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Student's ingenuity bolsters business abroad

Business student Maria Vennikov created a new algorithm for forecasting wage scales during an internship abroad — a formula a Dublin-based company is still using to cut costs.

Shortly after Vennikov began an internship with Excel Recruitment in Dublin, Ireland, the CEO gave her a special, though nonspecific, assignment — figure out ways the company could save money. As she probed the company’s business processes, she found such an opportunity.

Vennikov defined an algorithm that helps identify inefficiencies in Excel’s employment-compensation system and allows the company’s leadership to model and forecast complex wage scales based on a number of variables including sales totals, margins, and turnover levels. She then built a data-management system the firm is still using to execute the new model.

I wasn’t given much direction to make it happen, so I had to create a system from scratch. It was like nothing I’d ever done before.

—Maria Vennikov

Vennikov says she appreciates the creative freedom she was given to experiment with a real-world business case, especially in an international setting. By following her instinct for curiosity and discovery, she’s honing the skills and experiences that will help her make her mark in business — wherever in the world she goes.

Maria Vennikov is majoring in business administration in the Robins School of Business. Following her internship in Ireland, she studied abroad in Prague. She also has worked as a brand management intern for Altria, a Fortune 200 company located in Richmond, Virginia.

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