Category: Student Spotlight

2020 Bob Mark Business Model Competition Winners

The 2020 Bob Mark Business Model Competition was held January 29.  Eighteen students making up 13 teams pitched business models to advance their innovation. Community members and judges from across campus and the community selected the winners and provided the teams with feedback.

Student stands on stage during business plan competition
Jacob Soter is currently pursuing a TechMBA®

The winners of the 2020 Bob Mark Business Model Competition:

  • First Prize, $2,000—Kyra Pratley, POWERPENDANTS
  • Second Prize, $1,000—Jake Soter, SwimSmart Technologies
  • Third Prize, $500—J. Harrison Shields, Shields Technologies
  • Honorable Mention, $250—Samerender Hanumantharao & Stephanie Bule, Bio-Synt
  • Honorable Mention, $250—Allysa Meinburg, Haley Papineau, Sadat Yang, AAA Prosthetic Ankle
  • Audience Favorite, $250—Allysa Meinburg, Haley Papineau, Sadat Yang, AAA Prosthetic Ankle
  • MTEC SmartZone Breakout Innovation Award, ($1,000 Reimbursable expenses toward business development)—Ranit Karmakar

This event is a tribute to the late Bob Mark, professor of practice in the College of Business who started the Elevator Pitch Competition at Michigan Tech. The competition recognizes his entrepreneurial spirit and its continuation at Michigan Tech.

The 2020 Bob Mark Business Model Competition was hosted by Husky Innovate, a collaboration between Pavlis Honors College, the Michigan Tech College of Business, and the Office of Innovation and Commercialization. Husky Innovate is Michigan Tech’s resource hub for innovation and entrepreneurship, and offers workshops, competitions, NSF I-Corps training, a speaker series, and co-hosts the Silicon Valley Experience.


Preparing for a Future-Proof Career: My Experience at the Global Leadership Summit

By Jennifer Carolan, accounting student

As part of Beta Gamma Sigma (BGS), the honor society that represents the top five percent of the top 10 percent of AACSB-accredited business schools, I recently attended the 2019 Global Leadership Summit in Chicago. The event had many networking opportunities and included recruiters from Geico and KPMG (a top accounting organization), as well as amazing speakers and 400 other students from all around the globe. Throughout the conference, I made many connections to concepts I am familiar with thanks to my business classes at Michigan Technological University.

Student stands in front of pull-up banner at conference
Students in Beta Gamma Sigma are recognized by employers as being the “best in business”

 The Future of Work panel highlighted how with artificial intelligence (AI), it is important to have specialized skills and to rapidly adapt to technology. This is the perfect takeaway for me as a Michigan Tech student because Tech is giving me the tools to work with technology and to specialize with a data analytics concentration

During the trip, I became familiar with the Clifton Strengths test from one of the speakers. The Clifton Strengths test helps identify four key categories of strengths to better understand how people perform. The test provides self-awareness and helps understand how people with different skill sets work together, which is one of the skills that won’t lose value in the future and is something we spend a lot of time on in our Team Dynamics business class. 

Another reference to my classes was ethics. Ethics is a part of many of my courses at Michigan Tech and for good reason; I learned that 83 percent of people experience an ethical dilemma in the first two years of employment, and everyone does at some point in their career. One of the speakers taught the RAISE (Recognize, Analyze, Identify, Select, Execute) model to combat unethical situations. It is important to follow through to the end when combating unethical situations, even if it isn’t easy. I plan to take this advice to properly handle unethical situations in my future career. It feels good knowing I have a plan for difficult situations I might encounter.

One of Michigan Tech’s core values–tenacity–was emphasized by a speaker. They defined it as a mathematical equation: skill plus achievement plus effort. Michigan Tech students certainly have tenacity and it is an asset that won’t go away anytime soon. The speaker also mentioned the importance of self-awareness and communication, because the future of work will require soft skills no matter how technologically advanced the world becomes. 

Lastly, a recurring theme throughout the whole event was life-long learning. Dean Johnson, dean of the School of Business and Economics, also believes it’s the right mindset to have in business. It was noted that being a life-long learner is not just about continuing your education, but that it could also be specializing with certificates, learning new technologies, and simply being willing to adapt to our changing world.

Careers of tomorrow won’t look like they do today, and preparing myself for the changing world is an important step. 

Student stands in front of Beta Gamma Sigma pull-up banner at conference.
Students in Beta Gamma Sigma are recognized by employers as being the “best in business.”


My Internship with Bank of America

By Breanna Stohr

student stands in front of canal
Senior finance major Breanna Stohr’s summer internship shaped her career goals.

My summer internship with Bank of America in Grand Rapids, Michigan, was a memorable one. The opportunities I was given were unbelievable. I am proud to say I was able to find not only my dream job but my dream company as well!

I experienced both the retail and the wealth management side of the company. On the retail side, I worked closely with my market leader and the leader of the Student Rush program. Through this program, I traveled to Grand Rapids colleges and universities to engage them in the opportunity of Bank of America coming onto their campus to teach financial literacy to students. I connected with many student-life representatives within the Grand Rapids community area. It was great!

In the downtown wealth management office (previously branded as Merrill Lynch, the American investing and wealth management division of Bank of America), I networked with established financial advisors within the Grand Rapids area. There, I cemented my career plan to become a successful financial advisor after I graduate this spring. I worked closely with a financial advisor on research projects including bank rates, budgeting tips, digital apps, unique ways to change daily habits in your financial life, constructive criticism, and hospice and home health care.

Throughout my internship, I grew as a young professional by experiencing many different work environments. Being a student from Michigan Tech made me stand out for sure. I demonstrated to teammates at Bank of America what Michigan Tech School of Business and Economics students can do, and also how involved the University is with preparing its students for the professional world.


It’s Okay to Be Undecided

by Emma Melchiori

As a huge pack of new Huskies joins the Michigan Tech family this fall, I am finding myself reflecting on the beginning of my journey at Michigan Tech, and particularly, the uncertainty I felt surrounding my major. It did not take me long to realize that engineering was not for me, and I was worried that it was not a good thing to feel this way.

If any new Huskies are reading this, I am here to tell you: it is okay to not feel settled in the major that you chose when deciding to come to MTU. If you feel like you made the wrong decision, do not panic. There is more than enough time for you to switch your major and make any changes necessary to ensure that you will get the right education for what you WANT to do!

Two students eating
That’s me, on the right, just beginning my journey in business last year

When applying to Michigan Tech, I applied into environmental engineering and shortly before classes started in the fall, I switched my major to engineering management because after finishing out my senior year of high school, I knew I wanted to do business as part of my career. After my first week of classes, I figured out that engineering was just not something that I was interested in. This is when I discovered the general business pathway within the School of Business and Economics. Although you cannot graduate with the major of general business, it has helped me to immerse myself in all sorts of different business classes to find out exactly which business path I want to travel down. It’s the perfect placeholder for a major if you know you want to end up in some field of business, but you aren’t sure exactly which one yet.

And remember, it is okay to be unsure!

Through general business, I have taken different business courses already and there are many more to come, of course, as I am a sophomore here now. So far, I have taken a liking to accounting, and am planning to declare my major in accounting soon. Other courses that I have enjoyed surround topics like economics and marketing. Some of these business courses can fill elective slots as well, so if you are simply curious as to what a business course might have to offer but do not want to declare a major in the School of Business and Economics just yet, why not take a business course and see what it is all about? It certainly can’t hurt! Maybe it could lead to a minor in business?

The thing that really sparked my excitement for accounting was the internship this past summer with an environmental engineering firm in my hometown of Marquette, Michigan. I was an accounting intern at a company called TriMedia Environmental and Engineering Services. It was a great learning experience for me, and I was able to do hands-on projects and tasks, which gave me a preview of what an entry-level job in accounting might look like. For these reasons, I urge anyone who wants real-world learning and a view into what a career in their field might look like to seek out an internship. For me, this experience sold me on accounting and helped me to envision what I want my future to look like.

If you are thinking of changing your major, my best advice to you would be to do the necessary exploring to find out what you love to do and chase that. I would rather be pursuing a major that I love than pursuing something that I will be kind of happy with. It might feel scary to abandon a major that you have declared for yourself, but from personal experience, I am much happier now that I have found accounting, and I believe you can find the perfect major for yourself, too!

Discover the business major that’s right for you. Take our online business major assessment now. 


School of Business and Economics Announces New Fall 2019 Programs

The Academic Office Building on Michigan Tech's campus is featured

To better serve and provide opportunities for STEM students, the School of Business and Economics (SBE) now offers a minor in business as an attractive addition for students of any major who will go on to work for a company or organization or start their own enterprise. The content allows graduates to differentiate themselves with a foundation of business skills.

In addition, our recently approved master’s degree in engineering management, a hybrid engineering-business degree, focuses on managerial knowledge, business literacy, and other relevant skills critical for successful operations in various engineering/technology-intensive industries.

Finally, to infuse technology into our accounting curriculum, new courses and content have been created resulting in the new concentration in data analytics. This fall, students pursuing a bachelor’s degree in accounting with also be able to earn an 18-credit concentration in data analytics. Those seeking to earn the Master of Science in Accounting degree will also be able to earn a graduate certificate in accounting analytics or forensic examination. “The concentration and certificate programs leverage accounting, information systems, and math coursework to help students acquire a valuable skill set encompassing databases, data cleaning and visualization, statistical programming, and analytical methods,” says program director and professor of practice, Joel Tuoriniemi. 

According to Dean Johnson, dean of the School of Business and Economics, these new offerings leverages SBE’s strengths as a business school embedded in a technological institution.

To learn more about any of our programs, please email business@mtu.edu.