All posts by Tanya Maki

Silicon Valley Visit – Students See the Future

Students at Brocade in Silicon Valley.

In spring 2011, students from across Michigan Tech had the opportunity to glimpse the professional possibilities that await them, thanks to a special spring break trip organized by the late School of Business and Economics Professor Bob Mark.

“While attending a conference in Silicon Valley a few years ago, I toured a high-tech business and saw technology that blew my mind,” said Mark. “It hit me that Michigan Tech students would really benefit from seeing what’s out there.”

To expose students to businesses that hire technologically savvy graduates, Mark organized tours of Silicon Valley companies, including Google, the Porter Family Vineyards, Plug n’ Play, the Stanford Research Institute, and Brocade Networks.

“Each and every site visit was a huge success,” he said. “The students asked great questions, and the company representatives were thrilled to have in-depth discussions. This type of technical expertise is not something they see in standard student groups—but then, Michigan Tech students are a cut above the rest.”

Participating students came from departments across campus, creating an interdisciplinary experience that Mark saw as beneficial for the entire group. Of the fifteen students, there were undergraduates and graduate students from business, computer science, mechanical engineering, and physics. Four were from China, one was from India, and one was from West Africa.

Michigan Tech alumni played a large role in the success of the trip, lending their time and expertise to enhance the students’ experience. Dave House ’65 led a presentation and data center tour at Brocade Networks, Tom Porter’s ’68 son, Tim, gave an in-depth tour of his family’s Napa winery, and Danielle VanDyke ’06 acted as a tour guide at Google’s Mountain View campus.

To wrap up the week, the Michigan Tech Alumni Association set up a reception at the Computer History Museum, which was attended by more than thirty alumni. Shankar Mukherjee ’86 and Dale Luck ’79 gave testimonials and entrepreneurial words of wisdom to the students at the reception.

“Our alumni love to talk to current students,” said Mark. “They went above and beyond to get us unique access, and we were treated like royalty everywhere we went.”

The spring break trip received positive feedback from both students and participating businesses—so much, in fact, that it will be offered as a one-credit class through Michigan Tech starting in spring 2012. The new structure will allow students to use their financial aid to cover the expenses. Mark expressed hope that the class will expand in the future to include faculty and students from all across campus. “We have great, smart students here at Michigan Tech, and it’s great to get them out into the world.”

The hard work, planning, and logistics that went into the trip were well worth the effort, said Mark. “The students’ reactions were unbelievable. When I was dropping off the last student, I asked what he thought. What he said summed it up perfectly: ‘It was life-changing.’”

Editor’s note: Bob Mark passed away after this article was written; we have included it to showcase his dedication to his students and his interest in their futures.

This article was originally published in Impact, the Michigan Tech School of Business and Economics magazine.


Change for Change – Help raise money for Michigan Youth in Government

The School of Business and Economics, American Marketing Association (AMA) student chapter is raising money for students to attend the Michigan Youth in Government (MYIG), a Conference where high school students enact as an actual government. These students write bills and proposals about Michigan’s current issues and debate on those issues. They also run for leadership positions such as Governor, Lt. Governor, Speaker of the House, Lobbyists, Senators, and Representatives.

A lot of students have taken a class in preparation for this conference, and have put a lot of time and effort into this, but do not have the funds to attend. Help reward these students for their hard work and dedication by donating to the Change for Change fund.

How you can help? Check your pockets …

A little spare change can go a long way! There are RED trash cans placed all over campus to collect change or dollars to raise money for the students. Any donation is appreciated.

Thank you in advance!


Meet Your Major Night Event is a Success

Dr. Paul Nelson and Dr. Mark Roberts discussing the Economics Major.

For the first time ever, students were given a unique opportunity to explore the seven undergraduate majors within the School of Business and Economics in individual, hour long session for each field of study.

Meet Your Major Night consisted of  three evenings with faculty, alumni, and current students from each major to explain more about the degree options.  Faculty members discussed curriculum and what to expect from each major. Alumni described their Michigan Tech experience—internships/co-ops, participation in student organizations, their present careers, and plans for the future—either in person or by video conferencing.

Meet Your Major Night was well received by students, as they had a chance to talk with Michigan Tech alumni that are working in their fields of study, and learn what companies are looking for when hiring.

Business management and marketing student, Alix Rugg, commented,  “It helped me learn how MIS fits into the large picture of the business world”, and also learned how important internships are for future employment.

Finance student Warren Kesti mentioned that, “The session gave me a solid foothold to make a decision on what major to pursue.”

Carly Benson, Recruiter and Outreach Coordinator for the School of Business and Economics, orchestrated the first time event to present the seven majors within the school to current students studying business and economics as well as other students who may be interested in changing their major.

After the event, Benson noted, “This event was a great opportunity for our faculty and alumni to showcase the great things that can be done with each individual School of Business and Economics degree. It was a great success and we look forward to repeating the event.”


Business students express their thoughts to local businesses

School of Business and Economics Students
Business students Kaylee Betzinger, Chris LaBaere, and Megan Plis at the "Eggs and Issues" forum.

Michigan Tech School of Business and Economics students talked to members of the local business community last week about what they like about the area and what things they’d like to see improve.

Business students Megan Plis (Management and Spanish), Kaylee Betzinger (MIS and Marketing) and Chris LaBaere (Finance) spent an hour answering questions at the Keweenaw Peninsula Chamber of Commerce’s monthly Eggs & Issues forum.

“I think it’s really interesting to see and meet the local business owners and the people that are really involved in our community, and it’s an interesting opportunity to both network and offer our own opinions,” said Plis.

The goal of the event was for local businesses to find out and understand what they’re doing well and the types of things they can improve upon. LaBaere said he wants to see a Jimmy John’s come to the area; Betzinger would like an “eclectic, old record store” and backpacking store, with information, guides and outdoor gear.

Associate Professor of Management Information Systems Mari Buche also attended the event, “In spite of the 7am time slot, the students were eager to particpate in the discussion with local business leaders. The fact that their opinions were being solicited means that the community at large is interested in helping college students to feel connected while they are residents of the Keweenaw area. As a direct result of this interaction, we can look forward to more events designed to attract students to downtown shops. Keep watching for giveaways and discounts. As all three Michigan Tech representatives stated: Students like FREE stuff.”

To see more of what the business students suggested, see the Daily Mining Gazette article, and the TV6 new article and video.


Entrepreneur Forum: Building A Great Team

team work, building great teams Michigan Tech
Join us on Tuesday, November 8th for this great event!

How often have you heard:  “We don’t invest in products, we invest in people!”, or “Who’s on the management team?”  Time and again, history has shown that companies with ordinary products backed by extraordinary people succeed in the marketplace.  Learn why this is the case.

But if your company is starting out, or one with limited resources, and can’t really afford a Fortune 500 pay package, what can you do to attract and retain the talent that you need to compete in this highly competitive world?   How do you negotiate equity positions?  Learn how to build awesome teams that match your current stage of business development and your current funding status.  Learn steps for supporting highly creative and innovative team environment. Bring your questions and thorniest challenges to this program to advance your technology entrepreneurship skill set.

Tuesday, November 8

Networking social with refreshments 5:30 PM

Panel discussion 6:00 PM to 7:45 PM

Michigan Technological University
ATDC Conference Room
1402 E. Sharon Avenue
Houghton, MI

Locally hosted by Michigan Tech’s Office of Innovation & Industry Engagement, the School of Business and Economics and the Keweenaw Economic Development Alliance.  The public is welcome to attend at no cost.

Please join us!  This series has generated a lot of practical advice from the trenches on how it is really done.

Contact John Diebel (jfdiebel@mtu.edu) 487-1082 for more information.