, so each of us comes from a different background. We were really able to apply all the different concepts that each of us have learned across Stevens business classes and really bring all of our strengths into this project.” — Yzabel Breboneria, Shorely Clean, Marketing Innovation & Analytics