Category: Tech MBA

Par-Tee Time 3rd Annual Golf Outing

The Par-Tee Time Golf Outing will be held on August 4th, 2012

It’s that time of year, get your golf clubs out … it’s time to golf!

The School of Business and Economics, along with the MBA Association (MBAA) and the student chapter of the American Marketing Association (AMA), invite you to join us for this great opportunity to network with the new dean, alumni, students, staff, faculty and community members in a friendly competitive environment. Bring your friends, all are invited!

When:
Saturday, August 4th, 2012
9am registration and practice range
10am shotgun start; scramble format

Where:
Portage Lake Golf Course
46789 US Highway 41
Houghton, MI  49931

Cost:
$70/person (must be paid by August 3rd)
MTU student price – $40
Pay day of – $320/team, $80/person
Price includes golf, lunch, cart and two beverage tickets per person.

Cash prizes will be awarded to the winners in each flight (which means if you’re not a very good golfer, you are still eligible to win in your category). There will also be cash prizes for the three course games,  and a special $10,000 Hole In One Contest!

Our raffle list keeps growing, Michigan Tech departments and over 70 local businesses have donated some really great prizes … hotel jacuzzi suites, ski passes, oil change, wheel alignments, spa gift basket, Aroma Therapy Whirlpool to name a few!

To register, please print the registration form here.

You can find more detailed information, as well as  sponsorship opportunities by clicking on the appropriate links.

For questions, please call Tanya at 487-2668, or email golfouting@mtu.edu.


Michigan Tech MBA Students Cap Program with Trip to India’s Silicon Valley

MBA students Mike Vigrass and Holly Lehto at the pharmaceutical company Micro Labs Ltd. during their residency in Bangalore.

The nine students in Michigan Technological University’s MBA program returned from India with a new appreciation for how the rest of the world does business.

“We chose Bangalore because it’s the Silicon Valley of India,” said Jodie Filpus, who directs recruitment and admissions for the MBA program.

The online MBA program includes three residencies, during which the students leave their far-flung homes to meet in person with each other and their professors. Two residencies are held on the Michigan Tech campus. The third and final residency involves a week of international travel. “We do this so the students will be exposed to different cultures, as well as to introduce them to international businesses,” Filpus said.

It would be hard to imagine a city more different from Houghton than Bangalore. “It’s a very interesting place,” she said. “It’s beautiful in many respects, with its temples and palaces, and it’s so rich in history.” However, the population in the city of over 8 million has grown by over 65 percent in the last 10 years and its infrastructure hasn’t kept up, “so it gave me an appreciation for what we have here.”

Led by Assistant Professor Latha Poonamallee of the School of Business and Economics and accompanied by Filpus, the MBA students visited several different organizations, from a pharmaceutical manufacturer to a nonprofit that provides solar-energy-system financing for poor villages.

“It was my privilege to design and lead this international residency, which was a fitting culmination of a well-designed, innovative MBA program that put the School of Business and Economics on the map among top online MBA programs in the country,” Poonamallee said.

Visiting Bangalore: Mysore Palace During their trip to visit several Bangalore companies, MBA students also had a chance to tour the city. Pictured are Mike Vigrass and Holly Lehto at Mysore Palace.

During the spring semester, the students prepared for their trip by researching each of the companies and identifying a disruptive innovation to discuss with officials and offer potential solutions. Disruptive innovations are marketplace game-changers, such as iPods and cell phones, that upend earlier technologies.

Assistant Professor Andre Laplume taught them how. First they studied the companies’ products and strategies. “Then they proposed a new business for them to get into,” he said. “They described a new product, developed a rationale explaining why it should be adopted, and wrote an essay about it for their final exam.

“By the time they got to Bangalore and faced the company executives, they had something to bring to the table,” Laplume said. Not only was it a good opportunity to see how businesses function overseas, it also gave the students—most of them middle managers—a chance to display their skills before top-level executives.

Before traveling to Bangalore, student Holly Lehto had already put Tech’s MBA curriculum to good use. “Throughout the program I’ve been reaping the benefits,” she said. “A lot of concepts in the case studies are applicable to my day to day work.”

Her final exercise was to study the Bangalore-based market research firm Mu Sigma. “We talked about the possibility of going public, and we also discussed the possibility of capturing data from electrical transmission lines and selling it to clients,” said Lehto, a project manager for Allonhill, a Denver-based firm that provides due diligence and risk management services to the mortgage industry. “It was empowering to have the ear of these global executives, who were truly interested in hearing what we had to say.”

And there were revelations, said Mike Vigrass, manager of a natural gas compressor station with DT Energy-Michigan in Detroit. “I have traveled internationally, but not to India, and I was quite surprised at how much business was conducted in English,” he said. “At one of the site visits, we talked about the fact that India’s wages are going up, so that they are losing a competitive edge, and their answer was compelling. They said they think in English, which gives them an advantage over other emerging markets, where they have to translate the conversation.”

Another eye-opener was the visit with the nonprofit SELCO, which works to provide solar systems to the poor.  “I found that very interesting,” Vigrass said. “Among US corporations, it’s all about market share, getting bigger. For SELCO, it’s about meeting their customers’ expectations.”

Resource-stretched Bangalore has had trouble grappling with its own growth, he noted. “The population has exploded, and it’s hard for them to keep up their infrastructure.”

That culture shock did not take away from the trip, however. If anything, it made it even more worthwhile. “It was a very valuable experience, just to see how people in other parts of the world work and how they think,” Vigrass said.

Lehto agreed. “Both from a business and a cultural perspective, it was such an amazing trip,” she said.

Watch the Tech MBA Online India Residency in pictures

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8O4earGfxqM[/youtube]

Learn more about the Tech MBA Online.


A Growing Concern

Amber Campbell sells hard-to-find flowers, herbs and vegetables.
Amber Campbell sells hard-to-find flowers, herbs and vegetables.

When daylight begins to last well into evening, and Houghton-Hancock area residents get in gardening mode, there’s not a lot of choice at the local discount stores: petunias, impatiens, marigolds, geraniums. Or geraniums, marigolds, impatiens and petunias.

But what if you want to grow campanula, with its delicate, bell-shaped lavendar blooms?  Or morning glories to attract butterflies?  Fennel and cilantro and sweet banana peppers to spice up your summer cooking?

When Amber Campbell, an MBA student at Michigan Technological University and avid gardener, thought about that, she saw a business opportunity. With the help of Michigan Tech’s Small Business and Technology Development Center and the Michigan Tech Enterprise Corporation (MTEC) SmartZone’s Entrepreneur Support Center, she has turned she has turned a bright idea into a going, growing business: G&A Farmer’s Market and Garden Center on Sharon Avenue in Houghton.

She opened in May in a small plastic greenhouse filled with brilliantly colored bedding plants, feathery herbs and hardy vegetables. Later in the growing season, she plans to add a fruit and vegetable stand, selling fresh, local berries, tomatoes, peppers, green beans and Asian vegetables such as garlic chives and bok choy.

In China, where Campbell grew up, she and her family grew and ate their own fruits and vegetables. “I remember how fresh and good they were,” she says.  “I am bringing my own good memories to life here.”

Campbell, who is also an adjunct instructor at Michigan Tech and Finlandia University, started with little more than an idea. “I like fresh produce and healthy food,” she says. “And I have always liked growing things.”

When Jonathan Leinonen, a SmartZone executive who teaches entrepreneurship and business development at Michigan Tech’s School of Business and Economics, led a seminar about the SmartZone’s Entrepreneur Support Center, Campbell immediately sought his help. “I have an idea, but I don’t know how to start,” she told him.

Leinonen knew exactly how to start. “He put me in touch with a lawyer who helped me fill out forms,” she says. “Forms and more forms and then more forms.”

Once the attorney had helped Campbell establish the fledgling garden center as an LLC (limited liability corporation), the simplest form of incorporation, another Entrepreneur Support Center counselor entered the picture.  John Diebel, assistant director of technology commercialization for Michigan Tech’s Office of Innovation and Industry Engagement, counsels would-be entrepreneurs about intellectual property protection. Since Campbell’s business is not high-tech and does not involve patents or licenses, he helped her with market research.

“He helped me find out if there was a demand for more variety in plants and for fresher, natural, healthier produce,” Campbell says.  “And there is a great demand for more variety.”

Developing a workable business plan was another bump in the road. With counsel from Leinonen, Diebel and Jim Beauchamp from the SBTDC office in Escanaba, Campbell crafted a plan so promising that, at the urging of Travis Beaulieu—an undergraduate entrepreneur who won the 2011 Bob Mark Memorial Elevator Pitch Competition—she entered the statewide New Venture Competition. Jim Baker, director of Tech’s Office of Innovation and Industry Engagement; Paul Nelson, associate professor in the School of Business and Economics; Phil Musser, head of the Keweenaw Economic Development Alliance, and Leinonen helped Campbell and her team partner, Jeffrey Squires—who just graduated in mechanical engineering—polish their plans. They made it to the second round of the competition, a partnership between Michigan Tech and Central Michigan University.

Campbell has a large garden at her home in Houghton. She also has a plot in the community garden on Pewabic Street. Still, she was surprised when she started to try to prepare her Garden Center property at 400 W. Sharon Avenue for planting. “Rocks!” she exclaims. “So many rocks, and so big.”

Campbell credits graduate students Fahimeh Baziari and Alex Wohlgemuth from Tech’s Peace Corps Master’s International Program with volunteering to help fence her site, and Tech master gardener Lynn Watson, who “gave me lots of useful advice on gardening.”

Still working on her MBA and teaching at two universities, Campbell quickly learned how demanding launching a new business can be.  “I am a little overwhelmed by the demands for time and efforts,” she says, “no matter how small or how well-prepared you are. Every day I start with a screaming in my heart—‘Help!’”

But Campbell is optimistic about her garden center’s future. “We offer greater variety, lower prices and better quality,” she says. “I believe that’s what people want.” She’s already thinking about the time when she can replace her flimsy greenhouse and roadside stand with a building where she can sell fresh, natural produce year round.

By Jennifer Donovan, originally posted in Michigan Tech News.


Research Presentation on Inter-Sourcing

Dr. Mari Buche speaks during panel discussion.

Associate Professor of Management Information Systems Mari W. Buche and graduate student Gareth Johnson (ME/MBA) traveled to Green Bay, Wis., to attend the Midwest Association for Information Systems (MAIS) annual conference May 18-19. They presented “Inter-sourcing: Partnerships Between Businesses, Universities and Student Interns.” Buche, treasurer of MWAIS, also participated in a panel discussion on the future of the Midwest AIS organization and chaired a session on organizational issues relating to information systems.

Associate Professor of Management Information Systems Mari Buche and Gareth Johnson


Tech MBA Online Rated a Best Value

Michigan Tech MBA Online is recognized as a Best Value Online MBA by businessmba.org.

The accolades continue to accumulate for the Tech MBA Online program. It is now rated in the top twenty-five nationally, according to the Business MBA website (www.businessmba.org). The School of Business and Economics’ program was ranked number thirteen and in some impressive company. Florida, Florida State, Auburn, UMass, Colorado State, Georgia, and Arizona State are all on the list.

Of the Tech MBA Online, the website stated, “The nationally ranked School of Business and Economics at Michigan Technological University is known for its commitment to the business of technology as well as the technology of business education.” They gave the Tech program high marks for being American Association of Collegiate Schools of Business International (AACSB) accredited, the fact that it can be completed in two years, and its focus on the integration of technology and business.

“This recognition comes at a critical time as the cost of education continues to increase,” said Associate Dean Tom Merz. “Our goal is to provide a high-quality education while not sacrificing learning and professional development in an online learning environment.”

The website also stated that “. . . we’re confident that the combination of high quality and low cost offered by the programs on our list gives students looking to get the biggest bang for their MBA buck a great place to start their search.”

Previously, the Tech MBA Online was recognized by US News and World Report among the honor roll programs in their first-ever online rankings. Michigan Tech was ranked 24th in Admission Selectivity and 38th in Teaching Practices and Student Engagement, among the 161 online graduate business programs honored.

See the complete list of recognized programs.

Michigan Tech was previously recognized as packing an ROI (or return on investment) punch by Bloomberg’s Businessweek.

Written by Dennis Walikainen, senior editor in University Marketing and Communications.