Corey Ortiz, a student in the MS in Corporate and Organizational Communication program, was one of 22 recipients of this year’s RISE research awards (and one of two graduate student honorees in the Business and Entrepreneurship category) from more than 400 entries!

His project, titled Feeling the Crunch: Expectations of Crunch Time in the Video Game Industry had its in inception in the Ethical Issues in Organizational Communication course taught by Gladys McKie.

Here’s what Corey says about the experience.

For starters, what made you decide to pursue a master’s in Corporate and Organizational Communication?

I decided to change my career path after I graduated with my bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan. Through my work experience during and after graduation, I witnessed the importance of communication in working with my team, and I realized this is really what I wanted to do. I did some research on communication programs and the College of Professional Studies stood out to me as a unique and interesting program, and so I enrolled last September.

Where did your idea for the “Feeling the Crunch” project get its start?

It all began as a research paper in my Ethical Communications course. The assignment was to look into ethical issues in an industry of our choice. I selected the video game industry, partly because I loved playing video games as a kid and partly because it’s a relatively new and fast-growing industry. I was intrigued by what I’d heard about crunch time in articles I’ve seen over the years and decided to explore it in more depth.

Feeling the Crunch is a case study analysis of the “crunch time” phenomenon that currently affects the Video Game Industry. “Crunch time” refers to extra work hours, often unpaid, that are added to employees’ schedules as projects near their completion. This project analyzes what “crunch time” often entails, why it is legally allowed, how it has become embedded in industry culture, what efforts have been made to alleviate it, and what potential options exist to help end it; Feeling the Crunch focuses primarily on Electronic Arts and a couple of instances of crunch within their studios, but it also touches on the concept across the industry as a whole.

What was it like to submit the project to RISE 2022?

I want to give a huge thanks to my course instructor, Gladys McKie, who encouraged me to take the next step and submit my research to RISE 2022. Her support pushed me over the edge! Everyone who submits a project has to record a 3-minute video pitching their idea. Luckily, there was a template to work with, but identifying the key talking points and conveying them in such a short time frame was a challenge. It’s something I enjoyed doing because effective communication involves getting your key points across as concisely as possible. Beyond the presentation, I also had to do a little research on new developments that have happened since I originally wrote the project, as I wanted to be prepared to talk about it with the RISE attendees.

For the past three years, RISE has been a virtual event using an online gallery to host the projects and enable live conversations between the those submitting their innovative work and the visitors to the gallery – what was your experience like?

It was very engaging! Several people posted comments and it was fun interacting with them, but what I enjoyed most was the visitors who stopped by for some give-and-take about the research. The cool thing was that they kind of pushed my thinking and made me consider new angles that I hadn’t thought about during my initial research. The challenge I had in these discussions helped me reflect on my work and how it looks to those with different experiences and knowledge than me, so I’m appreciative to everyone I chatted with. All in all, RISE was a great experience, and I’d encourage other students to submit their innovative ideas and research for the 2023 event.

Posted by Corey Ortiz, CPS’23

About RISE

RISE, the Research, Innovation, Scholarship and Entrepreneurship Expo, was born a decade ago, as a showcase for the research and creative projects being undertaken by Northeastern’s solution-focused, leading-edge students, faculty, and staff. Through the years, the Expo has grown into the largest event of its kind in the nation, as nearly 400 presenters, over 100 judges, and 1000+ attendees join us for this annual event. Click here to learn more.