Day: April 23, 2012

Tech students report on ‘market leakage’

Market leakage is a growing issue for Copper Country retailers, particularly online.

That was one of the takeaways at a presentation by Michigan Technological University students at the Keweenaw Economic Development Alliance meeting Wednesday. This is the second year School of Business and Economics Assistant Professor of Marketing Jun Min’s students have done the study, for which they received 71 responses.

In 13 product categories, this year’s study showed increasing market leakage in nine of them, including a 33 percent jump in electronics and office materials and 14 percent in cars. The four areas with stable and decreasing trends were household essentials, personal care products, groceries and medicine and drug.

Different areas benefitted the most from various areas of leakage. Online led for areas such as toys, clothing and telecommunications devices, while Marquette led in areas such as home improvement and outdoor living. The only area in which Green Bay absorbed the greatest market share was in automobiles, with 18.2 percent of respondents saying they had purchased a car in Green Bay.

It was a different story in services, where only four categories went up – rentals, real estate, household improvement and health/medical/dental. The largest decrease in leakage was 12 percent in airline and vacation services.

The bulk of the leakage was online, particularly in airline and vacation services, rental cars and education. Marquette’s strongest categories were restaurants and health/medical/dental. Green Bay again led in only one category: entertainment, museum and shows.

The local market trended downward in the Business Market Wellness index, which measures market attractiveness, satisfaction and recommendation.

The local market scored 3.35 out of 5, where 3 is neutral – behind online, as was the case last year, and also now behind Marquette and Green Bay. The weakest score was in market satisfaction, where the local market scored 3.06.

“That means people are attracted to our market, they like it, but they’re not satisfied,” said Tech student Cory Rokes. “This is something we want to rectify.”

Projections of future spending shows most to stay about the same, but with an edge toward online; 24 percent said they planned to spend more online in the next six months, more than twice the next highest total.

The group also conducted a separate leakage study for the Houghton County Memorial Airport. Of those surveyed, only four in 10 had used in the airport in the past year.

“The problem isn’t the market leakage, it’s promoting the airport,” said Tech student Sarah Ochs.

By GARRETT NEESE – DMG writer (gneese@mininggazette.com) , The Daily Mining Gazette


Business Intelligence Students Partner with Revenue Management Solutions

Students in Michigan Tech’s Business Intelligence class (MIS3400) spent less time hitting the books this semester and more time focused on an innovative, real-world project that was the result of an industry partnership with Revenue Management Solutions (RMS) headquartered in Tampa, Florida. In this upper-level class, the skills learned in previous courses were put to the test as five teams of students were provided access to a warehouse of test data from a simulated Michigan client. The assignment was to create meaningful business information from the mountain of data, and to formulate strategic recommendations for the coming fiscal year. And, creativity was a required element.

Before the project began, students chose critical roles within their teams – e.g. Consultant, Analyst, and/or Developer. During the final class session of the semester, the teams presented their prototypes and recommendations in person to the client liaison/RMS representative. Following the team presentations Ashley Johnson encouraged the students to seek out internships if they enjoyed the work performed in the class. She also commended the groups for communicating openly with her as a client throughout this scenario.

“You have done great work here,” said Ashley. “As you move forward in your careers, remember to add this to your resume, that you have created a data warehouse and are comfortable analyzing big data sets. This is exactly the type of work I would expect to see in my office,” said Ashley Johnson, Data Analytics Manager with RMS.

The student teams were told to approach the project as if the transactional data were collected from an actual client’s business enterprise. The two years’ worth of data were used to analyze performance in relation to the competition, item profitability, top product-drivers, etc. The expectation was that students learn database software skills including data extract/transform/load (ETL) using the SQL Server suite of applications, as well as Microsoft Visual Studio, Excel,  Access, and other Windows 7 software for completing the final proposal. This activity provided experiential learning that mirrors the work performed by IS/IT professionals in industry today. Lessons learned will be incorporated in the next course offering as we strive for continuous improvement of our innovative MIS curriculum.


Celebrating a Special Teacher, His Students, and Alumni

Dean Johnson with Dee and Jim Trethewey.

A packed MUB Ballroom was a testament to Dean Johnson, the James ’67 and Delores Trethewey APMP Professor in the School of Business and Economics, his students, and the couple who have endowed his professorship.

At the reception, it was a family affair, too, as Johnson’s home life was acknowledged, first by President Glenn Mroz. Johnson’s family was present, and they were given credit for helping Johnson establish the program twelve years ago. The endowed professorship was a great reflection on all of Michigan Tech, Mroz added.

Dean Darrell Radson agreed, stating that as great as the Applied Portfolio Management Program was in terms of marketing and public knowledge of the School and University, it was the impact on the students that truly mattered.

“Great business schools are always part of great universities,” Radson said. “And endowing the professorship is an important step toward greatness.”

James Trethewey said, as he thought about the day, he thought about honoring our heroes like Johnson, and authenticity.

“I looked up ‘authentic,’” he said. “And it talked about being original, trustworthy, and sincere, and that is certainly Dean. This greatness at Tech comes from everyone, too. Great leadership like Glenn, great staff, great people, including everyone in this room.”

Thus, we salute our hero, Trethewey said.

Johnson spoke on the history of the APMP: from three volunteers to more than 300 students overall; from an excursion of a golf outing to NASDAQ and Chicago Mercantile visits; from a “scholarship” of a pizza dinner to all the APMP students operating on real scholarships; from a little room in the basement to a sparkling new LSGI Trading Room with a $25,000 per year Bloomberg terminal.

“It’s really about coming full circle,” Johnson said. “Sam Tidwell changed Jim’s life, and now he and Delores are changing the lives of students.”

The ceremony continued with a plethora of student testimonials, read by Ted Simonsen ’07, who works for Ameriprise Financial locally and was representing his APMP brothers and sisters and all the students touched by Johnson.

“As much as I appreciate his teachings about investments,” Simonsen said, in his own testimonial, “it was his way of connecting with students on a personal level that meant even more. He takes the time to get to know all of his students, and I use that great example every day.”

Graduating APMP students Ann Dancy and Todd Storm, fittingly, were the last to speak. They reinforced impact that this teacher, alumnus, and program have had them, as the ceremony ended and the family of Tech celebrated heroes past, present, and future.


Entrepreneurial Lunch ‘N Learn on Tuesday

Learn all about paying your startup team members with equity.  Attorney Don Baker of Safford & Baker, PLLC will provide a noon time webinar all about stock grants and options for startup companies. Don is one of Michigan’s most experienced attorneys in startup companies and a down to earth presenter as well.   Bring your lunch and join local host John Diebel in room 101 in the School of Business and Economics building for this informative session sponsored by the MIT Enterprise Forum.  The session runs from noon – 1pm on Tuesday April 24.