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 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.

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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.

The first month of school has yet to come to a close, and there is an undeniable buzz resonating throughout the halls of Carlson and Hanson. Conversations are dominated by phrases such as "on-campus recruiting," "company info sessions," and "career fair." Though each Carlson student has a unique professional future awaiting them, each will need navigate through the recruiting cycle in order to earn internships and full-time positions with the multitude of companies that actively recruit at the Carlson School. On-campus recruiting may seem a daunting endeavor at first, but you will soon find out that with the myriad of resources at your disposal, locking up that coveted internship is significantly more manageable than you originally anticipated. My name is Nick Helgeson, and as a Carlson Ambassador, I'm here to guide you on the wonderful journey that is on-campus recruiting.

What is on-campus recruiting?
On-campus recruiting is a structured process occurring the first 6-8 weeks of each semester that connects employers in need of qualified candidates with high-achieving students (regardless of year in school) at the Carlson School. 3 main components comprise the process:

1. Company Informational Sessions
These info sessions occur throughout the year and are generally 1-1.5 hour informational events conducted by a specific company. These events are held at Carlson and consist of a general overview presentation by the company's recruiters or staff, followed by a Q&A session and a chance to network with one another. Food is typically provided and dress is business casual. Students must register for each info session through The Edge, Carlson's online internship and full-time position database.

2. Career and Internship Fair
The career fair occurs in the Dairy Queen Club Room of TCF Bank Stadium the second or third week of each semester. Here, over 100 companies have booths with recruiters poised to connect with potential candidates in preparation for upcoming on-campus interviews. This past semester, nearly 1,000 Carlson students attended the fair. Attire is business professional, as this is one of the more important days of the year at the Carlson School.

3. On-Campus Interviews
Prior to the career fair taking place, job and internship positions are posted on The Edge by employers. After the resume submission period is closed, employers make interview selections and interview time slot sign-ups are posted for students that have been selected for on-campus interviews. Interviews take place at Carlson and offers are made within several weeks of final interviews. 

How do I position myself for success with regards to the recruiting cycle?
Though this topic is an entirely different beast, taking advantage of the plethora of resources presented by the Carlson School is the best way to achieve success during the recruiting process. Below are a list of resources to examine:

  • BA 3000 (Career Skills): this class is required for every Carlson student, and is generally taken in the fall of sophomore year. It ensures that no Carlson student graduates without knowing how write a resume, cover letter, tackle the recruiting process, conduct oneself professionally, and more.
  • Resume Review: Recruiters from various companies sit down with students one-on-one and improve their resumes. This provides a no-pressure environment to gain insight from recruiters.
  • Career Fair Prep Workshop: This workshop, as well as other workshops that occur around the time of the career fair, are geared specifically to address students' concerns, whether it be talking with recruiters or tips with interviewing.
  • Mock Marathon: Much like the Resume Review, the Mock Marathon provides students with an opportunity to sit down with recruiters in a no-pressure situation and engage in a mock interview in order to improve interviewing skills.
  • Undergraduate Business Career Center (UBCC): The Undergraduate Business Career Center exists solely to aid Carlson students in achieving their career aspirations. Through various experiences (some of which have already been listed) such as walk-in career coach hours, the UBCC is here to meet your needs. It is located across from Starbucks in Hanson.
  • Meet with you Carlson Advisor: Your advisor at Carlson is invaluable to not only your recruiting process, but to your overall college journey. No professional can cater to your unique issues like she/he can. I can't thank my advisor enough for the support that I have received, in areas from coursework to study abroad to major declaration, and much more.
Though this list is by no means comprehensive, it is a good place to start. Needless to stay, strong academics and involvement outside the classroom are requisites in order to achieve success in the recruiting process.

See? That wasn't so hard. Now, you have a better idea of what on-campus recruiting at the Carlson School entails, as well as resources out your fingertips that enable you to be successful. The rest is up to you. You're responsible for your success, so go out there and get it. Thank you for joining me on this exhilarating journey through the recruiting cycle! Ski-U-Mah!

Engage at the U!

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Coming to college can be a big adjustment. Consider the fact that you don't know where to buy your morning Starbucks, that you no longer see the friends you have been in class with for 13 years, and that you are likely living in a 12' x 12' room with a complete stranger. For a lot of new Carlson students, it can also be a bit scary to mentally "erase" all the amazing activities and awards on the resumes that got them into to college. Coming to college can feel like starting all over again! The good news is that this seemingly distressing time is actually one of those life-changing periods in your life that can shape who you will be for the next four years and beyond.

College campuses are literally a network of amazing students, staff, and faculty with interests as varied as yours. The University Student Union and Activities website (http://sua.umn.edu/groups/) boasts hundreds of student groups ranging from the Active Energy Club to the Zoology Club.  The Carlson community also offers student groups focused on various areas of business and coordinated through a college-wide Business Board.

 I remember attending the activities fair during Welcome Week and being completely overwhelmed by the quantity of organizations and the variety of their missions.  By chance, I spoke with representatives from Women in Business, the organization for which I am now President.  As it turns out, engagement with student organizations is really simple. Putting your name on an email list, speaking with one of the officers at recruiting events, or perusing the SUA website to find organizations that fit what you are looking for are some of the easy, and effective ways to get involved on campus.

Many students also forget the amazing opportunities to get involved outside of student organizations. As I mentioned, the University offers access to some of the best minds in the world. Our professors study topics like the eradication of food deserts through local organic food movements, the evolution of wind power, and the history of rock and roll. As a land-grant university, these professors are continually doing research in their fields (yes- even in business!) and are looking for students to help. Working as an Honors Research Assistant or serving as a class TA can expose you to the cutting edge learning happening right here at the University of Minnesota.

Don't think of getting involved on campus as a task or worry that you need to replace that debate team captain line on your resume. Instead, let your interests drive your engagement and find the organizations, research, and volunteer opportunities that fit you! As most college grads will attest to- learning in the classroom is only part of the college experience. The experiences gained outside the lecture halls are often the ones that stick with you (even after that spring final exam)!