MIS background

The Business Side of STEM

Mari Buche
"MIS job placement rates are nearly 100 percent within six months of graduation. Our graduates are holding positions with upward mobility and some of the highest starting salaries of any MTU degree programs." - Dr. Mari Buche, Associate Dean

Michigan Tech’s School of Business and Economics is home to two STEM programs offering students a remarkable return on investment: Engineering Management (EM) and Management Information Systems (MIS). Both straddle the technical and business fields, focusing on building problem-solving and decision-making skills as well as organizational, planning and communications capacities. Both majors maintain strong connections to leaders in industry through professional organizations, faculty research, interdisciplinary relationships, alumni, and groups such as advisory boards. Because of this, they remain current and prepare students to be leaders in the ever-changing world of technology and innovations. MIS and EM students are heavily recruited by major companies for internships and post-graduation employment.
Professor Dana Johnson oversees engineering management. Michigan Tech is one of only 28 EM undergraduate programs across the US that are recognized by the American Society for Engineering Management. Education experiences in the form of cooperatives and internships for EM majors include eight-month employment placements that span two semesters—unusual for business students but comparable to the experiences in STEM programs on MTU’s campus. EM students have worked cooperatives in such companies as Greenheck Fan Corporation, Dow Chemical, Bobcat, and Caterpillar, to name a few.
All EM students are required to take a project management course offering hands-on experience with projects such as designing an app or starting a technical business. This course is taken alongside engineers and other business majors. Additionally, students take a course in Six Sigma Fundamentals, which provides them with the skills to improve business processes through the DMIAC approach to problem solving: define, measure, analyze, improve, and control, according to the American Society for
Quality. Underlying these essential skills is a strong foundation in engineering concepts.
Dr. Mari Buche, associate dean and professor, heads management information systems at Michigan Tech. MIS is the liaison between business end users and technical programmers. MIS professionals listen carefully to determine what a business needs, then translate those requirements for technical specialists who in turn build the system the company requires. Most majors go
into business or systems analyst roles. The dual ability to understand the technical aspects of a project, coupled with strong client communications skills, is extremely valuable to many employers.
Dr. Buche is an advocate for experiential learning. “We structure courses using real projects that benefit real companies and organizations. Students learn how to interview the client, identify their needs, communicate progress, and discuss challenges.” The MIS program also has an impressive history of internships. Students work alongside professionals at such companies as
Ford, Dow, Quicken Loans, Hewlett-Packard, and 3M. This year a recent graduate landed a job at Los Alamos National Laboratory.
Both MIS and EM benefit from dedicated faculty who get to know students as individuals and assist them with internships, co-ops, and job searches. Their commitment has led to two undergraduate major options offering a home to students who may not be sure how to balance their interests and talents. Fortunately, there are faculty like Dr. Johnson and Dr. Buche to help guide them.

Dana Johnson
"EM students are in very high demand. Each semester half a dozen or more companies approach us to learn about the program and its students." - Dr. Dana Johnson, Professor

Michigan Technological University is a public research university, home to more than 7,000 students from 54 countries. Founded in 1885, the University offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technology, engineering, forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, and social sciences. Our campus in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula overlooks the Keweenaw Waterway and is just a few miles from Lake Superior.