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They're a lot of great opportunities you'll have as an undergraduate business student, and one of the most important is a summer internship. The majority of Carlson students usually have at least one internship, and some driven students will have multiple during their college career. A summer internship helps you experience what a potential role in your chosen major will be like, sets you apart on your resume, and gives you some real business experience to complement your academic knowledge.

As with many other Carlson students this summer I'll be joining the workforce as well. This summer I'll be working at the private equity firm Goldner Hawn Johnson & Morrison ("GHJM"). Private equity in some ways is like a mutual fund (think Fidelity Investments) - both manage money by investing in businesses. However, a mutual fund typically will purchase public stock in companies, while a private equity firm generally purchases private companies.

The firm I'll be at looks to make investments by buying majority interest (meaning they have control of the business) of mid-sized companies in the Midwest. Those in charge of the fund then leverage their expertise in business to help make processes more efficient, manage finances accordingly, and help the company expand. After owning the company for a few years (generally ~5-7 years), they then sell the company and return money to the investors.

As an intern I'll be working both on potential investments and on companies that the firm currently owns. For potential investments, I'll be analyzing companies that are for sale where GHJM has been identified as a potential buyer, and summarizing the deal for the firm's partners. I'll also be working with the financial models the firm uses to value potential acquisitions. With companies that GHJM already owns I'll be analyzing various ways to help grow the firm's investments. Overall I'm excited to gain real world experience to complement by academic knowledge, develop my technical finance skills, and learn more about how businesses are run.

Chances are if you come to Carlson you'll have an internship, and they're are a lot of interesting experiences out there to be had. Companies of all sizes come to campus looking for students of all majors, so no matter what your interests are don't worry. You'll definitely be able to find work related to what you're studying and more importantly what you're passionate about.  
As a freshmen starting college, you will quickly learn it's a big-wide academic world at the University of Minnesota. During Freshmen year, you will have student groups vying for your membership, fun classes to explore and pique your interest, wonders like Late-Night Taco Tuesday at the residence halls to get you through study sessions, and big decisions to make like selecting a major and a career. Through all these opportunities and the confusion, it would be nice to have someone to take you by the hand and point you in the right direction...and lucky for you, there is! 

Enter your all-knowing and all-powerful Academic Adviser. These are the men and women committed to making your time at college a success. They are full-time, master-level Academic Advisers trained and excited to help students--the real deal. Each Carlson Student is assigned an Academic Adviser at their Freshmen Orientation, and this is a relationship that will last throughout their college career. Need to plan next semester's courses? Taken care of. Want to declare a second minor? No problem. Want to study abroad for a semester and still graduate on time? Nothing to worry about. Your Academic Adviser is there to have your back every step of your college career. 

Freshmen will meet with their Adviser two times during their first year to lay out a four-year-plan and decide when to meet Carlson's education abroad requirement. These freshmen appointments are also designed to see how well students are adjusting to the fast-paced and exciting world of college. From Sophomore year on, it is up to the student how often they want to see their Academic Advisers, but they are always available to touch-base. 

Now, if you're like me and balancing a college "wish list" of graduating with a major, two minors, and a full semester abroad, then it's a good idea to check in each semester before registration. My Academic Adviser Kathy has been crucial to my success at college, helping me to "do it all" without feeling overwhelmed (Fact: I added the second minor last week in a 10-minute walk-in appointment, like no big deal, casual.)   

Kathy is a college student's dream: She has gone to bat for me time and time again. One specific example is the semester I spent abroad in Sao Paulo, Brazil. I always pictured myself as the kind of student to spend a few weeks in Spain to meet my education abroad requirement, and not the kind of girl to live in the vibrant and chaotic city of Sao Paulo for five months. However, Kathy challenged me to take on something more with my study abroad. She then helped me select the courses that would apply for my major at my Brazilian University. She also let me schedule an emergency meeting three weeks before my departure when I was suddenly sure I was going to back out of going. She talked me out of my panic, connecting me with resources like students that had studied abroad in Brazil in the past and a program adviser to email. While I was abroad, she sent me frequent emails checking in on my progress, my experience, and my Portuguese. Even 5,000 miles away, it was comforting to know I had a cheerleader rooting for me back home. 

What is amazing is that my relationship with Kathy is not exceptional in Carlson--from working at the Advising Office, I have set up many appointments with students who just want to "catch up" with their Academic Adviser. Being with your Adviser for four years lets you build a relationship with them; they know your history, your concerns, and your goals. Alumni have been known to stop by the office to say hey and express their continued gratitude towards the Advisers who have helped them so much. Carlson stands apart with the quality of its student services, and when you look at the Advising staff it is clear to see why. College is an amazing and exciting time, and with the right people guiding you through this journey you will go places you never even dreamed. 

Advisers, thanks for all you do!!! 

 As you embark on your many years of college as a young adult, eventually you have to declare a major. In Carlson, each major has a corresponding capstone course that is usually taken as the final course in a major and synthesizes a lot of the themes and frameworks from the preceding courses into one aggregate class.
In my personal experience, I have been lucky (or unlucky...depending on how you look at it) to take two capstone courses on both of my majors (Finance and Management Information Systems). I will speak to both capstones, common trends that I noticed, and summarize my experience as a whole.

I remember going to my MIS capstone last semester and realizing that that was it; after completing this course I will have completed my last course in one of my majors. This was an exciting yet scary thought! I was almost at the end of my college career, and I was going to take arguably one of the hardest courses of my college experience. The course used a lot of the same principles from my previous MIS courses, but it was taught in a case-based format in which we had to solve a business problem for a local Fortune 500 company in the Twin Cities. We were also put into groups of four to come up with these solutions and were given the opportunity at the end of the semester to actually 'pitch' our ideas to the businesses. Although the class was difficult, it was good that I had taken a lot of the previous coursework to help supplement my solution to Medtronic!

Speaking to my second capstone in which I am currently enrolled in, I am taking a Corporate Investment Decisions Capstone that focuses on a different facet of corporate finance each week and is illustrated with a real-life case. Each week, we analyze a real business case that occurred in the past and answer many specific and analytical questions to think through the case as similar to the executives of the companies during the time they faced the situation. This class also synthesized a lot of the information I learned from previous courses, and it definitely will jog your brain to remember a lot of the concepts from previous classes.

All in all, I believe that the capstone experience is a really unique and helpful way for you to get ready to enter your first job out of college. A lot of the coursework we did was a real-life situation and made us think like young managers. Although I still have a lot to learn once I enter the workforce, it will be useful that I am prepared to handle the challenges that may come up in the future.

Choosing the right college is not an easy venture. The university you choose to attend will affect you for the next four years and beyond, as it shapes your professional career and life. This is daunting, but not as complicated as some people are led to believe. As with any big decision, a pros and cons list can go a long way. First off, know what matters to you, whether that is the availability of the major you want to study, the extracurricular activities you are passionate about, or even the type of campus environment you are looking for. Know what you can compromise on and what you are holding on to. What university best meets these needs? 

This was the approach I took when selecting a college. I was accepted into 3 Big 10 universities, all of which were large Midwest schools with similar programs and rankings. I knew I could be happy at any of them, but that didn't make the decision any easier. I wrote out a side-by-side comparison of the schools, focusing on my college must-haves. 

For me, I knew I wanted to study business, but I wasn't sure what major I wanted. I also knew I wanted to study abroad no matter what. I wanted to feel supported with my academics and involvement. I knew I wanted to be on a campus with a lot going on socially and professionally. 

As I went through my list, Carlson just began to stick. Of my three schools, it was the only one that was freshmen-admit, meaning I was in the business school from the moment I came to the U. I learned that I wouldn't have to declare a major until my junior year, but I would get a broad knowledge base of business in the meantime to guarantee my success. My desire to study abroad was perfectly matched by Carlson's mandatory international experience requirement: all Carlson students will study abroad during their four years here so it is built into the curriculum (check out my blogs on Brazil!).From coming into Carlson for tours, I had learned about the amazing student services offered through the Advising/Programming Office, Business Career Center, and Global Institute, so I knew I would be well-supported while attending the U (Carlson has Info Sessions Mondays and Fridays 11:30-12:30). Also, nestled between Minneapolis and Saint Paul, Carlson has access to 19 Fortune 500 companies for professional opportunities. MSP is also a hub for theater, music, and food so there is plenty of entertainment value as well. 

For me, Carlson was a clear winner in my side-by-side comparison, which made my decision a lot less stressful and even pumped me up for the opportunities ahead. 

Make your list, check it twice, be real with your needs and expectations. However, the most important idea to keep in mind is that a college decision is not an exact science--there is no 100% right answer. If you go into a situation with the right mindset, you can make the most out of any experience. I always tell people who are stuck between two great schools is to go with their gut. The school you should attend should feel like home, a place where you can make your life and make your future. You should feel supported in your decision, and even more important, you should feel excited about it. Taking the time to fully explore your collegiate options might seem difficult but the rewards of going to a school you love will last a lifetime. Good luck and I hope to see you next year! 

The Winter is Coming...

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I am here in Minneapolis, Minnesota, THE coldest city in the United States. This is the place where the average temperature is so low, it is only rational to walk into the freezer to stay warm. This is the place where it is only natural to be afraid to step outside. For people who are not used to such harsh winter like this one, this is the time of the year when they start to ask themselves why they had moved to Minnesota. I am no exception.  However, as frosty and painful as the winter is here, it is very beautiful, and there are many fun, wintry activities that make Minnesota one of a kind. Surviving Winter in MN, contrary to popular beliefs, is not so difficult!

Never have I ever blown a bubble and held it in my hand to watch it freeze nor sled down the frozen waterfall as an entertainment before I came to Minnesota. If you are, however, looking for something more conventional, there are countless ski resorts for winter sports and activities like snowboarding and dog-sledding that will make you forget about the cold instantly. Surprisingly, winter is a great season to embrace the nature and explore the winter landscape. With some preparation and know-how, mountain-biking and hiking can be year-round pursuits in Minnesota.

It is also very important to stay warm at all time and keep yourself healthy. Minnesota winter is no place for a diet; you need as much wholesome and hearty meals as possible. A nice hot dish would be wonderful. Do whatever you have to do to make yourself cozy--a pair of wool socks, a down comforter, and a box of hand warmers would be smart choices. 

I am not going to lie. 'Harsh' is the easiest way to describe the wintry weather in Minnesota, and most of the time, I just want to stay home and watch Netflix, sipping a cup of tea, but if you try hard enough, you will never find yourself bored in winter and remain healthy and sound. In fact, there are close to 400,000 people living in Minneapolis alone; surviving winter in Minnesota should not be too bad, right?

Back in the States!

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Having spent an amazing 5 months in Sao Paulo, Brazil, the feeling of leaving was bittersweet. Bittersweet because of how much I wished I could stay and because of how excited I was to return home. My time in Brazil was a learning one, as I soaked up a new language, culture, history, and method of business. I also learned the difference of living in a developing country versus a developed one, and at times, that learning curve was steep. The experience was amazing, the people I met, incredible, and the memories I made, unforgettable.

However, after those five months to say I was majorly homesick was an understatement. We landed in the US airport, running around chattering excitedly in English to whoever we could get to listen, singing off-pitch patriotic tunes through the lines at customs. We marveled at the free waters, coffee refills, and grade-A plumbing. In the plane to Minneapolis, we stared out the window to the flat expanses of snow, so different from the lush mountainous territory we had seen twenty-four hours earlier. Meeting my mom again for the first time was an experience I can't even describe, full of tears and a lot of squealing. Returning back had me seeing everything with fresh eyes,enjoying many things I had taken for granted before Brazil. The sheer splendor of a Target Superstore had me gawking with awe, exclaiming over and over that, "It's just so BIG."

As amazing as it was to absorb the amenities of the developed world again, that excitement paled in comparison to seeing my friends. I stayed overnight for a week at the University of Minnesota, chatting with my housemates, distracting friends from finals, sharing pictures and memories, and doing my best to catch up on lost months of face time. I am not sure if I have ever felt so happy or so complete. I had completed the greatest adventure of my life thus far, and still had this amazing community of friends to return to. The homesickness I felt in Brazil wasn't about my physical home, but rather, the people I had left behind. The community that surrounds me here at the Carlson School is so unique and tightly bound that returning back was one of the best feelings. Because every Carlson student studies abroad, everyone understands my experience or is eagerly awaiting their own adventure. 

This week marks the beginning of my last semester of junior year. As I run across friends in classes they eagerly ask me about my fall semester and make jokes about how quickly my tan has faded (rude). I am so very grateful for the opportunity I had, and similarly grateful that I get to come back to such a great school. As much as I currently miss Brazil, I know that this is my home, and this is where I am happy to be.


Adventures Abroad

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Coming into my Junior Year at the Carlson School has been a whirlwind of opportunities. I have officially declared a major and minor, finished my first professional internship, and most excitingly, I have gone abroad! This blog post comes at you internationally, via São Paulo, Brazil! I have spent the last four months studying Business and Culture at Fundação Getúlio Vargas or FGV-EAESP, South America's most acclaimed business school. In addition to studying, I have been learning Portuguese, living with a Brazilian family, and making trips up and around this beautiful country (pictures to follow!). In four months, I have seen Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, visited the culturally beautiful beaches of Bahia to the Northeast, experienced the colonial beauty of Minas Gerais, and felt the pure might and beauty of Foz do Iguaçu.

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Above: Christ the Redeemer 
Below: Sunset on Itacare, Bahia

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And while this trip might seem too good to be true, there was a lot of work and effort involved to take this Minnesota girl to South America's biggest city. That's where the Carlson School comes into play. They have amazing resources set up to assist students with fulfilling their international experience requirement, and can help a nervous and clueless student (this girl!) navigate her way through the lengthy steps of the process. 

First stop in the pre-study-abroad journey is a trip to the Carlson School Business Abroad Expo, held each semester. This Expo features Carlson students who have been abroad in different countries and are willing to share their experiences with younger students. Their stories inspire students year after year to explore new countries. 

                   Below: Foz do Iguacu

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Second step is talking to some of our amazing study-abroad experts in the Carlson Global Institute, or CGI. They have detailed information on every program offered by the Carlson School, whether your interest lies in a 2 week short term program, month long program, or full semester, like mine. This office also offers scholarships to help offset some of the costs of going abroad. Additionally, these wonderful professionals got me in touch with Bruna and Flavia, two Brazilian students studying abroad at UMN for the semester. I was able to have coffee with these wonderful Brasileras and they gave me the inside-scoop on what to expect during my time abroad. 

Third step is speaking with your Academic Adviser. Since you have been with this Adviser since freshmen year, they have typically broached the subject with you, and they know where your interests lie. They help make the coursework part of the abroad experience fall into line, because yes, despite how much fun I'm having, I'm still studying for credit down here! They also keep in touch with you throughout your abroad experience, offering support and guidance as needed. 

All of these amazing resources (and more!) are available to every Carlson student to help relieve the stress of studying abroad. As tough as it is to get everything planned, once you step off that plane and realize you'll spend the next months adventuring in a foreign land, everything becomes absolutely worth it!  

Studying abroad offers a global perspective, not only in terms of business, but in regard to personal development. You will not believe the things you see, the challenges you overcome, the friends you make, and the memories that will stick with you for a lifetime. So go ahead, close your eyes and pick a place on the map. You won't regret it! 

As we say in Brazil, Boa Viagem! (Have a great trip!) 

Future Fright Week

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Are you tired of telling friends, professors, and recruiters that you're undecided? Are you trying to nail down your graduation plan but have no idea what you want to study? Do you find yourself wondering what exactly someone in consulting does on a day-to-day basis or what a non-profit co-major can do for you?


If any of these circumstances apply to you, Future Fright Week is where you should be! During Future Fright Week, a variety of majors/career paths put on information sessions throughout the week with panels of both department faculty members and business professionals. College is a time for exploration and discovery, and sifting through the innumerable career paths, jobs, and opportunities that are within your reach is exciting, but can be exhausting. The good news is that the sessions of Future Fright Week can help you streamline your search, provide more information about the great career possibilities that are available to you after graduation, and tell you what kinds of classes you would take to achieve your graduation goals.


Last year when I was a freshman, I attended more than a couple Future Fright Week info sessions and realized I didn't know nearly as much about the majors and minors available at Carlson as I thought I did. Department heads and professors explained how their respective majors fit into a graduation plan, and discussed the different electives that were offered. Hearing from recent graduates about their transition from college to a full-time job was also extremely enlightening. They told the group a lot about what their day-to-day tasks were like and gave great advice about what parts of their undergraduate education have proven to be most useful in their everyday work (many said they'd wished they would have taken more Accounting classes!). Getting the opportunity to ask questions of seasoned professionals who had been in the workforce for a while was very interesting, too. Listening to people's perspectives on all of the different jobs that they have had at different companies was very helpful, and helped me realize that the first job you get out of college is just the first step on a lifelong journey.


Some of the most interesting information besides the job insight was learning about the work-life balances that professionals had and what they were involved in outside of their careers. Career choices are not only driven by what you can do and what you like to do, but also they type and amount of work you can handle. Tradeoffs are important to factor into your career path decision, because you may want to consider the fact that you might not be able eat dinner at home every night if you're a consultant traveling Monday through Thursday every week. The professionals in the sessions that I attended encouraged the whole group to evaluate what mattered most to them in life and incorporate those attitudes into their college career plans. This was something I hadn't thought much in detail about before, and was incredibly thought provoking.



Future Fright Week is just one of the awesome events that Carlson and the Undergraduate Business Career Center put on for undergraduate students, and is a great representation of the excellence that is the career services within our school. Having a career center specifically for undergraduate students is a huge asset for Carlson students, and the resources and contacts available during Fright Week are always accessible! Career coaches in the UBCC can sit down with students to discuss career options and connect them with alumni and companies in the industries that they're interested in. Also just as accessible are the professionals from the Minneapolis area. Being able to have recruiters and employers within fifteen minutes away is incredibly cool, not only for events like Future Fright Week, but also for follow-up informational interviews and building relationships with companies.


I learned a great deal about the opportunities that are available after graduation from Future Fright Week, and also learned a great deal about the kinds of resources and amazing people that are here to help all of us at Carlson. Check it out and you won't regret it! Ski-U-Mah!







I have a lot of great memories from Freshman year and there is a lot to do here on campus! On the social side of coming to college I found it exciting moving into the dorm and meeting my roommates for the first time, cheering on the Gopher hockey teams all winter, and crowd surfing during the rapper Theophilus London's concert during Spring Jam (a homecoming equivalent that the University has during the spring). Other favorites of mine are much more academic like going to my first business class at Carlson, experiencing the career fair, and pulling my first all-nighter resulting in me acing the test the next day!

The best way to make memories you're freshman year is to get involved.The University of Minnesota is a big school but there are tons of ways to find a community on campus, especially in Carlson. My first semester on campus I actually participated in around 10 different Carlson or University of Minnesota activities/groups/clubs, including joining the Investment and Finance Organization, joining an intramural soccer team, and even briefly checking out the fencing club (not joking) Now ten was too many, but finding a few on campus first semester is a great way to make friends to make memories with.

A favorite memory of mine from my Carlson involvement was competing in my first case competition. In a case competition you team up with other students and are given a business case for a company that includes basic information about the company, its industry, and some threats its facing. You then as a team have 48 hours to come up with a strategy on where the company should go next. When the time is up you present this information panel of judges, and you're rated on your findings as well as your presentation. 

Just a couple months into my first year I decided to make a team with three classmates from my introductory management class. None of us had done anything like it before but we thought it would be fun to do so we gave it a try. Even though we didn't know what to expect we did our best and ended up getting third in the competition! In the moment I was excited about the small monetary award and the free t-shirt, but looking back the true value was the experience. The project helped me get to know my three classmates better and today all three of my teammates are still great friends. 

When you guys/gals come to campus don't be overwhelmed by the size or number of opportunities, just dive in! You'll find your niche on campus, meet some lifelong friends, and end up with awesome memories of your freshman year! 

We all have seen the movies about college and how perfect they make it work. The residence halls look like hotels, the campus is spotless, you meet your best friends instantly the moment you move in, and you get the perfect grades.

I would have to say the University of Minnesota has the potential to fulfill and meet all of these things. Not all of the residence halls may be hotel quality, but I would have to say we do have some very nice facilities. We were fortunate enough to build a brand new residence hall right on University Avenue in the heart of campus. These dorms I would say definitely have hotel qualities. People cannot stop talking about the dining services and all the options they have. I am planning on trying it or getting a meal plan again myself. Personally, I think one of the best things about the residence halls and living on campus is the community you are able to build. I am still extremely close with my three other roommates, as you can see in the picture below, and the people I met in my residence hall still. I know so many of my friends are close with theirs as well.


Another benefit of living in the residence halls or just on campus in general is how easy it is to get to downtown Minneapolis or to anything that is going on around campus. There are so many things to explore. We have anything from sporting events to comedy shows in Coffman Memorial Union. There are endless possibilities of things for students to do on campus.

You may be worried that there are too many distractions now that I have talked about everything that is available to students to do outside of class, but let me tell you how awesome some of the libraries are and the resources that the University makes available to you. We have a total of 5 libraries on campus along with countless study lounges in campus housing. The University also provides endless writing, reading, and academic guidance assistance. I know I meet with my adviser at least 2 to 3 times a semester. Carlson also has the benefit of having an Undergraduate Business Career Center with amazing Career Coaches. They can help you with anything from job searching to your major.

There are so many great things about living on campus that I don't know how or why you wouldn't! It's a great experience and everyone should take advantage of it.