Category: Awards

Business Huskies Earn First in International Portfolio Competition

photo of bronze statue of bear and bull

Students in Michigan Technological University’s College of Business have won first place in the Quinnipiac University Global Asset Management Education (GAME) Forum XI portfolio competition—Undergraduate Value Portfolio division. 

The students—Carissa Beyer, Kyle Clow, Ben Diercks, Brette Eychner, Brandon Malburg, Tyler Sepanik, and Irene Trierwieler—are members of the Applied Portfolio Management Program (APMP) and competed virtually representing Team Gold.

“It is a great recognition for this year’s team to carry on the rich tradition of APMP here at Michigan Tech by again winning the GAME Forum competition.”

Dean Johnson, dean, Michigan Tech College of Business, and founder of APMP

This is the eighth time APMP has won GAME Forum, which is the largest student-run financial conference in the world. The competition, held annually each spring, offers participants the rare opportunity to discuss and debate financial best practices with world-renowned industry leaders. More than 1,700 students attend from 140 colleges and universities across the globe. Michigan Tech has been attending the GAME Forum since its inception and its predecessor conference since 2001.

Huskies Stayed True to Investment Policy

During the year-long competition, Huskies were challenged to analyze factors including the economy, cash flow, earnings, and subscriber-based valuations, and to identify intrinsic value and mispriced assets. Joel Tuoriniemi, a professor of practice in accounting who co-instructs APMP, says the winning team was consistent in applying their philosophy in a dynamic investing environment.

“The gold team considered the impacts on portfolio holdings due to macro-level events such as the COVID-19 pandemic, supply chain disruptions, inflation, and the war in Ukraine,” Tuoriniemi says.

The team’s goal from the outset was to stick to its investment philosophy in a manner that would allow it to generate alpha, or “beat the market,” and they were able to do so both with the fixed-income and equity components of the portfolio. 

group photo of students in APMP
2021-22 Applied Portfolio Management Program students

Tech’s Applied Portfolio Management Program

Each year, Michigan Tech students are selected to lead APMP for one calendar year, managing more than $2 million in real money in US stock and bond markets. Students are chosen based on demonstrated aptitude and leadership skills in the area of finance, accounting, and financial economic theory. 

“APMP gave me a one-of-a-kind immersive experience where team building, portfolio management, and financial responsibility were paramount.”

Tyler Sepanik, Michigan Tech APMP portfolio manager

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.

COB Faculty Earn Awards for Excellence in Teaching

photo of four MTU business faculty with plaques
L to R: Ulrich Schmelzle, Sheila Milligan, Junhong Min, Jeff Wall

This spring, two College of Business (COB) faculty members—Jeff Wall, associate professor of management information systems, and Sheila Milligan, associate teaching professor of accounting—received the Provost’s Award for Sustained Teaching Excellence.

Provost’s Award for Sustained Teaching Excellence

The Provost’s Award for Sustained Teaching Excellence was established in 2020 with a goal of recognizing instructional personnel who have been nominated as finalists for the Michigan Tech Distinguished Teaching Award four or more times. Both the provost and the deans recognized that faculty consistently delivering exceptional instruction to students over many years are worthy of special distinction.

The awards include a plaque and $1,000 in additional compensation and were presented at the Academy of Teaching Excellence event. Each recipient is also considered a member of the Distinguished Teaching Academy, an elite group with an established reputation for excellent teaching.

“Congratulations to Sheila and Jeff!! This is a terrific recognition for their dedication to our students,” says Mari Buche, COB associate dean.

Provost Jacqueline Huntoon adds, “For as long as I can remember, we Michigan Tech faculty have prided ourselves on providing quality educational experiences for our students. The Provost’s Award for Sustained Teaching Excellence was designed to recognize faculty members who have received accolades from their students and colleagues over the course of many years. Faculty like this year’s awardees are doing things that we can all learn from—and they are helping to make Michigan Tech a great place for students to learn.”

View a list of all recipients.

Academy of Teaching Excellence

Also this spring, Ulrich Schmelzle, assistant professor of supply chain and operations management, was honored in person for his 2020 induction into the Academy of Teaching Excellence. Junhong (Jun) Min, associate professor of marketing, was similarly celebrated this year for his 2021 induction into the Academy, which was established in 1998 to recognize those who have demonstrated continued dedication to and support of the University’s teaching mission. Academy membership is comprised of finalists for the annual Distinguished Teaching Awards and the Fredrick D. Williams Instructional Innovation Award.

“We are all proud of Drs. Schmelzle and Min. The College of Business has built a culture to consistently deliver high-quality teaching by the entire faculty,” says Dean Johnson, COB dean.

See the complete list of recipients.

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.

2022 Student Leadership Awards Recipients

Outstanding students, staff, and alumni were honored during Michigan Tech’s 28th annual Student Leadership Awards Ceremony organized by Student Leadership and Involvement. The College of Business (COB) was represented in three of the award categories: Rising Star of the Year, Most Improved Student Organization, and Student Organization Advisor of the Year. Congratulations to all of the COB winners:

Rising Star of the Year—Jaylen Body, Michigan Tech management student

Jaylen Body
Jaylen Body

The Rising Star of the Year award recognizes a student who has shown great potential for leadership and has attempted to develop themselves personally in everything they do. Criteria includes being a full-time first- or second-year Michigan Tech undergraduate student in good conduct and academic standing.

Body was nominated by four people, who had this to say about the first-year Husky:


“From the beginning, Jaylen got involved with the McNair Hall Association as an Inter-Residence Housing Council (IRHC) representative. When IRHC had a treasurer position open up, Jaylen ran for the role and was elected unanimously by his peers.

“He worked in a thorough and precise manner to make sure he was doing what needed to be done for the organization.”

“Jaylen attended LeaderShape to help him grow into his leadership positions and is always keeping an eye out for HuskyLEAD sessions to attend as well. He also works at the Student Development Complex (SDC) Ticket Office, where he goes above and beyond to help out.”

“Jaylen brought up the concern of needing more streetlights between the SDC and Daniell Heights, so students walking at night would feel safer. The project is now underway by the Undergraduate Student Government and the Michigan Tech Grounds staff.”

“He is also a member of the Black Students Association, and with all this involvement has maintained an amazing GPA and is a great friend.”

“Jaylen helped fundraise $4,850 in the last six months, so DECA members could attend the state and national conferences.”

“He prepared practice exams and helped coordinate a workshop with a DECA alumna. All of Michigan Tech’s DECA students placed in their competitive events at states, and four of the students competed at the national level, in part because of Jaylen’s leadership.”

Most Improved Student Organization — Collegiate DECA

Members of Collegiate DECA
Members of Michigan Tech Collegiate DECA

Most Improved Student Organization is awarded to a registered Michigan Tech student organization that has demonstrated growth and adaptability when faced with challenges, allowing them to overcome obstacles and achieve success.

After a five-year hiatus and a student-led reactivation this year, all 12 Collegiate DECA members at Michigan Tech placed at the State Career Development Conference and four traveled to the International Career Development Conference, where two Huskies became international finalists in their events.

DECA students major in a variety of academic programs with a strong focus on business-related fields. Collegiate DECA conferences and other activities give students unique access to internships, scholarships, competition, and professional networking. Follow MTU DECA’s success on Instagram @mtu_deca.

Student Organization Advisor of the Year—Jenny Apriesnig, assistant professor of economics and Michigan Tech Collegiate DECA advisor

Dr. Jenny Apriesnig
Dr. Jenny Apriesnig

The Student Organization Advisor of the Year award recognizes the advisor of a registered Michigan Tech student organization who engages and motivates the organization’s membership through their participation. They are also respected by the members of the organization.

Nominators said this about Apriesnig:

“Jenny was not at all familiar with DECA in the beginning of the fall semester, yet she has taken on this role to learn and support each member. She traveled with us to the state competition and was very encouraging.”

“I know I have Jenny in my corner pushing me forward with her kind words that motivate me to continue achieving my goals.”

“She held one-on-one talks with students, getting to know them and offering exceptional advice catering to their personal success in DECA and in life.”

Departmental Scholar—Jaxon Veroff, Michigan Tech marketing student

Each academic department nominates one student to represent their department as its Departmental Scholar. From the collective departments, one student is selected to receive this award.

Veroff’s nomination included these excerpts:

“Jaxon was one of three student members of the Michigan Tech Chapter of the American Marketing Association (AMA) who placed third after competing in the regional conference.”

“He received four internship offers from industry-leading companies—General Motors, Kimberly Clark, Caterpillar, and Dow Chemical.”

“Jaxon is a senior residential assistant at East McNair Hall and the president of the American Marketing Association. He has been instrumental in organizing professional speakers.”

Nominations for next year’s Student Leadership Awards will open in early February 2023. Save the date for the 29th annual celebration, which will be held at 6 p.m. Friday, April 14, in the Memorial Union Building Ballroom.

View all the awards.

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.

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.

Tech Business Students Compete at International Collegiate DECA Conference

Four students stand in front of a DECA backdrop.
Michigan Tech Collegiate DECA members traveled to Baltimore, Maryland, to compete in their first-ever International Career Development Conference. (From left to right: Jaylen Body, Sammy Perrone, Zach Hooper, Lexi Dembroski)

This post was written by Sammy Perrone. In addition to being a first-year marketing student at Michigan Tech, Perrone serves as the Michigan Tech Collegiate DECA public relations officer and marketer.

In April, qualifying members of DECA flew to Baltimore, Maryland, for the International Career Development Conference (ICDC). Huskies were joined by nearly 900 Collegiate DECA members from more than 30 states and 50 chapters, including a chapter from England. Over the three-day conference, students took part in not only their competitive events, but also networking opportunities and the Professional Development Series.

Collegiate DECA is a student organization that prepares emerging leaders in the areas of finance, marketing, hospitality, management and entrepreneurship. Michigan Tech College of Business student competitors included:

  • Jaylen Body (Management and Social Sciences dual major)—top 10 finalist
  • Lexi Dembroski (Accounting with Data Analytics)—top 10 finalist
  • Zach Hooper (Engineering Management and Management Information Systems dual major)
  • Sammy Perrone (Marketing)

The Professional Development Series Workshop at ICDC allowed students to choose four workshops to attend throughout the day. Huskies chose from Personal Branding, Fundraising and Community Outreach, How to Network like a Pro, and Mastering Motivation.

Four students stand on stage backlit with purple lighting.
The conference punctuated a successful first year for Michigan Tech Collegiate DECA students.

 “During the Personal Branding workshop, I analyzed the way I present myself and the way others perceive my personal brand. It was great to reflect on my own brand, meet other students and see how they promote themselves and their own unique qualities,” Perrone says. 

Huskies Compete

The second and third days of the conference consisted of preliminary and final competitions. Jaylen Body (Hotel and Lodging) and Lexi Dembroski (Financial Accounting) were both finalists in their preliminary events, before moving onto the final competition where they received finalist medals on stage and were recognized as top 10 finalists internationally in their events at the awards ceremony.

Dembroski expressed that, “Competing in Financial Accounting allowed me to take concepts I learn in the classroom and apply them to real-world scenarios. As a first-year Michigan Tech business student, I cannot stress enough how valuable of an experience this was. Learning about the core financial statements in class is one thing, but actually getting the opportunity to analyze, produce and present these documents is another.”

“The career preparation provided by Collegiate DECA is unrivaled.”

Lexi Dembroski, Michigan Tech accounting student

Body, club president, adds: “Having thought about the hospitality industry as a potential career, listening to keynote speaker, Apoorva Gandhi, Marriott International’s Senior VP of Multicultural Affairs, and participating in the Hotel and Lodging event, I gained and reinforced an understanding of how business sectors come together to provide a memorable customer experience.”

In addition to competing, Perrone participated in the Sales Challenge sponsored by England Logistics. She was tasked with analyzing a sales case study and preparing a presentation to close the sale during the role-play competition. 

“I went into the Sales Challenge knowing it was a valuable opportunity to learn, challenge myself and gain knowledge. Having an understanding of sales is essential for my future in marketing,” Perrone says.

“I am grateful for the professional development opportunities DECA has provided me through the Career Development Conferences.”

Sammy Perrone, Michigan Tech marketing student

Also a first-time DECA participant, Zach Hooper, comments on what he gained from the conference, “ICDC gave me the opportunity to prepare for my future career in business. I heard from career professionals about their path to success, and how the business world works.”

In their free time, students explored the Inner Harbor of Baltimore—visiting the National Aquarium, eating at local restaurants, spending time outdoors in the sunshine and networking with chapter members from Davenport University.

Four student stand in front of a sign in Baltimore, Maryland
The group celebrated Jaylen Body’s (far left) birthday with dinner and gelato in Baltimore.

Looking Ahead

Body is optimistic about the future of DECA at Michigan Tech, stating, “After a successful startup year, Collegiate DECA will continue striving to bring more opportunities to campus for students to improve their professionalism, communication and leadership.”

Michigan Tech Collegiate DECA thanks its sponsors for helping make the trip possible: the College of Business Dean’s Advisory Council, Inter-Residence Housing Council, and the Dean of Students Office.

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.