Category: Finance

Business, Finance B.S. Ranks High by Best Accredited Colleges

Photo of student outdoors with College of Business logo and Best Accredited Colleges logo

Michigan Technological University has been ranked No. 30 for best bachelor’s degree programs in business on the 2023 rankings by Best Accredited Colleges. In a strong field of competitors, the listing places MTU Business ahead of San Diego State University, the University of Georgia, Texas Tech University, and other noteworthy U.S. business programs.

Husky Bites: Dean Johnson—Money Matters

Photo of Quinnipiac Award trophy
Have you mastered the stock market? Are you investing wisely for your future? And just how do Michigan Tech students consistently win national investment competitions investing real money via the Michigan Tech Fund? Find out during Husky Bites!

By: Kim Geiger

Dean Johnson will share his knowledge on Husky Bites, a free, interactive Zoom webinar Monday, February 27 at 6 p.m. ET. Learn something new in just 30 minutes or so, with time after for Q&A! Get the full scoop and register at

What are you doing for supper this Monday, February 27 at 6 p.m. ET? Grab a bite with Dean Johnson, dean of the College of Business at Michigan Tech. Joining in will be recent graduates Jada Hamar and Kasey Kangas, plus current student Jaharee Weah—all three took part in the Applied Portfolio Management Program (APMP), directed by Dr. Johnson.

In the 20-plus years since APMP’s founding, teams of Huskies have grown the portfolio into one of the top 50 undergraduate funds in the nation. Students in the program have opened the Nasdaq Stock Exchange and become regulars on CNBC. And although APMP is a for-credit class, the intensive experience often becomes much more of a commitment—and reward.

Dean Johnson, Dean of the College of Business, Michigan Tech

During Husky Bites, Dr. Johnson also promises to share their secret recipe of 25 years—the one that’s been guiding these Michigan Tech students as they manage real money. 

“In addition, we’ll consider paradigms, paradoxes, performance, and persistence, while exploring the history of investment theory and practice from the 1920s to the 2020s,” he says.

As a PhD student, Johnson interviewed for his first faculty position at Michigan Tech with a very clear vision. “Right away, I intended to establish a portfolio management program for students,” says Johnson, who was hired on as faculty in 1996 in Michigan Tech’s School of Business. He became dean in 2016. 

Back in 1996, giving college students a large sum of real money to manage in financial markets was a particularly novel—and perhaps risky—idea, and Michigan Tech was just the place. And there were alumni, donors and Michigan Tech Fund board members helping along the way. 

In 2019, Michigan Tech’s School of Business became its College of Business. “We offer a broad range of degrees, including four graduate degrees,” notes Johnson. “Our program has been accredited for nearly two decades,” he said. “College imparts the prestige indicative of our history, value and offerings—from our top faculty and technology-infused business core, to our esteemed alumni network.”

“Michigan Tech is an exceptional STEM university that provides us with a unique ability to bridge business and technology.”

Dean Johnson, dean, Michigan Tech College of Business

Each year, a new group of Michigan Tech students is 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 for the program based on their demonstrated aptitude and leadership skills in the area of finance, accounting, and financial economic theory. 

Jada, Kasey, and Jaharee not only took part in the APMP together, but were also in many of the same finance classes together at Tech.

Dr. Johnson, how did you first get into your field? What sparked your interest?

I was fascinated by stock prices at a very young age. The flow of capital to fund firms providing the goods and services most in-demand by society is the key to improving the standard of living for all.

Hometown, family, hobbies?

I live here in Houghton, Michigan. I’m married with three children. I enjoy the outdoors and sports in my spare time.

Jada Hamar ’22

Jada, how did you first get into your field? What sparked your interest?

My dad attended Michigan Tech for finance. He’s a local banker. I didn’t initially want to follow in his footsteps until I took my first business class. I quickly realized that finance was the route I wanted to take. I enjoyed the challenge of the classes, and the number of career paths available with a finance degree was really exciting. I graduated from Michigan Tech with a BS in finance this past December. I accepted a position at Ameriprise Financial in Houghton. 

Hometown, family? What do you like to do in your spare time?

I feel lucky to have grown up in this area and be able to continue my education here, too. I am the oldest of six kids, with two younger brothers and three younger sisters. I enjoy time outdoors with my husband and our two dogs—skiing in the winter, and fishing in the summer. We have a five-year-old Goldendoodle, Arlo, and Indy, a seven-month-old yellow lab.

Kasey Kangas ’22

Kasey, how did you first get interested in business?

I took a business introduction class in high school and thought it was fun. My teacher recommended I take her accounting class, so I did—and I loved it! Now I’m an accountant at Aspirus Keweenaw Hospital.

Hometown, family?

I grew up in Calumet, Michigan. I have five brothers and five sisters.

Any hobbies?

I love hiking, camping, fishing, cooking, baking, reading, and playing guitar. 

About the College of Business

The Michigan Tech College of Business offers undergraduate majors in accountingbusiness analyticsconstruction managementeconomicsengineering managementfinancemanagementmanagement 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.

Finance Club Inaugural Investment Competition Concludes, Mattila Takes First

campus clock tower in spring

During spring semester, the Michigan Tech Finance Club hosted a 10-week stock competition open to all College of Business (COB) majors and minors. Each of the 29 participants received $100,000 in virtual dollars to use on the Investopedia simulator. At the conclusion of trading on April 12, the top three winning portfolios received cash prizes from the COB Dean’s Office. 

Madison Mattila
Madison Mattila, accounting with analytics major

First place $500—Madison Mattila

“I really enjoyed the competition! It was fun to compete against classmates. It also was valuable to spend time watching the market and using the simulator. I’ve been working on a strategy for a while, which I’ve yet to perfect, so I don’t want to spread too much about it right now.”

Second place $300—James Zuzelski

James Zuzelski
James Zuzelski, economics minor

“This was an amazing experience. It motivated me to try new things. My strategy was to capitalize on medium- to high-risk stocks that were trending due to current and near-future geopolitical factors. Due to the short time frame I went with a high-risk, low-diversity, individual stock portfolio.”

Third place $200—Bill Rautiola

Bill Rautiola
Bill Rautiola, finance major

“I consider myself an experienced trader, having done a fair amount of trading on my own. My strategy for this game was to invest in energy sectors, including oil. I also placed a couple option trades.”

The Finance Club at Michigan Tech, advised by Xin Li and supported by the Undergraduate Student Government and the COB, promotes the interest in and knowledge of the field of finance. Members have access to career development opportunities, guidance from Applied Portfolio Management Program (APMP) members, and resources within the APMP Lab. In addition, club members take annual trips to visit mutual funds, the Federal Reserve, investment firms, and the futures and options exchange market in the Midwest.

Assistant Professor Xin Li
Xin Li, assistant professor of finance

Club President Elisabeth Mattson said plans are in place to hold the competition next year and interested participants can connect with incoming President Kevin Hoefer ( for more information.

“The Finance Club Stock Competition allowed students across the College of Business to try out new investing strategies in a low-risk environment, while competing with their peers.

The winners had different strategies and were able to share knowledge and skills with participants, many of whom are excited to try again next year.”

Elisabeth Mattson, 2021-22 Michigan Tech Finance Club President

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.

Nathan Sodini Named Outstanding Man in Business

Nathan Sodini, a student dual majoring in engineering management and finance, is the 2022 Sam Tidwell Outstanding Man in Business. Roger Woods, College of Business faculty member, says Sodini’s involvement in campus programs defines what it means to be a Michigan Tech business Husky. “This is a student who from day one has engaged in all opportunities Michigan Tech has to offer—and his involvement has paid off.”

Back in high school, Sodini launched a profitable entrepreneurial endeavor with his passion for classic and performance automobiles. During his first year on campus, the scholar-athlete landed a paid internship as a production supervisor at General Motors’ (GM) Heavy-Duty Truck Plant. In his second year, Sodini took on a co-op with GM as a quality-operations supervisor, tasked with controlling the daily quality of T1 HD trucks with his team of more than 40 employees.

Student Nathan Sodini standing in staircase
Nathan Sodini

Adding to his already impressive resume, Sodini obtained a motorsports internship with Hagerty back in his hometown of Traverse City, Michigan, and last fall was back at GM in the body shop, orchestrating the procurement of pre-assembled trucks to support the Oshawa launch. His leadership skills were further honed on campus, where he served for two years each as elected president of the Society of Automotive Engineers student chapter and as business manager of Advanced Motorsports Enterprise—Formula SAE. For his final college summer, Sodini heads south to General Motors Defense in North Carolina where, as a business manager/shift leader co-op, he will support the production management of the Infantry Squad Vehicle being produced for the United States Army.

Being able to blend the worlds of engineering and business has been a dream come true, Sodini says:

“A business degree from Michigan Tech is more than coursework. It’s an experience preparing strategic leaders for tomorrow’s challenges.” 

Nathan Sodini, Michigan Tech Outstanding Man in Business

The Sam Tidwell Outstanding Man and Woman in Business awards, valued at $250 each, are presented annually to two current College of Business students who embody a dedication to academics, leadership, and extracurricular involvement within the Michigan Tech community.

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.