Tag: School of Business and Economics

A Day in the Life… Freshmen Student Athlete: Tanner Agen

Freshmen Defensive Lineman, Tanner Agen, chalks up first semester at Tech as a successful learning experience.

Ever wonder what it would be like to be a collegiate student-athlete?  Can you imagine trying to fit 3 hours of practice into your already busy days? At Michigan Tech, we have several student-athletes that choose a major in the School of Business and Economics.  One student, Tanner Agen, is a freshmen defensive lineman for the Husky’s football team.  Agen, out of Kaukauna, Wisconsin, was named defensive scout team player of the year and also has a work study with the School of Business and Economics staff and administration in the Academic Office Building.  After working with Tanner and knowing about the time management skills required for success in collegiate student athletes, we wanted to learn more about Tanner’s transition from high school to his first semester of college.

Here’s my interview with Tanner to learn more about his first semester as a Husky:

Why did you choose Michigan Tech?

I chose Michigan Tech because of the opportunities I have as an athlete and in a future profession. I have a dream in mind that I want to play as long as I can, and I feel that the coaching staff here will give me great opportunities. Although going pro is a slim chance, I need a backup plan with a profession that I can live off of.  Michigan Tech is an excellent school and it can open many doors for me along the road.

What was your first impression of Michigan Tech?

My first impression of Michigan Tech was very good. When touring the athletic facilities, I found the place to be very clean and the coaching staff well organized. They all had that winning attitude and I knew they believed that I was and could be a very good player for them. Along with athletics, I liked how all the educational buildings were close together and the campus was quite small.

What is your major? Why?

My major coming into my first semester was Accounting.  I am very good with numbers and I believed it was best suited for me. Now I realize that accounting isn’t really for me, so I am thinking of going into economics or finance. I find economics very interesting and there is demand for business majors. There is a high chance of getting a job out of college, which is something everyone wants, I hope.

How many credits did you take in your first semester?  Was it too much/ too little?

I took the minimum of twelve credits because it was in the football season and also having to work. I feel it was just right and for me because of what I had for a schedule. Maybe if I didn’t have work I would have taken another class, but redshirting my first year gives me another year to play and go to school so I can lighten my load and not take so many.

What importance does your coaching staff place on academic success?

The requirements to stay out of study tables are to have a 2.3 or higher GPA. They also say that school does come first because we are “Student-Athletes”. So if we have a class or a test during practice or directly after, they are understanding and get us to where we have to be.

What is the biggest difference between high school courses and college courses?

High school courses are the same classes every day taking it in slowly. The teachers make sure you get your studies done and are there to help you a lot. In college, you don’t have the same classes every day and the learning pace is a whole lot faster. We may go through a section in a 50 min class period and move on to the next one the next class. Some classes vary in time as well in college and in high school, all the classes were the same time frame.

What is the biggest difference between high school and college football?

College football is completely different than high school. The speed of the game, how practices are run, the coaching, and your life is pretty much football. I love the game and want to succeed, but my life is football and school work in college. Also, what kind of shape you have to be in. I thought I was in good shape coming into the season, but I thought wrong. Personally, I believe that the first year of college is an eye opener and a learning experience.

Do you think your professors understand of your athletic commitments?

I think they understand what athletes have to do and I know they don’t treat us in a special way either. They treat their students the same and I feel that they know that we don’t want to slack of and try to get by with a pass/fail grade.

How much time per week is required for practice?  In season and out.

In season practice starts at 3:00PM and goes until about 6:00PM. Also in the beginning of the season, there are morning meetings and walk throughs and night meetings as well. So there is a lot of time spent up at the SDC. Out of season is a little different. All that is really required is that we lift and some occasional meetings here and there.

What is the best thing about being a Husky?

The best thing about being a Husky is all the help that is offered here. You aren’t alone in any way. Coaches for football help me out, the athletic trainer is always there, teachers have office hours and are always willing to talk and help, and the administrators really guide you through college and it makes it easier on a student.

Management Information Systems Class Partners with RMS

Business Intelligence students to work with Revenue Management Solutions on a Project to gain real world experience in MIS.

MIS 3400 Business Intelligence is giving students what all undergraduates look for, practical experience in the classroom that can be translated into the real world.  For the first time, students taking this course will have the opportunity to partner with Revenue Management Solutions (RMS) to work on a project proposal and a mock client contract that resembles work being done currently by international consulting firms.  This opportunity has been made available by utilizing Associate Professor of Management Information Systems (MIS), Mari Buche’s, excellent networking skills.  She reached out to Ashley Johnson, a 2008 MIS and Marketing alumna and RMS employee, and the idea for the partnership was born.

Johnson noted that even in the three years since she graduated from Tech, there have been updates to the curriculum to meet industry needs.  This course is particularly advanced because it gets practical experience into the classroom to students from a variety of disciplines.  The students were given a project proposal that is supportive of the Business Intelligence curriculum, and they will compete in five or six teams of three to four students.  All of the groups will be working on the same client contract.  They will each need to present a deliverable, in the form of either a Microsoft Excel decision support tool or web portal, while functioning under a team structure with positions including: consultant, analyst, and developer. A combination of technical and business skills will be required to produce the desired outcome.

Through this partnership, RMS will provide SBE students with a dedicated server, demonstrations of BI applications, and access to project specific sales data for student manipulation. In return, RMS is looking for an innovative data warehouse design that can meet the Tampa-based company’s increased demand for decision support services based on transaction level data.  For this project MIS 3400 students will be required to develop and document implementation of a new data system that fuels business decisions for any retail or restaurant company.  By the end of the semester, each group will have achieved the following objectives:

  • Data Assessment Document
  • Data Dictionary
  • Entity-Relationship Model
  • Dimensional Model
  • Extract-Transform- Load Process Document
  • System Prototype
  • System Proposal Document

This project is still in the early stages, with the students only just being introduced to the project and made aware of the client expectations at the RMS Project Kick-Off event this week; however, Johnson and RMS are excited about the opportunity to work with Buche and Michigan Tech students who are creative and innovative.  I’m sure the feeling is mutual.

Jim Trethewey ’67 – A Different Route to Success

"A really good education is your ticket to opening up opportunities. When opportunities struck, I was well prepared to take advantage of them.” Jim Tretheway '67

Taking “the road less traveled” takes courage, especially for a college student. Many students come to Michigan Tech for engineering, but an elective can lead to a different career path. Such is the story of Jim Trethewey.

Trethewey, from Ironwood, began as a mechanical engineering major. Then he took an accounting elective from Professor Sam Tidwell. Because he did well in the course, Tidwell encouraged him to change majors. After some soul-searching, Trethewey switched to accounting.

As an undergraduate, Trethewey was involved in Theta Tau fraternity and intramural sports. His academic achievements led to the honorary accounting fraternity Kappa Sigma Iota. “I made many good friends and liked the students’ work ethic,” says Trethewey. “And, in my career, it turned out to be a very good thing to have a mix of business and technical courses.”

After graduating, Trethewey accepted a position as an auditor for Copper Range, a copper mining concern. He next joined Cleveland-Cliffs (now Cliffs Natural Resources), an iron ore mining company in an exciting growth period, as a financial analyst in its Ishpeming office.

Cleveland-Cliffs offered Trethewey a wide variety of opportunities. From Ishpeming to Ontario to Cleveland, Trethewey worked in positions of increasing responsibility and became vice president-controller and chief accounting officer. Along the way, he also earned his MBA from Baldwin- Wallace College.

In his final years with Cliffs, Trethewey was senior vice president of business development and worked with the senior corporate team in reshaping the company, adding international experience to his career. He retired in 2007.

Looking back, Trethewey says, “A really good education is your ticket to opening up opportunities. When opportunities struck, I was well prepared to take advantage of them.”

Being open to different types of jobs within a company is helpful, as many newly learned skills could be transferred to other areas, he says. “Mobility is also important. Don’t tie yourself down to one location.”

Being involved in both professional and community organizations has also been important to Trethewey. He networked with professionals in the American Mining Association, the Society of Mining Engineers, and other industry groups that gave him a broader understanding of his field.

“I worked with community organizations such as United Way and currently serve on the boards of two charities,” says Trethewey. “I was always looking for ways to give back to society. It’s important to stay active in other things besides work so you can expand yourself.”

Trethewey credits a lot of his success to family support, especially from his wife, Dee. The couple divides their time among a winter home in Florida, a summer home in Chautauqua, New York, and a townhouse in Cleveland, where three of their five children and five of their eight grandchildren live.

Trethewey has found time in his busy retirement to continue giving back to Tech. In 1994, he began serving on the School of Business and Economics advisory board, and since 2009 he has served as a trustee of the Michigan Tech Fund.

Trethewey reflects, “My newer role as a trustee lets me deal with the entire University. It gives me an opportunity to participate in activities with other devoted graduates who care where the University is going. We help raise funds for the University, network, and work to form corporate partnerships. These activities are important to maintain sound financial footing and ensure the University continues to advance.”

As an advisor to the School of Business and Economics, he has been involved in AACSB accreditation, which has been particularly gratifying for Trethewey. Providing input on curriculum and meeting with students and faculty have been valuable for him. He is excited about many School and University programs including the Applied Portfolio Management Program (APMP) and Enterprise.

“I like that the School is getting involved directly with corporations and the hands-on nature of these programs,” he says. In addition, Trethewey has started two endowed scholarships for business students from Gogebic County. Other possible contributions are in the planning stages.

“The School of Business and Economics was my foundation, my beginning on the road to success,” he says. “So it’s really important for me to have a part in its growth. The current direction of the School is right on track. Being involved has given me the opportunity to have a voice in where the School is going and ensure it’s constantly getting better. And that’s very fulfilling.”

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

Steve Hicks ’83 – Building a Successful Career in the UP, Naturally

Steve Hicks '83 - CEO of Longyear

“Pure Michigan” is the slogan being used by the state to entice visitors to enjoy Michigan’s many treasures. “Pure UP” is the slogan that could easily be used to describe Steve Hicks and his meteoric rise through a UP company with global impact.

Hicks grew up in Iron Mountain. Always interested in the business world, he came to the School of Business and Economics in 1979 because “Tech was a regional school with an excellent reputation.”

Majoring in accounting, Hicks encountered many memorable experiences, including Professor Sam Tidwell of the red tie accounting fame. “He was an interesting and engaging man and it was always fun to be in his class.”

In addition to Tidwell, Hicks was impressed with the overall quality of all the professors and his business education. “The courses were serious, thorough, and solid. I graduated knowing I had a well-grounded foundation not only in accounting but in finance and economics as well.”

This foundation and his own talent and drive soon landed Hicks a job with J. M. Longyear LLC in Marquette. Longyear is a natural resources company with 165,000 acres of commercial timberlands and a large portfolio of iron ore and other mineral rights in the upper Midwest and Ontario.

Hicks began in the accounting department of Longyear, then became vice president of finance, followed by chief operating officer. In 1999, he attended a concentrated residency program for global executives at the University of Michigan School of Business. In that same year, he became CEO of Longyear.

In the past five years, Hicks has led Longyear in more than $2 billion worth of projects, including a $1.5 billion steel mill and a $350 million cellulosic ethanol facility. Cellulosic ethanol is a biofuel produced from wood, grasses, and other plant materials. The steel mill, Essar Steel Minnesota, is expected to be operational in 2012 and is North America’s first iron mining through steel processing facility.

According to Hicks, Longyear is successful in a modern, global marketplace because the company continues to follow the principles that have guided the Longyear companies for more than a century: creating value, maximizing performance, leveraging opportunities, and encouraging sustainability.

Hick’s own personal strategy for success is simple. “In anybody’s career, you’re going to encounter adversity. I think it’s just a matter of working harder and working smarter. And having fun at what you do. I also had good mentors earlier in my career, people who ran global operations and were senior people in law firms.”

Hick’s long career at Longyear has allowed him to remain in the UP. He has been married to his wife, Shelly, for fifteen years. They have two children: Ellie, age eleven, and Collin, age eight. Living in Marquette, the family has been able to be involved in all the outdoor “Pure UP” things that Hicks loves, including hunting and downhill skiing.

Having an impact in the business world has not been enough for Hicks. He has also been a dedicated alum of Michigan Tech. Currently, he is serving on the Michigan Tech Board of Control and on the Board of Trustees of the Michigan Tech Fund, and, in the past, he was involved with the School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science advisory board.

According to Hicks, “I wanted to serve on the Boards to give back and share my experiences and knowledge to assist the University in implementing its vision and strategy. It has been rewarding working with the dedicated men and women who serve on the Board. Clearly everyone whom I’ve been associated with in this tenure has had Michigan Tech’s best short-term and long-term interests in mind.”

Looking ahead, Hicks feels very positive about Michigan Tech’s future and the future of the School of Business and Economics.

“I’m very comfortable with Michigan Tech’s strategy. I think it’s the right strategy for the right time. Michigan Tech is involved with a lot of research and science that, given the current state of the world, will reach emerging markets. The School of Business and Economics has made strategic alignments across the University, taking an integral part in leading innovation to the next step of commercialization. Whether it is in freshwater studies or alternative energy or any other engineering or science disciplines, I’m confident that Tech will be able to help solve the world’s problems and make it better.”

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