Tag: SBEatMTU

APMP Team Repeats Win in New York City

Cory Sullivan participating in Nasdaq closing
Cory Sullivan participating in Nasdaq closing

March 31, 2015 – It’s been said the only thing more difficult than winning a championship, is repeating. That is exactly what an Applied Portfolio Management Program team from Michigan Technological University has done.

For the second year in a row, the School of Business and Economics’ APMP team won the global investment competition at the Global Asset Management Education (GAME) Forum V, hosted by Quinnipiac University in New York City. The event, held March 19-21, attracted more than 1,200 students from 140 colleges in 40 countries and 39 states.

While in New York, the team participated in the NASDAQ Stock Exchange closing, attended presentations by some of the biggest names in the world of finance and visited with  APMP alums.

Keynote speakers included: Guy Adami, chief market strategist for Private Advisory Group and contributor to CNBC’s Fast Money; Joseph Terranova, chief market strategist for Virtus Investment partners and another “Fast Money” contributor; David M. Darst, former managing director and chief investment strategist for Morgan Stanley Weather Management; Abby Joseph Cohen senior investment strategist and president of the Global Markets Institute at Goldman Sachs; and Tom Keene, editor-at-large at Bloomberg News.

Tech Team

The APMP sent three students to the competition, Cory Sullivan, who participated in the NASDAQ closing ceremony, Heath Johnson and Derek Menard.

The results of the team’s investments were impressive according to Dean Johnson who is the James and Dolores Tretheway Professor in the School of Business and Economics and the APMP’s founding director. He says what sets the competition apart is the fact the students are investing real money–a lot of real money.

“The team manages $1 million through the Michigan Tech Fund,” Johnson explains. “These funds were explicitly donated to be managed by the students.”

He says the APMP team has done well with the fund’s money. Johnson says the team practices the concept of Risk Adjusted Returns, In which an investment’s return is measured by how much risk is involved in producing that return. Even more impressive is the fact the students themselves make all investment decisions. “They have complete control,” Johnson says. “They are hired by the APMP Advisory Board, but the students make each and every decision.

Heath Johnson, the only returning member from last year’s winning  team, says while there was a sense of pressure to repeat, the experience of having done it before was beneficial.

“After experiencing the competition last year I knew that we had to be mindful not only or our returns, but also the risk subjected to our portfolio.” Heath Johnson says.

“Our team really wanted to repeat last year’s impressive performance. Winning two years in a row out of 141 schools was incredibly exciting. We were able to outperform the market through very consistent returns while minimizing risk.”

NASDAQ Closing

Cory Sullivan says the overall experience was impressive on several levels. “From participating in the NASDAQ closing and having my picture appear in Times Square, to receiving advice from the biggest names in the finance industry, I realize the great opportunities APMP provides students,”

Indeed, the students hardly have time to enjoy the repeat victory. Heath Johnson, president of the SBE’s Finance Club and other members of the club traveled to the Chicago the following weekend for their annual trip to visit investment firms. Other members of the APMP traveled to Detroit Thursday and Friday to compete in the ENGAGE Investment Education Symposium and competition, hosted by Wayne State University.

Sullivan says the New York trip is just one of many experiences available to the team.  “We interact with great guest speakers on campus and via video conferencing, but we also get the opportunity to travel to both Chicago and Detroit to interact with investment professionals. “

Professor Johnson echoed that sentiment. “APMP students are gaining the experiences and education to be successful in the finance industry. Indeed, their success is already evident in their investment results.”

This article was written by Mark Wilcox and originally published on Michigan Tech News.


Breffle Recognized for Outstanding Teaching

Dr. William Breffle, Associate Professor of Economics within Michigan Tech’s School of Business and Economics (SBE), has been selected as a finalist for the Distinguished Teaching Award, a notable recognition from the William G. Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning.

Based on 50,000 student ratings, five finalists were chosen for the 2015 award. The selection committee will be basing its ultimate decision on class surveying, and on recommendations from the Tech community. Staff, faculty, and all current and former students of Dr. William Breffle are strongly encouraged to submit a recommendation by Friday, April 3.

Associate Professor Breffle is consistently one of the SBE’s most beloved professors. In the 33 courses he has taught, Breffle maintains an average rating of 4.6 on student evaluations. He has an overall quality rating of 4.3 on Rate My Professors, being cited as inspirational and known to give amazing lectures. One student of EC3100: International Economics wrote in December 2014,

“In seven years of academia, Dr. Breffle is BY FAR the best professor I’ve ever had. Extremely passionate about his topic and wants students to learn. He uses real world examples to simplify the subject and is a fair grader. Took another class from him because he’s THAT good!”

Breffle is also an active researcher, having published over 20 peer-reviewed articles, including very recent papers in top journals such as Contemporary Economic Policy, Environmental and Resource Economics, and  Ecological Economics, among many others. His strong research record helps to keep his classroom curriculum on the cutting edge and directly related to real-world policy. His current research interests lay within environmental economics, non-market valuation, discrete choice modeling, benefit-cost analysis, restoration program planning, and health economics.

Breffle’s impressive resume also boasts numerous presentations at  institutions nationwide, including Colorado State University and Cornell University. He currently serves as article reviewer for 19 top journals in environmental economics and policy, and he remains a member of Mensa, Phi Beta Kappa, the American Economics Association, and the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, among others.  A new father, Breffle has found a perfect balance between life with a newborn and his love for teaching economics.

Please submit a comment in favor of his award recognition by clicking here so that we can show Dr. Breffle how much we appreciate his hard work and dedication to Michigan Tech!


Alumni Spotlight: Kate Hogberg

Kate Hogberg
Kate Hogberg earned her BS in Business Administration in 2002

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


Tech Students Collaborate Innovatively

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).

Business DevelopmentOffered 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.

140415-tech-graphene2_5a7bdfa7b9f6c1c5b7bba8c5555e13aa.nbcnews-fp-1240-600
Graphene, a highly conductive and extremely strong transmittable metal

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 (benson@mtu.edu) to discuss their course schedule. Prospective Tech students with questions about the Business Development Experience should contact business@mtu.edu.

This article was written with contributions from Dr. Saurav Pathak.