Tag: Jacob Carlson

Business Plan Competition Ramps Way Up: $30,000 for First Place

Judges complete evaluations during the 2011 business plan competition.

“How do I sign up?”

That’s the question Bob Mark, professor of practice in the School of Business and Economics, is going to get asked a lot.

The reason?

His Business Plan Competition, with modest awards, just joined forces with Central Michigan University’s New Venture Competition to the tune of $30,000 for first, $10,000 for second, and $5,000 for third place.

Held at Central, at least initially, the competition will pit teams of undergraduate or graduate Tech students against CMU students. They come up with ideas for new companies and how to make them come to fruition.

“And next year, it could be even higher,” Mark said.

The competition will be extended to an all-day affair of each team making three presentations in front of three different panels of judges.

“This makes us part of one of the top competitions in the country,” Mark said. “I can’t recall any this large, other than Rice University’s graduate student-only competition.”

Mark sees more training sessions ahead for the Tech teams to match Central’s semester-long workshops for their competition.

“Now we do three sessions: one on executive summaries, another on identifying your market, and one more on the financial numbers you need in a business plan,� he said.

Additional changes will include putting the training sessions on the web (via a grant), and greater numbers of teams are anticipated to advance to Mt. Pleasant next year.

“We had seventeen teams begin this year’s competition, and only six continued to the end,” Mark said. “The increased monies will make a lot of the teams want to stick it out.”

By comparison, Central, with 28,000 overall enrollment and 2,200 in its business school, had 23 teams competing at their New Venture Competition that was just completed.

Tech could do well.

“They didn’t have a lot of high-tech businesses planned,” Mark said. “Their winner had a smart phone app for shopping, second was replacing rollers for conveyor belts, and another had plans for bamboo plantations.”

Microbreweries were also prevalent in the plans.

“We’ll be able to hold our own,” Mark said. “We will have to focus on our presentation and communication skills.”

A trip across the bridge could begin the trip of a lifetime, if the Tech students do their homework.

Like Jess Tompkins, a junior in management, did this year. She took second this semester in the Tech’s Business Plan Competition.

She used her prize of $500 to register her women’s outdoor apparel business, Two Bows LLC. “I will definitely be working to join next year’s competition,” she said.

Jacob Carlson, a finance major, agrees: “The partnership with Central presents students with a great opportunity to increase awareness of their business ideas, network and bounce ideas off of each other, and receive a large investment that can have a great impact on their business.”

by Dennis Walikainen, senior editor

Important Qualities for a Successful Businessperson

Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Inc.
Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Inc.

This post was contributed by the Student Outreach Assistant, Jake Carlson, in the School of Business and Economics.

When it comes to deciding what to do with your life and making a career decision, it is important to do some self-evaluation to see where your heart leads you. It is not an easy task to assess the personality traits that make you, you. I struggled for a long time deciding what to do myself, and it took a while to figure out the direction that I am going in now. Thankfully, I have found something that makes me happy and takes all my likes and dislikes, wants and desires into consideration.

I went from thinking about medical school to orthodontics to mining engineering to electrical engineering. As I got older, I knew I didn’t want to work directly in the medical field, and didn’t want to be an engineer. I was drawn to business, specifically finance, almost as soon as I entered my first economics course in college.

What personality traits make a good businessperson? For such a diverse and flexible major, it’s a tough question to answer, but my personal traits make me feel like it is perfect for me:

  1. People Skills! First and foremost, you have to be able to communicate with those working around you. That’s where value is created by businesspeople; we serve as a means for the flow of information and the management of that information. We also have to be able to build valuable relationships… Networking, networking, networking!
  2. Leadership Skills. We have to be able to lead, even when not in a specific leadership role, to perform above and beyond what we would be able to do on our own. Leading by example and being able to inspire those you work with are necessary tools of a businessperson.
  3. Ambition. It takes a lot of ambition to be a successful businessperson, and personal drive is an important quality in a good leader. The determination it takes to want personal and professional betterment is a great trait for a prosperous businessperson.
  4. The Desire to Help People. Businesspeople have to understand that when those around them win, they have done their job correctly and they win as well. We can’t be selfish or greedy, or the system we are in charge of won’t work as it should.
  5. Problem-solving Skills. One of the most important skills to have as a businessperson is the ability to look at a problem, understand it, then solve it accordingly. Thinking on the fly and being able to create sustainable change are vital to success.
  6. Strong Mathematically. We live in a world where almost everything is quantified, and it is impossible to escape the sometimes daunting field of mathematics, but math skills are important. You don’t have to be Einstein, but it helps to know your way through basic mathematics.
  7. Confidence. There is a fine line between confidence and arrogance, but we have to believe in ourselves while maintaining humility to be able to build great relationships.

Obviously, we all have something unique to offer, and the combination of our personal traits is what makes us right or not for a given job. If you see these qualities in yourself, then business is definitely right for you. Even if you don’t have all of them down yet, the desire to achieve them is a good sign you would make a good businessperson. Don’t worry… We’re here to help develop these traits in you!

Michigan Tech’s Preview Day

Jake and Joanne at the Campus Showcase
Jake and Joanne at the Campus Showcase

Preview Day 2010, held each spring, is a great opportunity for future students to check out the campus, meet new students, and learn more about the available majors at Michigan Tech.

The School of Business and Economics hosted a luncheon for students interested in pursuing business degrees. During the luncheon students spoke about their experiences as business students at Michigan Tech. The showcase, held in the Memorial Union Building (MUB), gives each student the opportunity to see what interests them. I was able to talk to students from a variety of majors.

It was fantastic to talk to such a diverse group of incoming students, many of whom had a genuine interest in attending the School of Business and Economics or adding business as a second major. Joanne Chalgren, Outreach Coordinator for the School of Business and Economics, and I had such a terrific reception from everyone and many of the students who approached us had great questions.

After the Campus Showcase, we gave tours of the Academic Offices building to some students attending during the fall and their families. It was a great opportunity to meet some faces I’m sure I’ll be seeing around next Fall! I look forward to next year, and I know we have a great incoming class.

Top 5 Professor Characteristics in the School of Business and Economics

Our professors rock!
Our professors rock!

I have a lot of respect for all of my professors. It is a noble and difficult task to work to share knowledge with sometimes distracted students. 🙂  Personally, I have found that my favorite professors provide an educational experience that I look forward to in every lecture they give. I’ve put together a list of some of the best characteristics that I find when I go to class each day:

1.) Exceptional professors are great communicators of the ideas they’re trying to hammer home. It’s easy to be interested because I’m drawn in by the presentation and class materials.

2.) Every lesson leaves me feeling like I just learned something groundbreaking. Not only do the lessons make me feel like I understand something that matters, I am left wanting more.

3.) Everything we do in class offers me a challenge. I look forward to classes that challenge my business (and especially finance) intuition, my mathematical skills, and my own abilities to communicate my thoughts on these subjects.

4.) I love to see the passion of my professors to teach. It matches my ambition to learn the material. Some professors show a real interest in going above and beyond the call of duty, and I truly appreciate it when they do. When a professor gets involved outside of the classroom, it shows a genuine interest in improving the educational experience of their pupils.

5.) I appreciate confidence in my professors. I know confidence is built over time but I admire the ability to present information confidently and still be approachable if students have questions or didn’t quite understand something the first time.

Jacob Carlson is the student outreach coordinator in the School of Business and Economics. Do you have questions about our School? Connect with Jake on Facebook.

Meet Jacob Carlson — Our New Outreach Assistant

Jacob Carlson is the new Outreach Assistant in the School of Business and Economics
Jacob Carlson is the new Outreach Assistant in the School of Business and Economics

My name is Jake Carlson, and I would like to introduce myself to you as the Outreach Assistant at the School of Business and Economics at Michigan Tech.

As my fellow students at the School of Business and Economics may know, life can be a little confusing and you’re going to have questions about life in college. That’s where I come in!

You can contact me at jacobc@mtu.edu, find me on Facebook (“Jacob Carlson”- Mich Tech network) or follow me on the School of Business and Economics YouTube account (businessattech) where I will be answering questions via video from prospective students. I’m happy to answer any questions you might have, and I hope to post at least one video to YouTube each week.

Current students can also feel free to contact me with any questions they might have, and hopefully I can help!

So let me tell you a little bit about myself:

  • I am a third-year Finance student here at the School of Business and Economics
  • I was born and raised in the Iron Mountain area of the Upper Peninsula
  • I chose Michigan Tech over a number of other top business programs in Michigan for the small class sizes and the success of the Applied Portfolio Management Program
  • I am involved in the American Marketing Association chapter here at Michigan Tech, WMTU– Michigan Tech’s student radio station and the Dean’s Student Advisory Council
  • I am a musician, and my bands play regularly in the region; I hope you get to watch a show someday!
  • I am what you call a sports fanatic and I love playing sports too- hockey, football, soccer, tennis, you name it!
  • Most of all, I am proud of my decision to come to Michigan Tech. I couldn’t be happier!