Tag: technology

Michigan Tech MBA Students Cap Program with Trip to India’s Silicon Valley

MBA students Mike Vigrass and Holly Lehto at the pharmaceutical company Micro Labs Ltd. during their residency in Bangalore.

The nine students in Michigan Technological University’s MBA program returned from India with a new appreciation for how the rest of the world does business.

“We chose Bangalore because it’s the Silicon Valley of India,” said Jodie Filpus, who directs recruitment and admissions for the MBA program.

The online MBA program includes three residencies, during which the students leave their far-flung homes to meet in person with each other and their professors. Two residencies are held on the Michigan Tech campus. The third and final residency involves a week of international travel. “We do this so the students will be exposed to different cultures, as well as to introduce them to international businesses,” Filpus said.

It would be hard to imagine a city more different from Houghton than Bangalore. “It’s a very interesting place,” she said. “It’s beautiful in many respects, with its temples and palaces, and it’s so rich in history.” However, the population in the city of over 8 million has grown by over 65 percent in the last 10 years and its infrastructure hasn’t kept up, “so it gave me an appreciation for what we have here.”

Led by Assistant Professor Latha Poonamallee of the School of Business and Economics and accompanied by Filpus, the MBA students visited several different organizations, from a pharmaceutical manufacturer to a nonprofit that provides solar-energy-system financing for poor villages.

“It was my privilege to design and lead this international residency, which was a fitting culmination of a well-designed, innovative MBA program that put the School of Business and Economics on the map among top online MBA programs in the country,” Poonamallee said.

Visiting Bangalore: Mysore Palace During their trip to visit several Bangalore companies, MBA students also had a chance to tour the city. Pictured are Mike Vigrass and Holly Lehto at Mysore Palace.

During the spring semester, the students prepared for their trip by researching each of the companies and identifying a disruptive innovation to discuss with officials and offer potential solutions. Disruptive innovations are marketplace game-changers, such as iPods and cell phones, that upend earlier technologies.

Assistant Professor Andre Laplume taught them how. First they studied the companies’ products and strategies. “Then they proposed a new business for them to get into,” he said. “They described a new product, developed a rationale explaining why it should be adopted, and wrote an essay about it for their final exam.

“By the time they got to Bangalore and faced the company executives, they had something to bring to the table,” Laplume said. Not only was it a good opportunity to see how businesses function overseas, it also gave the students—most of them middle managers—a chance to display their skills before top-level executives.

Before traveling to Bangalore, student Holly Lehto had already put Tech’s MBA curriculum to good use. “Throughout the program I’ve been reaping the benefits,” she said. “A lot of concepts in the case studies are applicable to my day to day work.”

Her final exercise was to study the Bangalore-based market research firm Mu Sigma. “We talked about the possibility of going public, and we also discussed the possibility of capturing data from electrical transmission lines and selling it to clients,” said Lehto, a project manager for Allonhill, a Denver-based firm that provides due diligence and risk management services to the mortgage industry. “It was empowering to have the ear of these global executives, who were truly interested in hearing what we had to say.”

And there were revelations, said Mike Vigrass, manager of a natural gas compressor station with DT Energy-Michigan in Detroit. “I have traveled internationally, but not to India, and I was quite surprised at how much business was conducted in English,” he said. “At one of the site visits, we talked about the fact that India’s wages are going up, so that they are losing a competitive edge, and their answer was compelling. They said they think in English, which gives them an advantage over other emerging markets, where they have to translate the conversation.”

Another eye-opener was the visit with the nonprofit SELCO, which works to provide solar systems to the poor.  “I found that very interesting,” Vigrass said. “Among US corporations, it’s all about market share, getting bigger. For SELCO, it’s about meeting their customers’ expectations.”

Resource-stretched Bangalore has had trouble grappling with its own growth, he noted. “The population has exploded, and it’s hard for them to keep up their infrastructure.”

That culture shock did not take away from the trip, however. If anything, it made it even more worthwhile. “It was a very valuable experience, just to see how people in other parts of the world work and how they think,” Vigrass said.

Lehto agreed. “Both from a business and a cultural perspective, it was such an amazing trip,” she said.

Watch the Tech MBA Online India Residency in pictures

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8O4earGfxqM[/youtube]

Learn more about the Tech MBA Online.


Tech MBA Online Rated a Best Value

Michigan Tech MBA Online is recognized as a Best Value Online MBA by businessmba.org.

The accolades continue to accumulate for the Tech MBA Online program. It is now rated in the top twenty-five nationally, according to the Business MBA website (www.businessmba.org). The School of Business and Economics’ program was ranked number thirteen and in some impressive company. Florida, Florida State, Auburn, UMass, Colorado State, Georgia, and Arizona State are all on the list.

Of the Tech MBA Online, the website stated, “The nationally ranked School of Business and Economics at Michigan Technological University is known for its commitment to the business of technology as well as the technology of business education.” They gave the Tech program high marks for being American Association of Collegiate Schools of Business International (AACSB) accredited, the fact that it can be completed in two years, and its focus on the integration of technology and business.

“This recognition comes at a critical time as the cost of education continues to increase,” said Associate Dean Tom Merz. “Our goal is to provide a high-quality education while not sacrificing learning and professional development in an online learning environment.”

The website also stated that “. . . we’re confident that the combination of high quality and low cost offered by the programs on our list gives students looking to get the biggest bang for their MBA buck a great place to start their search.”

Previously, the Tech MBA Online was recognized by US News and World Report among the honor roll programs in their first-ever online rankings. Michigan Tech was ranked 24th in Admission Selectivity and 38th in Teaching Practices and Student Engagement, among the 161 online graduate business programs honored.

See the complete list of recognized programs.

Michigan Tech was previously recognized as packing an ROI (or return on investment) punch by Bloomberg’s Businessweek.

Written by Dennis Walikainen, senior editor in University Marketing and Communications.


2012 New Venture Competition

Have a business idea? Have new technology idea? No idea at all, but like the idea of starting a business? This is for you.

Michigan Technological University and Central Michigan University have partnered to create the New Venture Competition – one of the country’s top business plan competitions. First place winners will take home $30,000 to be used toward launching and growing your business. The cash is going to someone – why not YOU?

Did we mention that second and third place will win, too? Yup! $10,000 and $5,000.

Michigan Tech’s Entrepreneurs and Inventors Club is leading the kickoff on Monday, September 19 in 139 Fisher Hall – free pizza and everything you need to know. Stay tuned for details and important dates on the School of Business and Economics website. This epic event starts at 6pm.

The only question is: who’s going to win $30,000? Call Jonathan Leinonen, Program Director at MTEC SmartZone – 487-7004. He has all the information you need to know to get started in the New Venture  Competition.