Tag: alumni

Silicon Valley Visit – Students See the Future

Students at Brocade in Silicon Valley.

In spring 2011, students from across Michigan Tech had the opportunity to glimpse the professional possibilities that await them, thanks to a special spring break trip organized by the late School of Business and Economics Professor Bob Mark.

“While attending a conference in Silicon Valley a few years ago, I toured a high-tech business and saw technology that blew my mind,” said Mark. “It hit me that Michigan Tech students would really benefit from seeing what’s out there.”

To expose students to businesses that hire technologically savvy graduates, Mark organized tours of Silicon Valley companies, including Google, the Porter Family Vineyards, Plug n’ Play, the Stanford Research Institute, and Brocade Networks.

“Each and every site visit was a huge success,” he said. “The students asked great questions, and the company representatives were thrilled to have in-depth discussions. This type of technical expertise is not something they see in standard student groups—but then, Michigan Tech students are a cut above the rest.”

Participating students came from departments across campus, creating an interdisciplinary experience that Mark saw as beneficial for the entire group. Of the fifteen students, there were undergraduates and graduate students from business, computer science, mechanical engineering, and physics. Four were from China, one was from India, and one was from West Africa.

Michigan Tech alumni played a large role in the success of the trip, lending their time and expertise to enhance the students’ experience. Dave House ’65 led a presentation and data center tour at Brocade Networks, Tom Porter’s ’68 son, Tim, gave an in-depth tour of his family’s Napa winery, and Danielle VanDyke ’06 acted as a tour guide at Google’s Mountain View campus.

To wrap up the week, the Michigan Tech Alumni Association set up a reception at the Computer History Museum, which was attended by more than thirty alumni. Shankar Mukherjee ’86 and Dale Luck ’79 gave testimonials and entrepreneurial words of wisdom to the students at the reception.

“Our alumni love to talk to current students,” said Mark. “They went above and beyond to get us unique access, and we were treated like royalty everywhere we went.”

The spring break trip received positive feedback from both students and participating businesses—so much, in fact, that it will be offered as a one-credit class through Michigan Tech starting in spring 2012. The new structure will allow students to use their financial aid to cover the expenses. Mark expressed hope that the class will expand in the future to include faculty and students from all across campus. “We have great, smart students here at Michigan Tech, and it’s great to get them out into the world.”

The hard work, planning, and logistics that went into the trip were well worth the effort, said Mark. “The students’ reactions were unbelievable. When I was dropping off the last student, I asked what he thought. What he said summed it up perfectly: ‘It was life-changing.’”

Editor’s note: Bob Mark passed away after this article was written; we have included it to showcase his dedication to his students and his interest in their futures.

This article was originally published in Impact, the Michigan Tech School of Business and Economics magazine.

Meet Your Major Night Event is a Success

Dr. Paul Nelson and Dr. Mark Roberts discussing the Economics Major.

For the first time ever, students were given a unique opportunity to explore the seven undergraduate majors within the School of Business and Economics in individual, hour long session for each field of study.

Meet Your Major Night consisted of  three evenings with faculty, alumni, and current students from each major to explain more about the degree options.  Faculty members discussed curriculum and what to expect from each major. Alumni described their Michigan Tech experience—internships/co-ops, participation in student organizations, their present careers, and plans for the future—either in person or by video conferencing.

Meet Your Major Night was well received by students, as they had a chance to talk with Michigan Tech alumni that are working in their fields of study, and learn what companies are looking for when hiring.

Business management and marketing student, Alix Rugg, commented,  “It helped me learn how MIS fits into the large picture of the business world”, and also learned how important internships are for future employment.

Finance student Warren Kesti mentioned that, “The session gave me a solid foothold to make a decision on what major to pursue.”

Carly Benson, Recruiter and Outreach Coordinator for the School of Business and Economics, orchestrated the first time event to present the seven majors within the school to current students studying business and economics as well as other students who may be interested in changing their major.

After the event, Benson noted, “This event was a great opportunity for our faculty and alumni to showcase the great things that can be done with each individual School of Business and Economics degree. It was a great success and we look forward to repeating the event.”

Is There an MBA In Your Future?

Michigan Tech MBA students during Residency on Campus (left to right) Michael Vigress, Connie Koutouzos, and Brendan Andrews, with Professor Dana Johnson '80 (standing). (Photo by Ryan Schumacher

Five reasons to go back to school

(even if you stay at home)

More money? Sure, there’s that, but there are other reasons for returning to school (including Michigan Tech) for an MBA. We asked some folks who know to sell us on the idea.

Advance your career

“The MBA helps you work your way up the ladder, thanks to improved communication skills, which are a necessity whether you’re an engineer or not,” says Kaari Nevanen MBA ’10, technology advisor at Mindovo.

Stay relevant

“The concept of innovation is so important today, and you need to understand technology as much as you need to understand business,” says Jim Lenz, director of the John Deere Technology Innovation Center. “They need to be combined. When I got my MBA, I realized the importance of reinventing products to satisfy customer needs, for example.”

Broaden your thinking

“If you are running a business, the MBA makes a big difference,” says Scott Pattullo ’81, senior vice president of sales, marketing, and account management for Wheels Inc. “It exposes you to more-forward approaches to issues, which you could gain through experience, but the MBA accelerates that process.”

Earn more

The average starting salary Tech engineering graduates reported to the Career Center during the 2010–11 academic year was about $58,000. Among new Tech MBAs, the average was $63,000, “even with minimal work experience,” says Darrell Radson, dean of the School of Business and Economics. “And during economic downturns, companies tend to hire more MBA graduates. In fact, for some corporations, an MBA is a stringent requirement for management-track positions. With work experience and an MBA, the salary differential greatly increases, making the value of the MBA more pronounced.”

You can actually do this

Once you’ve graduated and entered the workforce full time, the thought of returning to college can be daunting. However, many MBA programs, Tech’s included, are offered online. “The Tech MBA Online has easily integrated into my everyday life,” says current student Megan Benam ’07. “The program allows me to complete the course work in a timely manner that is conducive to working full time, traveling for work, and maintaining a personal life.”


by Dennis Walikainen ’92 ’09

MBA Association 1st Annual Golf Outing: Success!


The MBA Association Golf Event was great. MBA student Brett Waterson-Rosso gives instructions under the watchful eye of Tom Merz, associate dean of the School of Business and Economics.

Seventeen two-person teams teed off at the first MBAA Golf Scramble Saturday at the Alumni Reunion. The event, run by the students, was held under perfect weather as the teams enjoyed the challenge of Portage Lake Golf Course. Plans are underway for next year’s event, as are plans for the rest of the Alumni Reunion, which filled the campus and communities with laughter and memories from “back in the day.”