Kate (Harkins) Hogberg conveys architectural principles in her job as Communications Specialist with HDR, Inc. She also is learning a fair amount about building blocks.
Kate, a Michigan Tech SBE graduate, is helping with Duplo instead of Lego sets at home—her child is two years old, and she and her husband are expecting another in June—but communicating about architecture, engineering, and construction is something she does every day.
“My typical day consists of communicating with engineers and scientists to tell stories of successful projects around the world,” says Kate. She leads the production, writing, and editing of internal and external publications, as well as developing the storylines, content, and production for internal and external videos. “Communication happens by email, phone, text, video conference, and in-person, and usually involves me asking a lot of questions to get to the bigger meaning of our work. The technical minds get focused on the technical aspects of their work, and it’s my job to extract how that work was new and innovative, used the latest technology, and made an impact on a community.”
Kate’s work tells the story of science and technology in the world. “I do a lot of writing and editing, work that communicates internal messages and goals and tells the story of our work and its impact,” she says. “Reshaping technical information into straightforward marketing materials takes an ability to collaborate with engineers, something business students at Tech are comfortable taking on.”
In fact, studying business at Tech prepared Kate to step into a technical world and make a difference by telling its story. “Working in the architecture, engineering, and construction industry (AEC) was a natural fit given my education at Tech,” she says. “I was instantly comfortable working with engineers, architects, and scientists, and understood the quirks of communicating with many of them.”
“At Tech, the usual question was ‘What are you?’ What kind of engineer, in other words. That mentality has been a huge advantage for me in the business world.”
Looking back out that window to the mountains, Kate thinks of what her work means in the big picture. “Engineering and science are the foundation of our communities,” she says, gazing at the grid of structures and transportation all the way to the base of those mountains, the ones in the distance barely more than tiny building blocks. “The minds that drive the technical fields have the ability to make a huge difference in our futures. These people solve complex infrastructure challenges and develop scientific breakthroughs.”
Away from the office, Kate’s ability to plan and manage is just as important for leisure as it is for cranking out information on a building project. “Being able to manage your time well is huge,” she says. “I always know what’s coming so I can plan my days accordingly and still have time to spend enjoying the outdoors with my family.”
She pauses again, turning back from the window “I think it’s important to balance work and fun, and finding a company and position that value that as well is critical.”
And what advice for students leaving school and heading into the working world? “It’s exciting to start a career when you graduate, and I think that’s the time to make a name for yourself.” She thinks back on her path from a biomedical engineering firm to a construction company, and now to her home in Denver and career with HDR. “Bring your fresh ideas, show your enthusiasm and put in the time it takes to be great at what you’re doing.”
This profile appeared in the Spring 2013 issue of Impact Magazine, Volume 3, Issue 2
Michigan Tech has become the latest university to be welcomed into the CFA Institute University Recognition Program. The Bachelor of Science in Finance has been acknowledged as incorporating at least 70 percent of the CFA Program Candidate Body of Knowledge (CBOK) and placing emphasis on the CFA Institute Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice within the program. This program positions students well to obtain the Chartered Financial Analyst® designation, which has become the most respected and recognized investment credential in the world.
Entry into the CFA Institute University Recognition Program signals to potential students, employers, and the marketplace that Michigan Tech’s curriculum is closely tied to professional practice and is well-suited to preparing students to sit for the CFA examinations. Through participation in this program, Michigan Tech is eligible to receive a limited number of student scholarships for the CFA Program each year.
“Students in these programs study the Candidate Body of Knowledge, which includes the core knowledge, skills, and abilities identified by practitioners worldwide as essential for successful practice,” said Charles Appeadu, PhD, CFA, Head of University Relations at CFA Institute. “By mastering the fundamentals of the CFA Program as well as the Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct, these future investment professionals gain a strong foundation that helps prepare them well to join the growing CFA Institute community dedicated to promoting the highest standards of ethics, education, and professional excellence for the ultimate benefit of society.”
The School of Business and Economics is home to the Bachelor of Science in Finance Program. The BS in Finance is an AACSB accredited program in which students learn financial management, investment analysis, derivatives and financial engineering, and banking and financial institutions. The Applied Portfolio Management Program (APMP) is available to a students who distinguish themselves in their foundational courses. APMP provides students with hands on portfolio management experience with $1.5 million. Recognition by the CFA Institute as a recognized university program signals alignment of the BS in Finance with the CFA Program Candidate Body of Knowledge (CBOK).
On September 11th, Barbara Johnson-Rossi spoke with Accounting students about her field, and how they can aspire to be Chief Financial Officers. Johnson-Rossi worked for nearly 30 years within the healthcare industry as an Internal Auditor, Manager of Accounting, Director of Operations, and CFO. Now retired, she maintains 8-10 hours/week of consultancy work helping with payer contracting and managing data around cost-of-care.
Based on popular demand, Johnson-Rossi will be presenting once again, this time to the Kappa Sigma Iota (KSI) Accounting Club and members of the greater Tech community. Her discussion will cover the various career options available within the field of Accounting, including a deeper look at the jobs she has held. KSI Accounting Club welcomes any interested parties to join them in welcoming Barbara Johnson-Rossi back to campus this Wednesday, October 1st at 5:30 pm in Fisher Hall, Room 131.
Michigan Tech’s campus is abuzz with activities leading up to technological innovations and ground-breaking advancements in various fields of engineering. While they may be successful as technologies, do they have the potential to offer opportunities for creating new businesses around them? Our senior year students provide the answer by undertaking the Business Development Experience courses (BUS 4991 and BUS 4992).
Offered as a two-course sequence – BUS 4991 in the fall and BUS 4992 in the spring – the Business Development Experience provides students with the perfect entrepreneurial learning experience and the opportunity to work alongside Tech’s engineering students, real-world innovators and entrepreneurs. Students assume entrepreneurial roles and work in teams on projects offered by the Enterprise program, Senior Design, MTEC SmartZone and the Innovation & Industry Engagement (IIE) office housed in the Advanced Technology Development Complex. The course provides an opportunity to integrate these entities into a sustainable entrepreneurial eco-system.
These two courses are taught by Dr. Saurav Pathak, who holds the title of ‘Rick and Jo Berquist Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation’ within the School of Business and Economics. This year, he has secured six projects for his Business Development Experience course for students to tackle. The majority of the projects for this academic year are sourced from entrepreneurs local to the Upper Peninsula. Among the projects supporting Tech’s surrounding community include a novel clothing protector for traveling professionals, a gravity-enabled wood pellet de-duster, and a patented new masonry brick-laying technology.
Another locally sourced project is brought to Business Development Experience students by Michigan Tech SBE instructor, Jonathan Leinonen. He will be mentoring students and requesting that they offer a fully developed online game related to and of interest to the Michigan Tech student and alumni body.
The course would also involve students finding a “route-to-market” for two patented technologies – offered as projects by the IIE office. Students would find ways to commercialize a new way of processing “red mud” – a toxic waste produced during the extraction of Aluminum from Bauxite – with hydrophobic polymers into useful items such as cat litter. The other project’s goal would be to identify the potential partnerships, applications, and competitive landscape of Graphene, a highly conductive and extremely strong transmittable metal. Graphene is thought to be the future technology for capacitors.
Throughout the process, students will gain skills from establishing a target market, conducting customer discovery, developing a business model, pricing framework, developing a financial strategy, proposing a prototype, and potentially deploying a commercial version of each product. Over the last three academic years (2011-12, 2012-13 and 2013-14), more than 60 students have undergone this entrepreneurial learning experience working across 18 technology-based projects provided by our partners. The academic year of 2014-15 will see 23 additional students undergoing this experience working over 6 projects.
In the past, project owners have made generous donations to show their support for our students’ efforts. This year, the Dean’s office has offered funding that would be used to enhance the student learning experience by letting them go outside the classroom and achieve tasks that are essential of any business development. Dr. Pathak’s vision for the coming years is to make this course a revenue generator for the SBE wherein only sponsored/funded projects would be considered.
Carly Harrington, Academic Advisor for the School of Business and Economics, explains the importance of the Business Development Experience in these projects,
With our senior-level Business Development Experience, students have the opportunity to handle financial planning, marketing plans, and business management for real-world research projects and engineering design teams. This opportunity allows for cross-disciplinary collaboration building teamwork skills and strengthening student’s resumes.
Current Michigan Tech students interested in enrolling in the Business Development Experience should contact Carly Harrington (firstname.lastname@example.org) to discuss their course schedule. Prospective Tech students with questions about the Business Development Experience should contact email@example.com.
This article was written with contributions from Dr. Saurav Pathak.