Category: Faculty Spotlight

Brown Bag Research Seminar Series

The campus community is invited to hear Laura Connolly, assistant professor of economics, present ‘Labor Mobility and the Affordable Care Act: Heterogeneous Impacts of the Preexisting Conditions Provision,’ as part of our Brown Bag Research Seminar Series, Noon to 1 p.m. on Wednesday, September 29 in Academic Office Building room 101.

Laura Connolly

“The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) preexisting conditions provision ensures that insurance companies cannot deny coverage or charger higher premiums to individuals due to a prior health condition. We evaluate the impact of this provision on job mobility in the U.S. to determine whether the provision reduced job lock for individuals with chronic conditions. Our results highlight the heterogeneous impacts of the policy on different subgroups of the population. We find significant improvements in labor mobility among male household heads with prior health conditions, but no significant change in labor mobility among females. Declines in job lock are largest among families with children and household heads with relatively low levels of education. The results are consistent with the policy improving access to healthcare, and both mental and physical wellbeing, which ultimately increased labor market flexibility for some workers.”

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.


College of Business Welcomes Professor Tripti Singh

Tripti Singh is an assistant professor of management information systems (MIS) in the College of Business at Michigan Technological University.
Dr. Tripti Singh
Dr. Singh earned her Ph.D. in MIS from the University of Alabama. Before joining the doctoral program, Singh worked in clinical research at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She also holds a Master of Business Administration (Information Systems) and a Master of Public Health (Healthcare Organization and Policy) from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Singh is also a certified Project Management Professional and holds the Six Sigma Green Belt certification from the American Society of Quality.

Her research focuses on 1) cybersecurity, 2) healthcare information systems, and 3) information privacy. She focuses on the intersection of human behavior and security within the cybersecurity domain to understand information security policy (ISP) compliance issues. Singh also researches the role of security-related stress among cybersecurity professionals. Her work focuses on understanding the digital divide, adoption of healthcare technology, information privacy, and health information disclosure issues among patients in the healthcare domain.

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.


Xin Li Joins College of Business Faculty

Xin Li is an assistant professor of finance in the College of Business at Michigan Technological University. He earned his Ph.D. in finance from the University of Cincinnati and a Master of Economics from Texas A&M University. His Bachelor of Economics was obtained from the Central University of Finance and Economics.
Professor Xin Li
Dr. Li’s research interests are in empirical asset pricing, bond pricing, institutional investments, fintech, market microstructure, and risk management. 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. A paper based on his dissertation was invited to revise and resubmit for the publication of Management Science.  

He has served as an ad-hoc referee for journals such as the Pacific-Basin Finance Journal and the Journal of Financial Counselling and Planning. Li’s teaching areas include principles of finance, advanced financial management, risk management, and investment. In the past, he was the sole winner for the Outstanding Graduate Teaching Award of the College of Business at University of Cincinnati and also won the Finance Department Teaching Award as well as the Dean’s List of Teaching Excellence. Li was the winner of the Spencer Doctoral Candidate Scholarship. He also won university-wide awards including the GSG Research Fellowship and the Excellence Award for Exemplary Scholarship from the University of Cincinnati.

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.


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.


Elham Asgari Named Michigan Tech College of Business Gates Professor

The Professor of Management and Entrepreneurship in the College of Business is the 2020-21 Gates Professor.

The Gates Family Foundation partners with communities to address long-term quality-of-life challenges and opportunities. At Michigan Technological University, the position will support student engagement in entrepreneurial activities and contribute to the regional entrepreneurial ecosystem. 

Elham (Ellie) Asgari joined the faculty of the Michigan Tech College of Business after earning her PhD in business management from Virginia Tech. Her research is at the intersection between entrepreneurship and innovation, and primarily focuses on the impact of upper echelons, star employees, and human resources on technological innovation. She has presented at the Academy of Management Annual Meetings and Strategic Management Society conference, among many others, and is published in top-tier journals such as Journal of Management, Entrepreneurship: Theory and Practice, and Expert Systems with Applications.



Her most recent paper titled, “Red Giants or Black Holes? The Antecedent Conditions and Multi-Level Impacts of Star Performers” was accepted for publication in the Academy of Management Annals in fall 2020.

Prior to entering her doctoral program, Asgari worked in industry, specializing in human resource management. She holds an MBA and a bachelor’s degree in engineering.

“With her advanced business and technical background, Dr. Asgari is well-matched for Michigan Tech. The College of Business looks forward to Dr. Asgari leveraging her Gates Professor role in support of the entrepreneurial ecosystem of Michigan Tech, the Keweenaw Peninsula, and across Michigan,” says Dean Johnson, dean of the Michigan Tech College of Business.

In particular, Asgari will promote two of Michigan Tech’s flagship student-based entrepreneurial activities, the immersive Silicon Valley Experience, and the Bob Mark Business Model Competition, in addition to supporting faculty and research in the entrepreneurial area. 

Of the appointment, Asgari says: “I am very excited about this opportunity and look forward to using the capacity of the position to enhance the entrepreneurship program at MTU.”

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The Michigan Tech College of Business is large enough to lead and small enough to care. Our faculty are active in research, yet build close relationships with students. Professors understand Huskies’ career goals and provide them with the knowledge, tools, and experiences to create the future.