The MCTC News Blog

Our Voices: Vikas Narula, Fostering Business Skills

Posted on: July 20th, 2015 by insidemctc No Comments

Vikas Narula, MCTCVikas Narula couldn’t believe his dream of becoming a college instructor was finally coming true when MCTC offered him a position to teach a Small Business Management course last fall.

The entrepreneurial founder of the software and services business Keyhubs started his career with a love of math. His interest led him to the field of computer science, and eventually business school. Originally from Canada, Vikas didn’t see himself as a business owner until the moment he realized he could use business as a way to make people’s lives better.

“Business can be a powerful engine for improving society,” he said. “If you go into it with that intention, you can prosper and help others prosper.”

Vikas quickly learned the value of using contemporary technology to reach his audience, and began blogging about business, entrepreneurship, and eventually the intersection of his personal interests with his business model. His passion, amplified by the far reach of technology, was noticed by an MCTC instructor who encouraged him to pursue a teaching position at the College.

From day one in the classroom, Vikas’ business philosophies chartered his stories and lessons. He instantly connected with his class.

“I felt welcome immediately,” he said. “My course seemed to flow right from me, and the students met me with equal passion and interest. I felt like I was right at home in the incredibly diverse classroom on an incredibly diverse campus.”

Vikas told his students that whatever their background—whether they have business experience or are fresh from high school—they are capable of creating something original in the world of business. The rapport he builds with his students helps them envision all sorts of entrepreneurial ideas.

“Getting to know the students on a personal level and getting to see their eyes widen when they realize they could pursue their dream is truly special,” he said.

Vikas will teach the Small Business Management course again this fall, and is prepared for a semester of connecting, building and imagining with his students.

“Having the opportunity to teach at MCTC has been a blessing,” he said.

Marc Jensen: Connecting Creatively

Posted on: July 16th, 2015 by insidemctc No Comments

Marc Jensen, MCTC“I grew up on a farm close to nature. Instead of going to Disneyworld, we went camping and fossil hunting,” said Marc Jensen, the newest member of the MCTC Foundation Board of Directors. “But when my dad brought home an Apple IIe from the school he worked at, that was the spark that got me going down the technology path. That was my Pandora’s Box.”

Marc uses that spark in his current work at space150, where he connects clients to forward-thinking technology. Prior to joining space150, Marc used his ability to connect people to difficult concepts by using video games. “I taught videogame history, culture and creation at MCAD for 10 years,” he said. “Math is difficult for many people, but math can also be visual. The way I found to get visual or artistic types of folks interested in math is through video games.”

When Marc was approached by the MCTC Foundation to become a member of its board of directors, the Foundation was searching for someone who could connect new MCTC graduates with employers in the community.

“Things in the tech world move really fast, and it’s hard for a curriculum to hit a moving target,” he said. “As the world moves forward, the tools that used to work are no longer the best, or there are newer and better ways to do things. You’re at a disadvantage if you don’t know those things.”

In his role at space150, Marc has connected with companies like 3M, Buffalo Wild Wings, Electronic Arts and Nike. His career has included console and PC game development, as well as 3D animation and special effects, motion capture, animation and facial animation systems. For Marc, change is the norm. “My career has been about making creative uses of technology.”

MCTC was the perfect place to utilize Marc’s connection of creativity and outlet. “The diverse experience the college offers is amazing,” he said. “Having different points of view makes your business more successful. When everyone’s better, society is better. The more creatively we think, the less likely we are to be replaced by a machine.”

Rain Gardens Stand the Test of Weather

Posted on: July 9th, 2015 by insidemctc No Comments
This MCTC rain garden sits between campus and the Loring Park dog run. After rainfall, the garden fills with rain, allowing it to saturate the ground as opposed to running off into city sewers.

This MCTC rain garden sits between campus and the Loring Park dog run. After rainfall, the garden fills with rain, allowing it to saturate the ground as opposed to running off into city sewers.

When it rains, it pours.

After Monday morning’s record-setting downpour and several inches of ensuing rain, MCTC’s recently-remodeled outdoor plaza demonstrated the effectiveness of sustainability and stormwater runoff planning. This photo shows the southern rain garden—separating campus from Loring Park—filled with rain waiting to be absorbed into the saturated ground.

Rain gardens prevent stormwater runoff from eroding landscaping, flooding city streets and overwhelming sewers. The outdoor MCTC plaza has received accolades for its green design, and is a tremendous improvement over its earlier, concrete-heavy design.

Learn more about stormwater management at MCTC.

Business Students Win Competition

Posted on: June 11th, 2015 by marketingworkstudy No Comments

Four Southwest High School students concurrently enrolled in MCTC’s Introduction to Business class received top honors at the Virtual Team Challenge in April.

The Virtual Team Challenge, organized by the firm Deloitte, presents an online business simulation to participants, and the students demonstrated teamwork skills and their knowledge of business to win the competition. The team of students posted one of the highest competition scores since its inception in 2008. The United Way accepted the $500 reward for the team’s win.

“MCTC students and faculty should be proud that we are instrumental in providing high quality curriculum and instruction off campus,” said MCTC Concurrent Enrollment Outreach Coordinator Pashell Johnson. “These are future full-time MCTC students, so their success this past April is an honor for the college.”

This spring, over 200 students were concurrently enrolled in MCTC courses in seven Minneapolis high schools.

Former MCTC Student Receives Nursing Award in Canada

Posted on: June 8th, 2015 by marketingworkstudy 1 Comment

Ali CadenFormer Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC) Nursing student and 2011 graduate Alison Cada recently received an award from the University of Calgary (UOC) Nursing faculty for his work with the Alzheimer’s Society of Calgary and two adult day programs for people living with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

“The support provided to me by MCTC Nursing instructors and the level and quality of education I received during my time at MCTC has molded me into the nurse that I am today,” he said.

“Ali has a manner that all students can learn from and appreciate. He is calm, patient, adaptable, and always willing to listen to new ideas,” said UOC Nursing instructor Christine Foran. “He treats everyone equitably and with a genuine desire to create a lasting experience for each person he has contact with.”

Ali’s face is familiar to many. See his photos in this MCTC Nursing photo album!