Category: Accounting

Dollar Tree CFO Visits Tech Accounting

The Michigan Tech accounting major and the Kappa Sigma Iota Club welcomed Kevin Wampler ’86 on September 27, 2021, as part of the College of Business Distinguished Guest Speakers Series. Mr. Wampler is the chief financial officer (CFO) of Dollar Tree Inc. Prior to joining Dollar Tree, he served as chief financial officer of The Finish Line, Inc. A certified public accountant, Wampler began his career at Ernst & Young after graduating from Michigan Tech.

First-year accounting and management dual major Jaylen Body was in attendance and he says that one of the takeaways he learned from Kevin’s presentation is to venture into different areas of a company to gain insight into what’s working—and what’s not. ”I learned the importance of seeking opportunities that’ll challenge me and benefit the company,” Body says.

While on campus, Wampler also paid Sheila Milligan’s ACC2000 Principles of Accounting class a visit where he emphasized the importance of lateral moves within a company. He described the impact data analytics can have on decision-making and he challenged students to develop solid people-management skills, which can dramatically impact career advancement. 

Wampler has served on the Indianapolis 500 Festival Board, as a trustee for the Norfolk Botanical Garden, and as a Boy Scouts of America leader, and was inducted into the School of Business and Economics Academy of Business in 2017. He also serves on the College of Business Dean’s Advisory Board and resides in Virginia Beach with his wife, Renee. Together they have two adult children.

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 Student Selected as Gates Scholar

Jaylen Body is no stranger to scholarship applications. The Warren, Michigan, native who attended Chandler Park Academy was a finalist in both the Impact Scholarship and Leading Scholar events on campus earlier this year.

Michigan Tech student Jaylen Body

The two competitive awards served as a warm up for Body who would later learn about the Gates Scholarship from his college counselor.

Funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Gates Scholarship is intended for minority and low-income, college-bound students. Body was one of 300 students to earn a full-ride award out of an applicant pool of nearly 35,000 across the nation. The three-phase scholarship process began back in summer 2020, culminating in a five-day virtual conference in spring 2021.

“The Gates Scholarship is a foundation for my future; putting ‘Gates Scholar’ on my résumé makes me stand out as a driven and determined person, and that makes me feel incredibly proud,” Body says. Michigan Tech student Jaylen Body

Jaylen began his college search early. By the 10th grade he was sold on Tech’s business program and already connected to many faculty and staff on campus. “I knew I wanted to go to a college with an atmosphere that was not only academically innovative but also made me feel comfortable for being different.”

Browsing YouTube, he found “Jack’s Vlogs.” The quick-hitting, student-produced videos gave him a preview of Tech’s atmosphere. “Those videos really made me fall in love with campus,” he adds.

For Body, who is pursuing a dual major in accounting and management, his goals on campus go beyond simply earning a degree. “I truly hope to make as many contributions as I can to help foster the growth of Michigan Tech. It’s my second home and I want it to be the best it can possibly be.”

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 First Year at MTU: Marco Marquez

MTU student Marco Marquez stands at a podium
Having grown up in Detroit, Michigan, Marco Marquez felt ready for the natural, rugged beauty of the Keweenaw Peninsula. The unique location, along with Michigan Tech’s STEM focus, led him to enroll in engineering management.

Since starting at Michigan Tech in the fall of 2019, Marco has adjusted and loves his second home. At first, he wasn’t sure what to expect and found it difficult to leave behind access to shopping, family, and friends. However, he says that meeting new friends and exploring the Upper Peninsula made the transition to college easier than expected. 

Marco has enjoyed getting to know students from other cultures and connecting through language. As a bilingual student, Marco finds language to be a starting point in learning about other people. Of his new connections, meeting a fellow Husky from Spain in Intro to Finance has been one of the most rewarding. He finds that collaborating on homework in Spanish to be a helpful way to continue using his second language.

Joining student organizations has also helped Marco gain new perspectives. One impactful experience was visiting Chicago with the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers to speak with pre-college students in primarily Hispanic schools. The group encouraged students to think about their lives after high school and the opportunities that are available to them in STEM and college. Marco also traveled to Minneapolis with the Accounting Club, which prompted his decision to switch majors to accounting and finance. He is also a member of the Society of African-American Men, which participates in community service activities on campus. 

In his first year at Michigan Tech, Marco’s vision for his future has evolved. Initially, his goal was to get a degree and a well-paying job to help support his family. Since then, he has learned to aim even higher. Marco now aspires to create his own company in the automotive industry, where he will work to make travel easier, faster, and more affordable. He would also love to use his passion for language to connect with others while undertaking this journey.

Marco credits his growth to the encouraging culture at MTU, and wants to let other students know that stepping outside their comfort zone just might change their perspective for life. 

My Nontraditional Internship

By Jacob Mihelich

Last summer I chose a nontraditional path for an accounting major and interned as a personal automobile underwriter at Auto-Owners Insurance in Lansing, Michigan. This experience was both challenging and eye-opening for me; not only did underwriting expose me to a new industry, but it also taught me the value of soft skills. Student stands in from of Auto-Owners InsuranceI approached Auto-Owners Insurance at the Fall Career Fair last year hoping to land an internship in their accounting department. After talking with the recruiter about open opportunities and my mom’s position as an underwriter at another company, she suggested that I apply for the underwriting internship. Insurance has always been interesting to me, so I gave it a shot.

Although I was hired as a temporary employee for the summer, I was treated as a new hire, receiving a full-time employee’s training and the freedom to make underwriting decisions. I had a wonderful trainer and training group that I spent five weeks with. The six of us took a light-hearted approach to learn the material, but there was certainly a lot to understand. Underwriting is a detailed process that takes many factors into account to ensure that each insurance policy is properly written to ensure adequate risk, rating, and eligibility. Learning this skill was very involved, but Betsy was sure to keep things interesting with conversation and even bubbles in our training area for when we needed a break.

Once I completed the training, I moved down to the underwriting floor, where I would spend the rest of my summer. I was paired with a rotating mentor who sat with me for an hour each day for a month to review my work before I released it. Throughout this time, I was slowly allowed to release my work for processing without it being reviewed. 

Oftentimes, the agents I worked with had been doing their jobs for longer than I have been alive, but I had the final call on if a policy was written correctly. Since I was essentially auditing the agent’s work, it was inevitable that I would need to make a correction from time to time or ask for additional information. When I made a decision to adjust policy or ask for more information, I needed to ensure it was necessary, as it affected both the agent and insured. I did my research and asked for help from experienced underwriters when I was in doubt. Once my decision was made, finding the best way to explain my position then became the challenging part, as I had to strive to be confident in my decision while also remaining open to the agent’s viewpoint and the circumstances. Although I did my homework, I too made mistakes. I quickly admitted my error, apologized sincerely, and corrected the issue. I realized that everyone is bound to make mistakes, so it’s about how we rebound that matters.

My teammates were always willing to help and support me. I also got to know the other underwriting interns in my building. We’d take short breaks to have breakfast pizza to celebrate the team or for a birthday card to get passed around for everyone to sign. We also hosted larger celebrations throughout the summer like a salsa competition and a barbecue. When I reflect on my experience, learning the type of people I want to work with was one of the most important parts of my internship experience. When you get to work with friendly people, everything else is better, too.  Group of people stand in Auto-Owners Insurance office buildingI couldn’t have asked for a better intern experience than the one I received at Auto-Owners. I learned so much about how auto insurance works—a useful skill for anyone. I also improved my soft skills and confidence. For anyone who is considering an internship that doesn’t quite fit their path, I say, go for it!

An internship is a great way to try something new. Why spend the rest of your life wondering what may have been? 

Tech’s Accounting Major Among Top in State

Prospective students looking for a top accounting program can look no further than Michigan Tech, whose program ranks number three in the state among four-year public colleges and universities according to newly released rankings by College Factual. Only Michigan State and Hope College rank higher on its list.

Michigan Tech accounting has achieved this ranking two years in a row.

Two students in learning center

Dean Johnson, dean of the College of Business, says it’s our focus on technology in addition to attentive faculty that offer superior outcomes for Husky accounting graduates.

“The accounting field is being driven by technology and a demand for data management. Our grads are uniquely prepared for high-level, high-tech careers in accounting because of our nimble curriculum led by professors who care.”

See College Factual’s 2020 Best Accounting Schools in Michigan list here.