Category: Graduate Programs

Huskies Engage at Traverse City during Innovation Week

As part of Michigan Tech’s Grand Traverse region initiative, Huskies will be active in Traverse City this week (May 9-15) during a series of events to celebrate innovation and entrepreneurship.

Husky Innovate students Bayle Golden (master’s in engineering management) and Rourke Sylvain (biomedical engineering) will pitch their ideas during the TCNewTech University Idea Showcase tomorrow (May 12). On Sunday evening they will pitch again, competing for prizes.

College of Business alumnus and local business owner David McBride ‘82 will serve as a judge of the showcase. This event will be livestreamed via TCNewTech’s Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn channels beginning at 6 p.m. Register to attend virtually or in person.

Golden and Sylvain have engaged in Husky Innovate events including the Bob Mark Business Model Pitch Competition and the New Venture Competition (NVC), where both took top prizes. At NVC, Golden won first place in the Social Mission category and received $10,000 pitching “SafeRow,” an innovative wearable device designed to keep children safe when every second counts. Together, Sylvain and Ali Dabas (biomedical engineering) won second place in the High Tech High Growth category, receiving $5,000. Their pitch, “imi (integrated molecular innovations),” is an electrochemical biosensor for T4 detection.

Husky Innovate is a collaboration between the Pavlis Honors College, the Office of Innovation and Commercialization, and the College of Business. 

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.

Tomorrow Needs Accounting Analytics at Michigan Tech

Accounting is a critical component of any successful business. Students interested in pursuing accounting careers need to be aware that the traditional study of accounting and accountants’ roles with companies are transforming.

Data Analytics Disruption

In a recent study by KPMG, a worldwide “Big Four” accounting firm, 99 percent of organizations indicated that advanced technology could enhance their financial reporting. However, 81 percent of CEOs stated that companies were not keeping pace with the emergence of these technologies, which could help them make more informed business decisions.

Accounting at Michigan Technological University responded by developing an updated, robust curriculum at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Our program prepares students to make immediate and valuable contributions in professional environments by instruction them in the core areas of accounting in addition to contemporary coursework in data analytics.

BS in Accounting

The Michigan Tech Bachelor of Science in Accounting offers an 18-credit concentration in data analytics. Students enrolled in this major prepare to sit for the CPA exam to become licensed accountants and complement their education with topics including data cleaning and visualization, programming, statistical analysis, and optimizations.

Measured against peers, Michigan Tech accounting students earn the second-highest CPA pass rates in the nation and achieve the highest average score.

MS in Accounting

At the graduate level, learners in the Master of Science in Accounting program can also earn certificates in analytical skills expected of them in today’s workforce: accounting analytics and forensic accounting

In a STEM-focused institution like Michigan Tech, the accounting program has the faculty and resources to provide students with an educational experience that bridges the gap between accounting and technology. Accounting analytics skills set our students apart.

Career Success in Accounting

Taylor Johnston
Taylor Johnston

For senior Taylor Johnston, finding the right major took a few tries. “I started in chemical engineering and switched to chemistry before classes even started,” she said. “I stayed in chemistry for four years before realizing that my heart just wasn’t in it anymore.” After moving to management information systems in the College of Business, Johnston found herself in Sheila Milligan’s Accounting Principles I course in fall 2020 and after two weeks of class, she ran to her advisor to add accounting with data analytics as a dual major.

No one thinks of accounting as a glamorous career, but the passion and enthusiasm Sheila shows in her teaching lit a fire inside of me I never knew I had.”

Taylor Johnston, Michigan Tech accounting student

Johnston spent last summer interning as a tax accountant with Freeport-McMoRan. In that role, she created a database from scratch and automated more than 20 calculations that were required each quarter.

 “I was the only person in the entire department able to do this since I had the accounting background and analytics skills.”

Taylor Johnston, Michigan Tech accounting student

Now, she’s gaining attention from Silicon Valley corporations and Big Four accounting firms, but first has her sights set on achieving her MS in Accounting. “I’m committed to completing the accelerated master’s in accounting program to continue strengthening my skills in a subject I love.” 

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.

Engineering Economics: One Student’s Journey to a Grad School Scholarship

John Ruf and a classmate during a DC trip
John Ruf (left) during a DC trip for winning the iOme Challenge, a national retirement security essay competition

Like many STEM-savvy Huskies, John Ruf came to Michigan Technological University to study mechanical engineering. When he arrived on campus from the Chicago suburb of Orland Park back in 2016, Ruf’s passion for economics was untapped. A series of unexpected opportunities during his time at Tech gave Ruf the chance to dive deeper into a newly discovered field.

Ruf’s initial interest in economics began with Free to Choose, by prominent monetary economist and University of Chicago’s-own Milton Friedman, followed by John Galbraith’s The Affluent Society. Ruf says, “I began to realize that economics is a mathematical and scientific discipline, not just something people argue about; it’s an endeavor to understand how people behave, trade, and make the best for themselves in a complicated world.”

It wasn’t long after that Ruf saw a poster for an MTU Economics Club meeting, and on a whim he showed up.

During that first meeting, Ruf learned from club advisor Emanuel Oliveira, an associate professor of economics in the College of Business, that many club members had graduated, leaving a gap in leadership. Ruf stepped up.

“At the time, I had not even taken an economics course, so I really had to learn on the fly, without any coursework backing me up.”


As club president, Ruf reinvigorated the group by hosting regular meetings, moderating discussions of current economics events, and networking with guest speakers from industry. He was building relationships as well as knowledge. “Emanuel always took the time to teach me economic concepts and to introduce me to members of the College of Business,” he says.

Between the four economics courses offered to engineering students (one required and three electives), and his curiosity and club involvement, it was a natural evolution for Ruf to add an 18-credit economics minor to his résumé.

In his junior year, he landed a cost-management engineering co-op at Oshkosh Corporation, which blended econ and engineering. He’d continue that position into his senior year. In addition, Ruf became involved in the KHOB Economic Outlook Report, a research project studying the four-county region—Keweenaw, Houghton, Ontonagon, and Baraga— surrounding Michigan Tech. “We presented to the community and attracted the interest of policymakers—that’s when I knew that studying economics and using the data-driven principles we were learning in class not only mattered, but could make a difference in the world,” he says.

Ruf (far right) meeting with US Senator Debbie Stabenow (Michigan)

Balancing Studies and Leadership

Ruf, who served as VP of finance for Blue Marble Security Enterprise on campus, is the first to admit that managing the opportunities—leadership in student organizations, his co-op, research projects, and studies in both engineering and economics—was a challenge. “I had to master time management skills very quickly.” His econ underpinning helped with that feat, too.

The Blue Marble Security team

“The comparative advantage I learned in Jenny Apriesnig’s [assistant professor of economics] class helped me realize I could spend less time on my strengths—like data visualization and coding—and focus on areas I’m not as efficient at,” says Ruf, who wound up applying what he learned in econometrics everywhere, including his Senior Design engineering project.

During what was the most competitive application cycle in more than a decade, Ruf set his sights on an economics graduate program—and not just any program. “I applied to schools as far away as Italy and also to top US schools like Duke, Clemson, and the University of Chicago.”

​​The vast research Ruf conducted while on campus, he says, prepared him for top programs. With mentorship from Associate Professor of Economics Bill Breffle, Ruff conducted an in-depth study of the impact of broomball referees on game outcomes, producing a paper in the niche field of sports economics. He also was an integral member of Dr. Apriesnig’s research team—a study of local beer brewing: “Berries & Brews: Understanding the Market and Technological Processing Opportunities of Michigan Grown Fruit in the Craft Beverage Industry.”

He helped manage and motivate the team. During the survey stage of the project, John helped develop the questions, contact Michigan brewers, and analyze the results with econometric methods.

“I have never met another student with a more genuine curiosity for answering economic questions. Anyone that meets John immediately knows of his passion for economics.”


The relationships Ruf developed with College of Business professors both in class and through hands-on research projects supported his grad school application process. “My professors advised me on which schools to apply to and they helped review my submissions, making them as strong as possible. They were also always available for pep talks when I started to doubt myself.”

He did it! Profs Sorcha (left) and Apriesnig (right) help celebrate the big day with John and his fellow 2021 grads!

Ruf earned admission to a University of Chicago PhD-prep program, complete with a valuable and hard-to-earn scholarship. In fall 2021, Ruf began the Master of Arts Program in the Social Sciences. The economics program accepts up to 36 students on average from a 1,800 applicant pool. Ruf’s scholarship will cover two-thirds of his master’s degree.

His ultimate goal is to become an academic economist. Some of his future research focus areas include using patent and shale reservoir data to evaluate the relationship between process improvements and reservoir productivity.

“At Michigan Tech, my mentors in the College of Business inspired me to use the tools I learned in engineering and economics to really further our understanding of the 21st century economy. At UChicago, I hope to make my mentors proud and showcase the best of Tech,” Ruf concludes.

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.

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

Graduate Student Spotlight: Creating the Future of Natural Resource Economics in Mining

Josephine Amponsem, a master’s student in Applied Natural Resource Economics in the School of Business and Economics at Michigan Tech, is working alongside Emanuel Oliveira, assistant professor of economics, building a socioeconomic database with more than one million observations on factors impacting entrepreneurship. In addition to collating and cleaning data, Amponsem is using Stata, an econometric software for analyzing huge amounts of economic data.

Amponsem is also gaining hands-on experience working with Latika Gupta, assistant professor of economics, collecting and mapping data on energy efficiency in the steel industry. “We ask ourselves what is the data telling us, and how can it be used to make economic decisions,” Amponsem says.

Michigan Tech graduate student Josephine Amponsem
School of Business and Economics graduate student Josephine Amponsem takes a research break outside the Academic Office Building.