My Life On Campus During COVID-19

Emily Kughn is a second-year student in Michigan Technological University’s College of Business, dual majoring in marketing and management with a concentration in supply chain and operations management. The Horton, Michigan, native is also a member of the American Marketing Association. Below is her piece about what it’s like living and learning on campus during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Walking onto campus to start my first year, I felt a huge mix of emotions: happy to start a new chapter, sad to leave my family and friends back home, anxious about what’s to come, and excited about my new independence. Just like any other first-time college student, I had my guesses about what college might be like, but I really had no idea what to expect. I can assure you the last thing I anticipated was a global pandemic!

Fast forward now into my second year at Michigan Tech—my everyday campus life looks much different than it did last year. Obviously, I wish more than anything that this virus never existed, but I’ve learned to forge a new path and create a new normal.

The sense of community on Michigan Tech’s campus is especially strong this year. We’ve found creative ways to come together and show support for one another. Since we can’t attend sporting events, have large gatherings, or socialize much outside of class, it makes the interaction we do get extra special. My favorite ways to safely socialize now include our outdoor movie nights, bonfires, going on hikes, and Zoom calls with my friends.

In order to thrive in online classes, I find it vital to establish a routine to stay organized. I treat my classes the same way I would if they were all in person. I make sure to mask up and head to the library at least twice a week in order to get a change of scenery while studying. I am also still very much involved in student organizations, which keeps me busy.

In the American Marketing Association, we participated in a virtual marketing competition and the Women’s Rugby Club competed against our conference in a virtual season. My student org involvement has been a major blessing; being able to stay connected with others in new ways while also staying involved in things I enjoy.

The most challenging part of the year so far has been not being able to attend all classes in person, not being able to see all of my friends, trying to meet new people, and constantly dealing with the many unknowns.

Finding opportunities to learn and grow given our current circumstances is important. Living and learning on campus during a pandemic definitely comes with challenges. However, I am thankful to be on the campus I love, still doing the things I enjoy (even if virtual for now).


Houghton Gremlins Win Husky Investment Tournament

The Husky Investment Tournament hosted this fall by the College of Business (COB) at Michigan Technological University drew more than 130 high school business students from as far away as Maryland and Florida to compete for a cash prize and scholarships toward a Michigan Tech education. 

The competition utilized a virtual stock-trading tool and College faculty-led video modules to help high school educators lead engaging conversations and lessons of their own. Teams of three to four students received $1,000,000 in virtual US dollars to build a portfolio. The group with the highest-valued portfolio earned $1,000 in prize money and all students who actively participated were awarded a scholarship to attend Michigan Tech.

“With how high schools have shifted curriculum due to COVID-19, teachers and students alike tell us that the Husky Investment Tournament has been a welcome enhancement to their virtual education,” said Dean Johnson, dean of the Michigan Tech College of Business.

Students from Houghton High School in Houghton, Michigan, came in first place at the conclusion of trading on November 16. Despite the stock market only returning five percent during the competition, the team of Milo Schaefer, Kazimir McCloskey, Matthew Ryynanen, and Trent Bukovich earned a positive 11-percent return. The winners were surprised at the outcome, with one student saying, “Going into it, we never thought we’d have a chance, but we made a few investments that really took off.”

Their teacher, Jennifer Rubin, added, “I love the opportunity that the Husky Investment Tournament provides for my personal finance students. It helps them dive into investing and really see how stocks fluctuate over a period of time—with no consequences.”

Prior to the competition, most students were unfamiliar with stock basics. 

The Husky Investment Tournament is embedded in high school economics, business, and personal finance classes. Since its launch in September 2019, 830 students across Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Maryland, Florida, and Illinois have participated. High school educators or administrators wishing to sign teams up for the spring 2021 competition, which begins March 1, should visit mtu.edu/business-tournament.


Elham Asgari Named Michigan Tech College of Business Gates Professor

The Professor of Management and Entrepreneurship in the College of Business is the 2020-21 Gates Professor.

The Gates Family Foundation partners with communities to address long-term quality-of-life challenges and opportunities. At Michigan Technological University, the position will support student engagement in entrepreneurial activities and contribute to the regional entrepreneurial ecosystem. 

Elham (Ellie) Asgari joined the faculty of the Michigan Tech College of Business after earning her PhD in business management from Virginia Tech. Her research is at the intersection between entrepreneurship and innovation, and primarily focuses on the impact of upper echelons, star employees, and human resources on technological innovation. She has presented at the Academy of Management Annual Meetings and Strategic Management Society conference, among many others, and is published in top-tier journals such as Journal of Management, Entrepreneurship: Theory and Practice, and Expert Systems with Applications.



Her most recent paper titled, “Red Giants or Black Holes? The Antecedent Conditions and Multi-Level Impacts of Star Performers” was accepted for publication in the Academy of Management Annals in fall 2020.

Prior to entering her doctoral program, Asgari worked in industry, specializing in human resource management. She holds an MBA and a bachelor’s degree in engineering.

“With her advanced business and technical background, Dr. Asgari is well-matched for Michigan Tech. The College of Business looks forward to Dr. Asgari leveraging her Gates Professor role in support of the entrepreneurial ecosystem of Michigan Tech, the Keweenaw Peninsula, and across Michigan,” says Dean Johnson, dean of the Michigan Tech College of Business.

In particular, Asgari will promote two of Michigan Tech’s flagship student-based entrepreneurial activities, the immersive Silicon Valley Experience, and the Bob Mark Business Model Competition, in addition to supporting faculty and research in the entrepreneurial area. 

Of the appointment, Asgari says: “I am very excited about this opportunity and look forward to using the capacity of the position to enhance the entrepreneurship program at MTU.”

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The Michigan Tech College of Business is large enough to lead and small enough to care. Our faculty are active in research, yet build close relationships with students. Professors understand Huskies’ career goals and provide them with the knowledge, tools, and experiences to create the future. 


Michigan Tech Husky Investment Tournament Fall 2020—Week Seven

The Academic Office Building, pictured here, is home to the Michigan Tech College of Business

Thank you for participating in the Husky Investment Tournament! This week is your final week for trading, which will close at 11:59 p.m. on Friday, November 13. The winning team will be determined by their final portfolio value at the time of the completion of the tournament. We will announce the winning team on Monday, November 16. 

We hope you have enjoyed learning and interacting with us as much as we have with you.

Once the competition is over it would make sense to calculate your portfolio return. The portfolio return is calculated by taking the ending portfolio value divided by the beginning value and converted into a percentage to yield the total portfolio return. Annually, the market has returned between 6-8 percent. How do you compare? Was your stock picking better than what the market would have returned? Our competition was only seven weeks long (35 days) compared to the 250 trading days there are in a year. Doing some math we can convert the 7 percent return to our time period of 35 days. 

7% return over 250 days = 0.028% per day
0.028% * 35 days in competition = 0.98% return

If we take the $1 million we started with and use the simple interest formula for the 0.98% return we find that it calculates out to $1,009,800.

FV = $1,000,000 * (1.0098) ^1 = $1,009,800

So all of the teams that finish above that amount “beat the market.” 

However, the portfolio return formula fails to take a very important factor into account—risk. 

We have encouraged teams to pursue risk in order to win the competition—here is the reason why. As you can see, the total portfolio return does not take the amount of risk that you pursued into account while calculating your percentage return. Because of this, teams may have found it lucrative to pursue a higher level of risk in order to achieve a higher potential return.

While this strategy works well in a trading competition, where there is nothing to lose and everything to gain from pursuing risk, we would not want you to leave the Husky Investment Tournament thinking this is the best strategy for investing for retirement, or that this is how portfolio returns are measured in industry. In the real world, portfolio returns are risk-adjusted or adjusted to show how much extra return you generated per unit of risk. This comparison shifts the question from “how much money did you make me?” to “how much did you risk to make me this money?”

In this week’s video, Dean Johnson, dean of the MTU College of Business, introduces risk-adjusted return metrics and how investors use them to measure their investment results. 


Michigan Tech Husky Investment Tournament Fall 2020—Week Six

Politics are a major factor in financial markets. With the upcoming election, news in politics is constantly impacting the market. The market has been all over the place in the past week. Although the influence of politics on the market is difficult to predict, there are several trends that have been noticeable.

Presidential candidates are often gauged as “pro” or “anti” business, and the stock market reacts accordingly. When candidates generally are seen as pro-business are leading in the polls, the market tends to go up. When candidates that aren’t seen as pro-business are in the lead, the market tends to head in the opposite direction.

Historically, it has been found that following an election year the bond market will outperform while the stock market will slightly underperform. It has also been discovered that although the party affiliation matters slightly, it does not have a huge impact on trends. The bigger question of how the market reacts is whether the incumbent party wins the presidency or not.

If the incumbent party retains the presidency, the stock market averages around six-and-a-half percent a year, while if there is a change in the party it has returned slightly lower at five percent. 

Going one step further, certain sectors and companies can be impacted to a greater extent depending on the platform of the politicians. For example, a “hawkish” politician would be good for the defensive industry versus a “dovish” politician. That being said, the effect on the stock market is a wildcard. At this point in the election process, investors will see politics playing a heavy role in the market, which will likely increase the volatility of stocks.

It is important to note that this is only historical data, and the outcome of the election could hold vastly different results for the market. “Time in the market defeats timing the market.” It is better to just be in the market longterm, rather than try to predict how the market will react to an event like an election.

Watch this week’s video to learn more about supply chain management, and how investors can use this information when making decisions.