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.

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.

MCTC DECA Students are U.S. Champions in Washington D.C.

Posted on: May 5th, 2014 by insidemctc No Comments

MCTC Deca studentsStudents of the Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC) business club, DECA, participated last week in the International Career Development Conference (ICDC) in Washington, D.C. The team took second place of 41—second only to a Canadian team—in the Entrepreneurship Challenge competition, securing $1,000 in prize money along with significant bragging rights. The team also advanced to the second round of the Project Management Competition. Competing teams, mostly from four-year universities, came from across the country.

Competition in the conference is intense. The various challenges offer anywhere from 30 minutes to 48 hours to prepare and present a solution to a real-world problem. Participants in these challenges were required to both think on their feet and work through the night preparing proposals. The team’s advisor, Jason Cussler, believes in a hands-off approach. “DECA is supposed to be a student-driven organization. To be honest, I don’t want to mess things up. This group had a relentless work ethic, business savvy and a very real competitive spirit. They wanted to win.”

MCTC’s DECA Team Takes the Cake, Advances to International Competition

Posted on: March 6th, 2014 by insidemctc No Comments
MCTC DECA students

MCTC DECA students Immanuel Jones, Monique Stewart and Elliot Schimming.

Last week, MCTC’s DECA team, a student-led club focusing on entrepreneurship and business topics that is open to students of all majors, participated in a state competition in Mankato. Of the three-student team, students won first-place awards in Business Ethics and Project Management, and second-place awards in Entrepreneurship in this incredibly competitive event. These performances by Immanuel Jones, Monique Stewart and Elliot Schimming qualified them for participation in an international competition in Washington D.C. in April.

“The students are looking forward to sharing with the MCTC community what the DECA experience has taught them,” said MCTC instructor and DECA advisor Jason Cussler. “They are also excited to compete in the international competition later this spring.”

Abbot Downing Awards Inaugural Scholarship Recipient

Posted on: September 6th, 2013 by insidemctc No Comments

Thomas Stenslie, recent graduate of Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC), is the inaugural recipient of the Abbot Downing Scholarship. Stenslie was awarded an annual renewable scholarship for $2,500 to complete his bachelor’s degree at Metropolitan State University.

Abbot Downing, a Wells Fargo business, will provide up to two scholarships annually for students interested in pursuing a bachelor’s degree in business at Metropolitan State University after completing two years at either Saint Paul College or Minneapolis Community and Technical College.

Stenslie will begin coursework at Metropolitan State University in Saint Paul, Minn. this fall, majoring in business administration, with an anticipated graduation date of 2015. While attending MCTC, he was a member of the dean’s list. A native of Wahpeton, N.D., Stenslie lives in Minneapolis, where he works as an auditor at RIS Inventory Services.

“Part of Abbot Downing’s mission is to attract and develop talented teams of people who demonstrate integrity, wisdom, and passion for great work,” said Jim Steiner, president of Abbot Downing. “Through the Abbot Downing Scholarship program we are able to connect with students who display these characteristics and invest in their future. We’re excited about our partnership with Metropolitan State, which has a strong business program and offers students affordability and flexibility to pursue higher education.”

President of Metropolitan State University Sue Hammersmith said, “I congratulate our partners at Abbot Downing for the vision reflected in their creation of the Abbot Downing Scholarship. This kind of private-sector engagement and support for students while they are preparing for their careers is an important and growing trend in public higher education. Abbot Downing’s example of outreach to promising students is the kind of innovation that enables Metropolitan State to continue to be ‘Where Life and Learning Meet.’”

The program is administered by Scholarship Management Services, a division of Scholarship America.  Applications for fall 2014 may be submitted starting in early 2014 at

Abbot Downing, with $34 billion in client assets and a 40-year history serving ultra-high-net-worth clients, is part of Wells Fargo’s Wealth, Brokerage and Retirement group, a leading U.S. wealth manager, with $1.4 trillion in client assets.

Abbot Downing services clients in all 50 states through offices in San Francisco, Palo Alto, Los Angeles, Scottsdale, Denver, Houston, Minneapolis, Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Charlotte, Winston-Salem, Raleigh, Naples, Jacksonville, and Palm Beach. Wells Fargo launched the Abbot Downing brand on April 2, 2012, combining two Wells Fargo businesses: the original Abbot Downing built the iconic stagecoaches that have come to represent Wells Fargo.

Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a nationwide, diversified, community-based financial services company with $1.4 trillion in assets. Founded in 1852 and headquartered in San Francisco, Wells Fargo provides banking, insurance, investments, mortgage, and consumer and commercial finance through more than 9,000 stores, 12,000 ATMs, and the Internet (, and has offices in more than 35 countries to support the bank’s customers who conduct business in the global economy. With more than 270,000 team members, Wells Fargo serves one in three households in the United States. Wells Fargo & Company was ranked No. 25 on Fortune’s 2013 rankings of America’s largest corporations. Wells Fargo’s vision is to satisfy all their customers’ financial needs and help them succeed financially.