Category: Announcements

William Breffle Named Michigan Tech College of Business Teacher of the Year

Enthusiastic, inspirational, and adaptable are how William Breffle’s students describe the economics professor and are attributes they felt worthy of the 2020-21 Michigan Technological University College of Business Teacher of the Year honor.

portrait of Dr. William Breffle

One student noted, “I have had Dr. Breffle for many courses. He cares about students, cares about the curriculum, and offers exquisite insight. The way he relates coursework to current events and trends is fantastic. He’s the best professor I have had at Michigan Tech.”

William “Bill” Breffle is an applied microeconomist specializing in environmental economics. Prior to joining Michigan Tech in 2007, he conducted economics research for Natural Resource Damage Assessments at Superfund sites.

Given the adaptations campus made during the pandemic, many of the undergraduate students who voted described Breffle’s ability to maintain a high level of teaching both in-person and over digital platforms, with one student saying: “He’s the best teacher I’ve had over Zoom. He always wants to lead students to the answer and loves class participation.”

Another student confirmed: “Dr. Breffle shows up to every class ready to teach. His enthusiasm is infectious and gives students energy to participate in class. It is clear he has a deep understanding of the material he teaches.”

Dean Johnson, dean of the College of Business, adds: “Dr. Breffle has consistently provided excellence in the classroom. We are pleased to be able to recognize him this year in the face of disruptions to the teaching environment.”

Breffle has published more than 25 research papers and 20 technical reports. Two of his journal articles have been selected for the International Library of Environmental Economics and Policy book volumes as “important and influential essays.” Another publication co-authored by Breffle is listed among the top 200 “most influential” research papers in the discipline of environmental and ecological economics.

His research focus is on the Great Lakes and their broader ecosystems that help shape the industries, recreation, and culture of the people who live near them. Breffle’s work aids in the development of policy management tools that sustain and protect the environmental and human-use services provided by these critical resources. He frequently involves students in his research activities. 

This is not the first time Breffle has been lauded for his teaching. In 2014, he was selected as the first-ever Props for Profs recipient. In 2015, Breffle was selected as a finalist for the campus-wide Distinguished Teaching Award—the University’s highest teaching honor—and he was inducted into the Michigan Tech Academy of Teaching Excellence. In 2018, Breffle was inducted by the College of Business into the business honor society Beta Gamma Sigma.

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.


International Team Takes Home MTU Husky Investment Tournament Win

The Husky Investment Tournament hosted by the College of Business at Michigan Technological University this spring drew high school business students from across the country and world to compete for a cash prize and scholarships toward a Michigan Tech education. 

Students Prabhnoor Singh, Tijil Gupta, and Amol Singh Cheema of Amity International School in Noida, Uttar Pradesh, India, came in first place at the conclusion of trading on April 16.

L to R: Prabhnoor Singh, Tijil Gupta, Amol Singh Cheema

“The tournament really helped us to get real-world trading experience while competing with other people,” the team, who worked together remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, said.

Their teacher, Virendra Verma, taught the eleventh-graders the basics of stock market investing and reached out to the College of Business for a platform to complement their existing high school curriculum and help further develop their investment skills.

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

As a result of increased interest, this semester, the competition expanded to include international participants. 

The Husky Investment Tournament is embedded in high school economics, business, and personal finance classes. Since its launch in September 2019, 917 students from across California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Virginia, and Wisconsin have participated in the Husky Investment Tournament.

High school educators or administrators wishing to sign teams up for a future competition should visit mtu.edu/business-tournament.

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.


Michigan Tech College of Business Earns Accreditation Renewal, Continues 20-Year Tradition of Quality

The Michigan Technological University College of Business (COB) has been approved for an accreditation extension to 2026 by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). 

AACSB is the longest-serving global association dedicated to advancing management education. The association is synonymous with the highest standards in business education and its accreditation has been earned by only 5% of the world’s schools offering business degrees at the bachelor’s level or higher. 

Dean Johnson, dean of the Michigan Tech College of Business, says the renewal is an affirmation of the job the College is doing.

“It’s a reflection of our ability to fulfill AACSB’s mission with our uniquely tech-focused curriculum and premiere faculty research and teaching ability,” he said.

To maintain accreditation, a school is put through a rigorous review every five years, demonstrating quality standards relating to faculty qualifications, strategic use of resources, faculty and student interaction and a commitment to continuous improvement and achievement of learning goals in degree programs. 

Why Accreditation Matters

Johnson explains why AACSB accreditation is vital. “The AACSB has strict standards for curriculum development and faculty qualifications, research and teaching. Accreditation also documents that our program innovatively responds to the ever-changing demands of the business world. The output of this excellence is seen in our students.”

Measured against peers, Michigan Tech accounting students earn the second-highest CPA pass rates in the nation and achieve the highest average score. AACSB is an internationally recognized seal employers know and trust. “Our students land paid internships after their very first semester. Top firms and corporations need our skilled thinkers who are highly adaptable and ready for any challenge,” Johnson added. 

Advancing the Future of Business

In their peer review, AACSB’s Continuous Improvement Review Committee commended COB’s Husky Investment Tournament designed for high school business classrooms. The stock-trading simulation takes pre-college students through a semester-long hands-on stock trading experience while infusing principles of the business world and introducing students to the people and opportunities in business at Michigan Tech. The outreach program provides high school business educators with easily implementable tools and resources, including video modules created by MTU students and faculty. 

In return for their participation, high school students receive a scholarship to Michigan Tech. Since its inception, the Husky Investment Tournament has reached more than 1,000 students from nine states and two countries. 

Additionally in their report, COB was lauded for its demonstrated commitment to developing curriculum centered on technology and analytics. At the undergraduate level, new offerings include a concentration in data analytics in accounting, a minor in business and the state’s first minor in financial technology (FinTech). At the graduate level, updates include a master’s degree in engineering management and graduate certificates in accounting analytics and forensic accounting. 

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.


Appleton Senior Awarded Michigan Tech Impact Scholarship

Michigan Technological University’s College of Business announces Rachel Weyenberg of Appleton, Wisconsin, as the 2021-22 Impact Scholarship recipient.

Weyenberg is the daughter of Amy and Kevin Weyenberg and is a senior at Appleton East High School. She is active as the vice president of competitive excellence in DECA, an association of high school business students who participate in career development, social events, community service activities, and competitions. She credits DECA for helping her discover a passion for business and leading her to Michigan Tech. 

photo of Rachel Weyenberg

On campus in Houghton, Weyenberg plans to pursue construction management, become active in Enterprise, and land an internship. Supported by both the College of Business and the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, the interdisciplinary construction management major was recently named the best construction management program in the state by Universities.com.

“I fell in love with Michigan Tech and all the unique opportunities offered by the University. What made me decide to attend MTU was how amazing the College of Business is. When I toured campus I met with both Associate Dean Buche and Dean Johnson. They made me feel welcomed and at home. I love the one-on-one attention each student receives and the hands-on approach.” Weyenberg says.

The Impact Scholarship, organized by Admissions, Financial Aid, and the College of Business, is an annual competitive award recognizing Michigan Tech business majors. Held virtually this year, 41 high school senior finalists from seven states were invited to participate in leadership activities via Zoom and received renewable awards ranging from $1,000 to full in-state tuition.

“Evaluators were struck by Rachel’s communication skills including public speaking experience as well as her outgoing and positive approach,” says Shannon Rinkinen, director in the College of Business and chair of the Impact Scholarship committee.

Weyenberg is also active in student council, National Honors Society, link crew, pep club, and varsity soccer. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, watching movies, and going on road trips.

“I am extremely grateful for the Impact Scholarship. This opportunity will allow me to further my education without the stress of out-of-state tuition. I know that I was meant to be a Husky.”

Next year’s Michigan Tech Impact Scholarship application will open in summer 2021.


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.