Category: Academic Advising

Xin Li is COB 2021-22 Teacher of the Year

Image of professor Xin Li
Dr. Xin Li, the Michigan Technological University College of Business Teacher of the Year

During his first year as assistant professor of finance in the College of Business (COB) at Michigan Technological University, Xin Li has been named by students as the 2021-22 COB Teacher of the Year. Li came to Michigan Tech in 2021 after earning his Ph.D. in finance from the University of Cincinnati and an M.S. in Economics from Texas A&M University.

Approaching his second year at Tech, Li is already supporting students as advisor to the Finance Club, in addition to instructing Principles of Finance; Advanced Financial Management; and Risk Management and FinTech.

“Being recognized by students is my life goal and it is the highest award for a teacher.”

Xin Li, assistant professor of finance, Michigan Tech College of Business

More than 80 COB students submitted instruction evaluation responses. Here are a few of their praises about Li:

It is a special experience to be in a class with a professor who clearly loves what they are doing.”

“Dr. Li asks us to bring in outside opinions, so we can diversify our abilities.”

“FIN 3000 is not easy, but Dr. Li helps students understand difficult concepts to really excel.”

“He has a very logical way of teaching material and it has helped the content click for me.”


“Dr. Li expressed his confidence in me ahead of the final exam.”

Li has earned previous recognition for his teaching ability. He was the sole winner for the Outstanding Graduate Teaching Award of the College of Business at University of Cincinnati. He also won the Finance Department Teaching Award and was named to  the Dean’s List of Teaching Excellence.

Image of professor Xin Li

“Dr. Li has taken personal initiative by actively engaging with students, colleagues and staff. He is an excellent addition to the COB faculty, and it’s great to see him recognized for his contributions so early in his career,” says Mari Buche, Michigan Tech College of Business associate dean.

Dean Johnson, COB dean, adds: “Dr. Li’s impact on students is so great that students go out of their way to relay their praise of his teaching to me.”

On the research side, Li’s activities center on empirical asset pricing, financial institutions and markets, and market microstructure. He’s interested in understanding how human activities interact with the financial market and drive the dynamics of security prices. While existing finance research has focused on the equity market, Li’s research targets the bond market, which is occupied by passive investors such as pension funds, insurance companies and banks. He’s hopeful his papers will shed light on the strategic roles played by passive investors.

Li is also interested in burgeoning topics such as FinTech and sustainable finance.

“I love the research environment and diversified culture in the College of Business.”

Xin Li

He presents his research at national and international conferences including American Finance Association, Financial Management Association, European Financial Management Association, Eastern Finance Association, Southern Finance Association and American Risk and Insurance Association.

About the College of Business

The Michigan Tech College of Business offers undergraduate majors in accounting, business analytics, construction management, economics, engineering management, finance, management, management information systems, and marketing, as well as a general business option. Graduate degrees include the TechMBA®, a Master of Engineering Management, a Master of Science in Accounting, and a Master of Science in Applied Natural Resource Economics.

Tomorrow Needs Accounting Analytics at Michigan Tech

Students sitting at table with professor

Accounting is a critical component of any successful business. Students interested in pursuing accounting careers need to be aware that the traditional study of accounting and accountants’ roles with companies are transforming.

Data Analytics Disruption

In a recent study by KPMG, a worldwide “Big Four” accounting firm, 99 percent of organizations indicated that advanced technology could enhance their financial reporting. However, 81 percent of CEOs stated that companies were not keeping pace with the emergence of these technologies, which could help them make more informed business decisions.

Accounting at Michigan Technological University responded by developing an updated, robust curriculum at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Our program prepares students to make immediate and valuable contributions in professional environments by instruction them in the core areas of accounting in addition to contemporary coursework in data analytics.

BS in Accounting

The Michigan Tech Bachelor of Science in Accounting offers an 18-credit concentration in data analytics. Students enrolled in this major prepare to sit for the CPA exam to become licensed accountants and complement their education with topics including data cleaning and visualization, programming, statistical analysis, and optimizations.

Measured against peers, Michigan Tech accounting students earn the second-highest CPA pass rates in the nation and achieve the highest average score.

MS in Accounting

At the graduate level, learners in the Master of Science in Accounting program can also earn certificates in analytical skills expected of them in today’s workforce: accounting analytics and forensic accounting

In a STEM-focused institution like Michigan Tech, the accounting program has the faculty and resources to provide students with an educational experience that bridges the gap between accounting and technology. Accounting analytics skills set our students apart.

Career Success in Accounting

Taylor Johnston
Taylor Johnston

For senior Taylor Johnston, finding the right major took a few tries. “I started in chemical engineering and switched to chemistry before classes even started,” she said. “I stayed in chemistry for four years before realizing that my heart just wasn’t in it anymore.” After moving to management information systems in the College of Business, Johnston found herself in Sheila Milligan’s Accounting Principles I course in fall 2020 and after two weeks of class, she ran to her advisor to add accounting with data analytics as a dual major.

“No one thinks of accounting as a glamorous career, but the passion and enthusiasm Sheila shows in her teaching lit a fire inside of me I never knew I had.

Taylor Johnston, Michigan Tech accounting student

Johnston spent last summer interning as a tax accountant with Freeport-McMoRan. In that role, she created a database from scratch and automated more than 20 calculations that were required each quarter.

 “I was the only person in the entire department able to do this since I had the accounting background and analytics skills.”

Taylor Johnston, Michigan Tech accounting student
Student Taylor Johnston snowshoeing


Now, she’s gaining attention from Silicon Valley corporations and Big Four accounting firms, but first has her sights set on achieving her MS in Accounting. “I’m committed to completing the accelerated master’s in accounting program to continue strengthening my skills in a subject I love.” 

About the College of Business

The Michigan Tech College of Business offers undergraduate majors in accounting, construction management, economics, engineering management, finance, management, management information systems, and marketing, as well as a general business option. Graduate degrees include the TechMBA®, a Master of Engineering Management, a Master of Science in Accounting, and a Master of Science in Applied Natural Resource Economics.

My College Internship in the Time of COVID-19

By Mitchell DeLong

My name is Mitch DeLong, and I am excited to share information about my summer 2020 internship with Plexus Corporation. I am a fourth-year Michigan Tech student studying management with a concentration in supply chain and operations management in the College of Business.

MTU business student Mitchell DeLong

Despite the many challenges COVID-19 has presented, I was fortunate to find an opportunity to learn and grow with Plexus at their Neenah, Wisconsin, operations. While completing work with a mask on and undergoing regular temperature checks has not previously been routine during an internship, I am thankful for the safety precautions Plexus established.

Due to the pandemic, all in-person gatherings for interns were canceled. However, Plexus took steps to ensure we could still connect and have a great experience. They offered safe and engaging activities from virtual game nights to book clubs. Overall, my internship relied heavily upon the use of computers to do my work and connect with peers. Training from both Plexus and Michigan Tech prepared me for these technology-centered interactions. 

I held the title of materials intern. The title may sound simple, but the work I was exposed to was beautifully complex. In the center where I was based, low-volume, high-complexity circuit boards are manufactured for use in advanced electronic equipment. The circuit boards Plexus makes are found in equipment ranging from advanced medical machinery to airplane controls. Some of the circuit board assemblies I worked with contain more than a thousand individual parts!  

Coordinating the movement of so many parts was challenging and it was also rewarding knowing that the assignments I completed helped provide end-users with a risk-free experience.

https://connect.plexus.com/sites/Communications/MMD/Approved%20Images/_w/Markets_AD_02_jpg.jpg

My tasks entailed procuring parts within the aerospace and defense market sector. I made connections with supply chain professionals and practiced techniques I learned in my courses at Michigan Tech.

Interning during a pandemic also provided the unique opportunity to learn firsthand about extreme fluctuations in supply chains. Some parts experienced a “Bull-whip” effect and were directly impacted by manufacturing changes related to the public health crisis. As a purchaser of those parts, it was my job to minimize the negative impacts of the supply chain so that production managers and customers could get the products they need on-time and at a fair cost. 

Beyond that, I worked with mentors to develop a long-term agreement project to stabilize and guarantee the supply and demand for critical components for circuit board assemblies.

While my internship only lasted 11 weeks, I am grateful that Plexus provided me with a project that will make a difference for years to come.

https://connect.plexus.com/sites/Communications/MMD/Approved%20Images/_w/Markets_AD_06_jpg.jpg

Securing Your First Business Internship as a Husky

By Matt Chard, third-year management information systems student

The first moment I stepped onto Michigan Tech’s campus, I became overwhelmed with emotion. It was an exciting time—balancing classes, joining student organizations, and making new friends—all while looking to secure my first summer internship. With so much going on, you may wonder where to begin to find that first internship. Let me share my story and help answer some of your questions.
Photo of MTU student Matt ChardMy first introduction to Michigan Tech Career Services was only weeks into my first semester. I walked out of class to find the center of campus filled with the newest vehicles from Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) and Ford Motor Company. As a motor enthusiast, I was interested in learning more, so I took the initiative to talk to the company representatives. I had a casual conversation about the new vehicle features and I ended up learning about career opportunities, which got me fired up to apply what I was learning in class to industry. I was now determined to get an internship! 

As the semester continued and the Fall Career Fair approached, I attended several résumé help sessions, where company representatives spent time providing feedback to strengthen my résumé and help me create an effective elevator pitch.

I felt ready for my very first Career Fair. Dressed head to toe in professional apparel, improved résumé in hand, ready to deliver my pitch. After more than four hours, I talked to about 20 companies. Feeling confident, I was getting ready to leave when I saw that the Harley-Davidson booth line had dwindled down to just a few folks. I saw on their Handshake page that they were only recruiting engineers. Still, my passion for riding motorcycles brought me to the booth. The conversation started with a brief introduction, quickly moving the topic to the motorcycle on display. I gradually shifted the conversation to how business students provide value even in an engineering workspace. I handed the representative my résumé before departing.

That evening, I received a few phone calls to set up interview times for the next day. Fortunately, I attended a Career Services’ mock interview practice session and was prepared. After the interview, I felt that I nailed it, but what was next? After sending follow-up emails thanking the representatives and reiterating my excitement for the positions, I received an offer letter for a summer internship with Amway and a four-month co-op with Harley-Davidson during the fall semester. All of my hard work and preparation paid off! I reached my goal of securing my first internship.

I found that the best strategy was to utilize Career Services, emphasize your passion regardless of its relevance to the job, and, most importantly, work on interpersonal communication and the ability to engage in small talk to develop relationships. 

In addition to campus-wide programs like Career Servies, to help facilitate the process of getting prepared for your first internship, the Michigan Tech College of Business has a program called Professional Blueprint. It is a series of steps and resources to guide you toward reaching your dream career. Plus, as you progress through the Blueprint, you earn College of Business swag and get an honors cord to wear at commencement!

I am glad I took advantage of every opportunity available to me. Michigan Tech prepares you not only in the classroom but through a variety of career experiences. There is no doubt you will be ready to create the future after leaving Michigan Tech!

It’s Okay to Be Undecided

by Emma Melchiori

As a huge pack of new Huskies joins the Michigan Tech family this fall, I am finding myself reflecting on the beginning of my journey at Michigan Tech, and particularly, the uncertainty I felt surrounding my major. It did not take me long to realize that engineering was not for me, and I was worried that it was not a good thing to feel this way.

If any new Huskies are reading this, I am here to tell you: it is okay to not feel settled in the major that you chose when deciding to come to MTU. If you feel like you made the wrong decision, do not panic. There is more than enough time for you to switch your major and make any changes necessary to ensure that you will get the right education for what you WANT to do!

Two students eating
That’s me, on the right, just beginning my journey in business last year

When applying to Michigan Tech, I applied into environmental engineering and shortly before classes started in the fall, I switched my major to engineering management because after finishing out my senior year of high school, I knew I wanted to do business as part of my career. After my first week of classes, I figured out that engineering was just not something that I was interested in. This is when I discovered the general business pathway within the School of Business and Economics. Although you cannot graduate with the major of general business, it has helped me to immerse myself in all sorts of different business classes to find out exactly which business path I want to travel down. It’s the perfect placeholder for a major if you know you want to end up in some field of business, but you aren’t sure exactly which one yet.

And remember, it is okay to be unsure!

Through general business, I have taken different business courses already and there are many more to come, of course, as I am a sophomore here now. So far, I have taken a liking to accounting, and am planning to declare my major in accounting soon. Other courses that I have enjoyed surround topics like economics and marketing. Some of these business courses can fill elective slots as well, so if you are simply curious as to what a business course might have to offer but do not want to declare a major in the School of Business and Economics just yet, why not take a business course and see what it is all about? It certainly can’t hurt! Maybe it could lead to a minor in business?

The thing that really sparked my excitement for accounting was the internship this past summer with an environmental engineering firm in my hometown of Marquette, Michigan. I was an accounting intern at a company called TriMedia Environmental and Engineering Services. It was a great learning experience for me, and I was able to do hands-on projects and tasks, which gave me a preview of what an entry-level job in accounting might look like. For these reasons, I urge anyone who wants real-world learning and a view into what a career in their field might look like to seek out an internship. For me, this experience sold me on accounting and helped me to envision what I want my future to look like.

If you are thinking of changing your major, my best advice to you would be to do the necessary exploring to find out what you love to do and chase that. I would rather be pursuing a major that I love than pursuing something that I will be kind of happy with. It might feel scary to abandon a major that you have declared for yourself, but from personal experience, I am much happier now that I have found accounting, and I believe you can find the perfect major for yourself, too!

Discover the business major that’s right for you. Take our online business major assessment now.