Category: Undergrad Information

Tech Business Students Compete at International Collegiate DECA Conference

Four students stand in front of a DECA backdrop.
Michigan Tech Collegiate DECA members traveled to Baltimore, Maryland, to compete in their first-ever International Career Development Conference. (From left to right: Jaylen Body, Sammy Perrone, Zach Hooper, Lexi Dembroski)

This post was written by Sammy Perrone. In addition to being a first-year marketing student at Michigan Tech, Perrone serves as the Michigan Tech Collegiate DECA public relations officer and marketer.

In April, qualifying members of DECA flew to Baltimore, Maryland, for the International Career Development Conference (ICDC). Huskies were joined by nearly 900 Collegiate DECA members from more than 30 states and 50 chapters, including a chapter from England. Over the three-day conference, students took part in not only their competitive events, but also networking opportunities and the Professional Development Series.

Collegiate DECA is a student organization that prepares emerging leaders in the areas of finance, marketing, hospitality, management and entrepreneurship. Michigan Tech College of Business student competitors included:

  • Jaylen Body (Management and Social Sciences dual major)—top 10 finalist
  • Lexi Dembroski (Accounting with Data Analytics)—top 10 finalist
  • Zach Hooper (Engineering Management and Management Information Systems dual major)
  • Sammy Perrone (Marketing)

The Professional Development Series Workshop at ICDC allowed students to choose four workshops to attend throughout the day. Huskies chose from Personal Branding, Fundraising and Community Outreach, How to Network like a Pro, and Mastering Motivation.

Four students stand on stage backlit with purple lighting.
The conference punctuated a successful first year for Michigan Tech Collegiate DECA students.

 “During the Personal Branding workshop, I analyzed the way I present myself and the way others perceive my personal brand. It was great to reflect on my own brand, meet other students and see how they promote themselves and their own unique qualities,” Perrone says. 

Huskies Compete

The second and third days of the conference consisted of preliminary and final competitions. Jaylen Body (Hotel and Lodging) and Lexi Dembroski (Financial Accounting) were both finalists in their preliminary events, before moving onto the final competition where they received finalist medals on stage and were recognized as top 10 finalists internationally in their events at the awards ceremony.

Dembroski expressed that, “Competing in Financial Accounting allowed me to take concepts I learn in the classroom and apply them to real-world scenarios. As a first-year Michigan Tech business student, I cannot stress enough how valuable of an experience this was. Learning about the core financial statements in class is one thing, but actually getting the opportunity to analyze, produce and present these documents is another.”

“The career preparation provided by Collegiate DECA is unrivaled.”

Lexi Dembroski, Michigan Tech accounting student

Body, club president, adds: “Having thought about the hospitality industry as a potential career, listening to keynote speaker, Apoorva Gandhi, Marriott International’s Senior VP of Multicultural Affairs, and participating in the Hotel and Lodging event, I gained and reinforced an understanding of how business sectors come together to provide a memorable customer experience.”

In addition to competing, Perrone participated in the Sales Challenge sponsored by England Logistics. She was tasked with analyzing a sales case study and preparing a presentation to close the sale during the role-play competition. 

“I went into the Sales Challenge knowing it was a valuable opportunity to learn, challenge myself and gain knowledge. Having an understanding of sales is essential for my future in marketing,” Perrone says.

“I am grateful for the professional development opportunities DECA has provided me through the Career Development Conferences.”

Sammy Perrone, Michigan Tech marketing student

Also a first-time DECA participant, Zach Hooper, comments on what he gained from the conference, “ICDC gave me the opportunity to prepare for my future career in business. I heard from career professionals about their path to success, and how the business world works.”

In their free time, students explored the Inner Harbor of Baltimore—visiting the National Aquarium, eating at local restaurants, spending time outdoors in the sunshine and networking with chapter members from Davenport University.

Four student stand in front of a sign in Baltimore, Maryland
The group celebrated Jaylen Body’s (far left) birthday with dinner and gelato in Baltimore.

Looking Ahead

Body is optimistic about the future of DECA at Michigan Tech, stating, “After a successful startup year, Collegiate DECA will continue striving to bring more opportunities to campus for students to improve their professionalism, communication and leadership.”

Michigan Tech Collegiate DECA thanks its sponsors for helping make the trip possible: the College of Business Dean’s Advisory Council, Inter-Residence Housing Council, and the Dean of Students Office.

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.


Scholarship Spotlight: Ross Roeder Endowed Scholarship

Hillary Prout (left) and Nathan Sodini (right), Michigan Tech College of Business Ross Roeder Endowed Scholarship Recipients
Hillary Prout (left) and Nathan Sodini (right), Michigan Tech College of Business Ross Roeder Endowed Scholarship Recipients

The Michigan Tech College of Business boasts more than 50 donor- and industry-sponsored scholarships reserved exclusively for new and returning MTU business students. These awards are offered in addition to competitive, merit-, and need-based aid. In 2020-21, total scholarships and grants awarded to undergraduate students in the College of Business exceeded $4.6 million.

Today, we’re highlighting the Ross Roeder Endowed Scholarship.

The late Ross Roeder ’60, a Michigan Tech Board of Trustees Silver Medal recipient and an Alumni Association Honorary Alumnus, established an endowed scholarship for the College of Business (COB) to encourage entrepreneurship and leadership. The scholarship is awarded to business Huskies with demonstrated leadership and entrepreneurial skills. The award may be renewed, provided the recipient maintains a 2.5 minimum GPA.

“The Ross Roeder Endowed Scholarship eased the financial burden of achieving my dreams.”

Hillary Prout (accounting), Roeder Scholarship Recipient

Although Roeder graduated from larger institutions, he maintained close ties with Michigan Tech throughout his career. Dean Johnson, dean of the COB, said the College held a special place in his heart. “He and Mary Anne quietly supported COB students with scholarships,” says Johnson.

While Roeder sadly passed away in 2021, his wife Mary Anne continues the couple’s shared mission. Her recent major gift has increased the funding level of the scholarship.

Mary Anne Roeder with her late husband, Ross.
Mary Anne Roeder with her late husband, Ross

“We were both passionate about education, and we both had the opportunity to get a good education,” says Mary Anne. “It’s important to help support talented Michigan Tech students that tomorrow needs.”

“The Roeders’ legacy of supporting Michigan Tech students inspires me to engage in all that Tech has to offer.” 

Nathan Sodini (engineering management and finance), Roeder Scholarship Recipient

Questions related to the Ross Roeder Endowed Scholarship may be directed to business@mtu.edu.

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


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 (kdhoefer@mtu.edu) 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.


Hillary Prout Named Outstanding Woman in Business


Growing up on her family’s farm in Rosebush, Michigan, taught Hillary Prout—the 2022 Sam Tidwell Outstanding Woman in Business—early on about the importance of hard work. Through her coursework and involvement at Michigan Tech, Prout worked diligently to develop her leadership and communications skills and applied them as the student representative of the Michigan Association of CPAs, a professional organization promoting and enhancing the value of the CPA profession, and of the Becker CPA Review, a software package that helps students prepare for the certified public accountant and certified management accountant exams. In this leadership role, Prout organized meetings, updated students and staff regarding exam updates, and mentored students as their exam date approached.

“Hillary is an amazing student—always focused and working hard for goals she sets for herself.”

Sheila Milligan, senior lecturer of accounting, Michigan Tech College of Business

In her four years at Michigan Tech, Prout held the presidential role in the University’s accounting club, Kappa Sigma Iotta, and served on the Dean’s Student Advisory Council. She also assisted other Tech students with tax preparation through the College of Business’ Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program. More recently, she was inducted into the Beta Gamma Sigma Honor Society, the exclusive business honor society affiliated with the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

“I am grateful for the many experiences I have had as a business student at Michigan Tech,” Prout says. 

Michigan Tech student Hillary Prout
Hillary Prout

Since 2021, Prout has held an internship with Rukkila, Negro and Associates, an accounting firm located in downtown Houghton. There, she worked in individual and small business tax preparation, nonprofit tax preparation, and payroll processing for local businesses.

After earning her BS in Accounting with a minor in financial technology, Prout plans to take advantage of Tech’s accelerated MS in Accounting program before earning her CPA license to work in tax advising and preparation.

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.


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.