Category: APMP

APMP Holds Junior Day

Director of APMP, Dean Johnson, prepares another group of students for APMP participation during their senior year.

On April 22nd, the Applied Portfolio Management Program (APMP) held the sixth Annual “Junior Day”. This special event serves to kick start the incoming juniors, as they take over as the new portfolio managers of the APMP portfolio. The juniors began their morning by attending the Spring APMP Advisory Board and watching the graduating APMP senior student portfolio managers present their year-end performance results.  After being introduced to the APMP Advisory Board, the juniors attended a series of guest lectures. This year’s guest speakers included: Ryan Layton, Tim Bailey, Larry Durland, and Paul Kasriel.

Ryan Layton and Tim Bailey are both APMP alumni and introduce the juniors to the program that led them to the careers they have today.  Ryan currently works as a portfolio manager with Main Street Investment Advisors in Chicago. Mr. Layton discussed the importance of asset allocation and the process used by Main Street Investment Advisors to determine a portfolio’s optimal asset allocation. Mr. Bailey works at Fortress Investment Group in San Francisco, which is a $44 billion Private Equity/Hedge fund. He discussed alternative asset investing strategies employed in the hedge fund industry with the new APMP students.

APMP Advisory Board Chairman Larry Durland, discussed the thoughtful development of an investment philosophy and strategy, during his time with the APMP teams. In addition to talking to the APMP teams, Mr. Kasriel also opened his presentation to the entire School of Business and Economics.  Over 60 students attended his guest lecture on the current macroeconomic decisions facing the Federal Reserve and investors. A resident of Door County, Wisconsin, Mr. Kasriel serves as the President of Econtrarian, LLC and is a senior economics and investment advisor with Legacy Private Trust Company of Neenah, Wisconsin.

Junior Day give the students exposure and experience talking with professionals working in the world of finance. As APMP team members, they will be responsible to the APMP Advisory Board as they manage over $1 million during their senior year at Michigan Tech.

Financial support for Junior Day was provided by James and Dolores Trethewey.

APMP Students Win CFA Challenge in Kalamazoo

Michigan Tech APMP students placed first in the CFA Challenge. (L to R: Anna Paul, Jessica Zaiki, Justin Wilson, Eli Karttunen, and APMP Director Dean Johnson)

Michigan Tech’s student team took first place at the CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) Institute Research Challenge held in Kalamazoo recently. With the win, the team advances to the Americas Regional competition to be held in Toronto, March 20-21.

In the challenge, the students from five universities analyzed Perrigo, a pharmaceutical company, and made investment recommendations to them. The Michigan Tech team had traveled to Perrigo’s headquarters last semester to begin their research. The challenge was held on the campus of Western Michigan University.

“We based our recommendation on four basic factors: strong business fundamentals, sustainable growth factors, positive industry outlook and limited risk factors,” said team member Jessica Zaiki. “Paired with strong financials, these fundamentals gave us an overall buy recommendation for Perrigo.”

Teammate Anna Paul added, “Since we’ve made our recommendation, the Perrigo’s price has risen and is approaching our target price.”

“The team had to prepare written reports and oral presentations to a panel of Wall Street executives,” said advisor Dean Johnson, the James and Delores Trethewey Professor in the School of Business and Economics. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for students to have a real-world experience of what it’s like to make an investment recommendation.”

The Tech students participating are also members of the Applied Portfolio Management Program (APMP), a student group that invests more than $1 million in the stock market.

Other schools participating in the competition were Grand Valley State University, Ferris State University, the University of Toledo and Western Michigan University.

The Research Challenge was hosted by the CFA Society of West Michigan, an association of investment professionals: portfolio managers, security analysts, investment advisors, and other financial professionals.

Jeff Tryka, CFA Society of West Michigan president, congratulated Michigan Tech and said, “This is the third year we’ve sponsored the competition, and each year we have seen the quality of research and presentations improve on those of previous years, so it’s clear that every student who participated in the competition should be proud of their accomplishment.”

“We’re very excited to be heading to Toronto to represent Michigan Tech and the whole region to the next level,” said team member Eli Karttunen. “It’s an amazing opportunity for which our hard work is paying off.”

Financial support for the students’ participation in the CFA Challenge also came from James and Dolores Trethewey.

Written by Dennis Walikainen, senior editor in University Marketing and Communications.

What happened this semester? Fall 2012 Student Project Round-up.

It seemed like just yesterday that campus was green and the sun was shining–wait, that was yesterday. Even with a relatively mild fall as a distraction, the students in the School of Business and Economics have been busy making significant advances in their own professional development, marketing savvy, and knowledge conquests. Reflect back with us as we review a few of the best class projects from the Fall 2012 semester at Michigan Tech.

APMP students, Anna Paul, Jessica Zaiki, Mike Harry, and Justin Wilson met with Perrigo's CFO to discuss corporate financial decision making.

On-Site Company Research for Finance Competition at Perrigo

In late November, four students in the Applied Portfolio Management Program traveled to Perrigo, the largest manufacturer of over-the-counter pharmaceuticals in the United States, located in Grand Rapids, Michigan as part of the CFA Institute Research Challenge. This competition brings students, publicly traded companies, and industry investment professionals together to promote hands-on mentoring and intensive training in company analysis and presentation skills.

Anna Paul, Jessica Zaiki, Mike Harry, and Justin Wilson took part in the investor relations meeting and talked to Perrigo’s CFO, Judy Brown, about financial decision making and analysis within the company. The students will now take the information and compile financial forecasting to present at a competition against five other schools at Western Michigan in February.

“This trip made learning about the actual company so much easier than pulling information from the website,” said Paul. “It’s nice to see that a world leader in the pharmaceutical industry cares about the local community and not about cutting corners.”

This is the first year that Michigan Tech was able to take part in this competition thanks to the support given to APMP by Jim and Dolores Trethewey.

Management Information Systems Students Team Up with Blue Terra Energy

Dave Camps, CEO of Blue Terra Energy, LLC, pictured with Emily Jensen, Rachel Plafchan, and Seth Stever, students in MIS 4100.

Emily Jensen, Rachel Plafchan, and Seth Stever worked closely with Blue Terra Energy LLC, a local energy company in Hancock, to develop a usable database system as part of an upper-division management and information systems class. Assistant Professor in Management Information Systems (MIS), Haiyan Huang, orchestrated the curriculum to include this experiential learning opportunity.

“The goal was to streamline the data collection, organization, updating, reporting, and analysis processes for the company,” she added.

Working closely with client Dave Camps, CEO of Blue Terra Energy and ’93 Mechanical Engineering alum, students were able to create a workable database with customized customer fields, inputs, and sorting that will keep projects running smoothly.

“I have been very uneasy about our data and the cost to maintain it. I am very excited about the system the students developed and it has great potential,” said Camps. “This system is really going to help us a lot to track customers, schedules and orders. It will allow us to move forward more aggressively. I am eager to get this implemented on our server.”

Finance U: Educates Michigan Tech Students about Financial Literacy

First FinanceU Event hosted at Michigan Tech. A partnership between the Finance Club and the Office of Financial Aid.

During December, the Michigan Tech Finance Club, in partnership with the Michigan Tech Office of Financial Aid, held the first FinanceU educational event at the J.R. Van Pelt and John and Ruanne Opie Library. Aimed at fostering financial literacy on campus, the event was specifically tailored to students, regardless of class and major. Finance Club members offered personal consultations and information related to personal finance, financial aid opportunities, the upcoming FAFSA for 2013-14, and useful tips on how to benefit from CashCourse – a free online personal finance program sponsored by the Alumni Association.

“Since last May, this fantastic group of students and financial aid representatives have been working together on organizing and developing content to make FinanceU as effective and fun as possible for everyone, regardless of class and major,” said Finance Club Advisor, Dr. Emanuel Oliveira. “Now it is time to learn from this first experience and the 69 questionnaires we were able to collect from students concerning their demographics and financial habits. Ultimately, the goal is to make FinanceU an annual financial literacy event on campus though we are also seriously considering the feasibility of holding it every semester. We sincerely believe that all participants have something to win from this.”

A Leaner Meaner Brand: Students Report on Subway’s Marketing

Amber Campbell, Michael Bennet, Joel Vertin, and Qin Xu developed a marketing plan to improve the brand of Subway in both America and China.  As part of the MBA Marketing, Technology, and Globalization course taught by Assistant Professor of Marketing Soonkwan Hong, the team worked together to present a compelling case for change. The final presentation is available on the School of Business and Economics YouTube channel.

Marketing for Local Businesses: Gitzen Company


Students in Assistant Professor of Marketing Jun Min’s Business-to-Business marketing course provide marketing consulting for local companies. This student consulting project was designed to apply knowledge of marketing theories in a real business context, evaluate the practices of the client company, and develop an advertising strategy for potential customers.

A team of students including Angela Barr, Kaylee Betzinger, Chyanne Knudsen, Samantha Robbins, Christina Ruth, and Sarah Vadnais put together a strategy that included a commercial (above) for Gitzens Company that provides food products such as candy and snacks and operates out of Houghton, Michigan.

Digital Marketing for is a new website that combines features from popular social sites, such as Pinterest and Sharethis, and integrates online advertising by using Googles Ad Sense. While is a live site, the founders are completing beta testing and needed digital marketing advice for their formal launch.  Instructor Cindy McColley’s Digital Marketing class completed projects and sent them to the founders who were thrilled to obtain thoughts and insights from the Michigan Tech students; and they were impressed with the quality and detail of the work.

View the digital marketing projects from Lindsee Willis and Alexander Alsobrooks.

Students Take Bloomberg Aptitude Test

While most students had already left Houghton in the rearview following five days of finals, 22 School of Business and Economics students gathered for yet one more exam. The Bloomberg Aptitude Test (BAT) was developed in collaboration with financial professionals, recruiters, and academics to uncover knowledge and skills relevant for a financial career.

“Bloomberg already provided students with Bloomberg Certification in the use of the Bloomberg terminal.  Now Bloomberg has strengthed its commitment to students achievement through the BAT,” said James and Dolores Trethewey APMP Professor Dean Johnson. “The BAT allows Bloomberg to bring prospective employers together with skilled investment students.”

Over thirty five thousand people around the world have completed this proctored exam, specifically designed for people who are interested in working with investments. The 165-question exam covers topics ranging from financial statement analysis to portfolio management, ethics, and logic in a three-hour period.

Brent Halonen, a 2011-2012 member of the Applied Portfolio Management Program achieved a notable accomplishment by placing among the top 525 (1.5%) test takers. “The BAT is was a good opportunity to show the world what we learned in school in a unbiased environment,” said Brent. “I think my results reflect the strength of APMP and the educational opportunity that it represents.”

Congratulations to Brent and the rest of the test takers.

Dean Johnson Named Michigan Professor of the Year

Dean Johnson

April 3, 2012—

Dean Johnson, the James and Delores Trethewey Associate Professor in Michigan Technological University’s School of Business and Economics, has been named Professor of the Year by the Presidents Council, State Universities of Michigan (PCSUM). Johnson shares the honor with professors from Michigan State, Saginaw Valley State and Wayne State Universities. 

 “Dean Johnson has demonstrated his outstanding teaching ability over the years to many students through the Applied Portfolio Management Program, which he designed and directs,” said Darrell Radson, dean of the School of Business and Economics. “We are very proud that his abilities have also been recognized by higher education leaders and professors across our state.”

The four Michigan Professors of the Year were judged on student learning, interactions with graduates, experiential learning, academic advising, undergraduate research opportunities, and scholarship on teaching and learning.

“It is great to be recognized with this honor, especially since it is presented for teaching and guiding students,” Johnson said. “I know that our Applied Portfolio Management Program (APMP) also had a lot to do with it, and a lot of people have helped me with APMP over the years.”

In the APMP, students invest real money in the stock market. Their portfolio now totals more than $1.3 million. They have won the RISE (Redefining Investment Strategy Education) national investment competition three times.

In nominating Johnson, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Max Seel was effusive over the business professor’s record of advising, teaching, scholarship and devotion to his students.

“Johnson,” he said, “has a genuine concern and compassion for each individual student.” His devotion to his students was revealed when he began the APMP program, Seel said.

“APMP was the result of a single, new, untenured professor who took the risk to expend enormous amounts of time to secure the required resources necessary,” Seel said, noting that Johnson had “established an Advisory Board of investment professionals” and “secured the physical space, furniture, computers to house the program; acquired the actual money for the students to manage; built relationships with guest speakers; located internships; and many other necessary, ongoing activities.”

The APMP students are now housed in the new LSGI Trading Room, with Bloomberg trading platform, thanks to Johnson’s leadership and alumnus Joe Dancy.

Johnson has previously won the Michigan Tech Distinguished Teaching Award twice–only the third professor in the history of the University so honored. He is a member of the Michigan Tech Teaching Academy (which recognizes teaching excellence), and has been honored with the James and Delores Trethewey APMP Professorship. 

Johnson himself once said, “When I walk into the classroom, I have an hour to make a difference in the lives of those students. . . . I try to find out where they’re from and what career goals they have. Once you develop a personal relationship, it becomes much easier to push, push, push them to learn and study because they realize I truly have their best interest at heart.”

Michigan Technological University ( is a leading public research university developing new technologies and preparing students to create the future for a prosperous and sustainable world. Michigan Tech offers more than 130 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in engineering; forest resources; computing; technology; business; economics; natural, physical and environmental sciences; arts; humanities; and social sciences.