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March 2010 Archives

One of the best things about spring semester is the number of events on campus. One of my favorite events of the year is Carlson's Chocolate Indulgence, an entire night dedicated to socializing, dancing, snacking, and of course, chocolate. The event is planned by the Carlson Ambassadors and is held at the Weisman Art Museum. It's a great way to kick off the semester and see friends outside of class. The residence halls also host a couple of dances in February and March. A campus favorite is the Awkward Dance, a night full of wacky costumes and a musical trip back to the '90s. There are also Masquerade and Candyland themed formals coming up in the next few weeks.

Besides wearing your dancing shoes, many students have been donning their maroon and gold and cheering on the basketball and hockey teams. We were all disappointed to see the Gophers lose in the first round of the NCAA tournament. Last month the Gopher hockey team finished its conference season with a big game at Target Center against border rival Wisconsin. And we all got the chance to skate like the Gophers at a free skating night at Mariccui Arena in February--it was a blast!

The University Honors Student Association took a couple of trips to explore the museums of the Twin Cities this semester with trips to the Science Museum of Minnesota and the Minneapolis Institute of Art. It was a great chance for students from outside the Twin Cities area to see the museums for the first time, and students from the Twin Cities to revisit some great metro area attractions.

One of Carlson's biggest annual events is coming up very soon--Business Week. This year's Business Week, or B-Week, will take place the second week in April and is the 50th year of the celebration. All week, students will enjoy speakers, events, and loads of free food. Some of the highlights include Carlson's version of The Price is Right, a week-long volleyball and basketball tournament, a case competition, and Business Day and Etiquette dinners. I am very much looking forward to this week-long celebration of Carlson!

Well, I am off to enjoy some music and free Jimmy John's at an outdoor concert at Northrop Mall featuring U of M student groups. After that, it's off to the showing of The Blind Side at Coffman, and then dancing with student group USwing! 
Spring Break is officially over at the Carlson School of Management and classes have started up again after the short break. I recently returned from my trip to Miami Beach.  The weather was great (high 70's and very sunny) for most of the trip.  I played a lot of beach volleyball and spent a great deal of time relaxing on the beach.  It was nice to get a break away from classes, but it is now time to get back into the swing of things.

That being said I'd like to talk a little bit about the study abroad opportunities at the Carlson School and what they have meant to me.  Carlson offers a wide variety of opportunities including semester exchanges as well as short term programs.  This variety gives students the ability to choose the program that is right for them and fulfill the study abroad requirement. 

I chose to complete two short term programs.  The first of these programs was an introductory marketing class in France.  The class started out with seven weeks of instruction at the Carlson School and was followed with 2 weeks of intensive study in Paris and Bordeaux.  Having never traveled abroad, this experience provided me with an international marketing perspective that allowed me to bring diverse perspectives to the upper level marketing classes that I have taken.

The second short term experience that I completed was in Warsaw, Poland and Budapest, Hungary.  This was a unique program and was the most beneficial part of my undergraduate education.  The program was a live consulting project for Cargill that looked at expanding their pet food division within Eastern Europe.  Working with Polish students and Cargill employees, we developed a strategic recommendation for Cargill's expansion and presented our findings to their upper management team.  This project allowed me to further develop the project management and communication skills that I will use in my job after graduation.  Additionally, it was an excellent talking point for company interviews this past Fall. 

These experiences greatly enhanced my undergraduate education and gave me an opportunity to see other cultures and how they operate.  Looking back, it is surprising how much these experiences changed my outlook on business, especially considering I grew up in a small, rural community! 
Throughout my time at the Carlson School of Management, I have had the opportunity to interact with a wide range of professors, each with his or her own style of teaching.  Many of the Carlson School professors have very different backgrounds in the corporate world or in academics, which give students a number of perspectives on how to become future business leaders. 

Professors from the corporate world provide in depth examples from their past experiences.  For those students planning on entering corporate after graduation, these perspectives will be valuable for students to draw upon and integrate into their jobs. 

Wayne Mueller, of the marketing department, is a professor that I learned a lot from.  He worked as an IBM sales executive for a number of years before coming to the Carlson School.  He challenged students to think about how they would back up their recommendations by using real business cases.  This is something that will greatly help me as I begin my career at Accenture this summer.

John Molloy, a finance instructor, is another professor that I learned a great deal from at the Carlson School.  He is well known for developing strong relationships with his students.  On only the second day of class, he knew over 60 students by name!  He also imparted a great deal of his corporate knowledge on the students.  His class inspired me to take more finance classes.  

The professors that have more of an academic background give students a perspective on business research.  This is very helpful for students who plan to pursue a career in academics.  They also teach students a good framework for how to complete research projects.

Michael Houston is the Carlson School Dean of International Programs and has completed a number of research projects. I have worked closely with him over the past year completing my honors thesis project.  His knowledge has given a great framework not only for this project, but also for any future research projects that I may complete in any future degrees that I pursue.

All in all, there are a number of great professors at the Carlson School with a variety of backgrounds and experience.  They are more than willing to help students in and out of the classroom.  In my opinion, the quality professors are a strong point of the Carlson School.

Spring Break

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We are half-way through the week before Spring Break! I know all of my classmates and I are looking forward to some well deserved rest mid-way through the semester. Many students are stocking up on sunscreen as they prepare to jet off to warmer, sunnier destinations. Others are breaking out their skies and skates to go in pursuit of some fresh powder. And a number of students, including me, are heading home to enjoy some relaxation and home cooked meals.

One unique Spring Break trip sponsored on campus is the organization's "Students Today Leaders Forever" (or, STLF) Pay it Forward tour. This organization sponsors several buses that go to various locations throughout the US, such as Dallas, Washington DC, and New Orleans, to complete service projects. A number of Carlson students are involved in STLF, and I know a few of my classmates are going on the Pay it Forward tour next week. There are other service opportunities during Spring Break through the U, including Habitat for Humanity projects.

It's going to be nice to get a week off. The professors have lightened the work load a bit, so we can fully enjoy our vacation time. This week will still be busy for me, as I wrap up some exams and assignments. Friday night, I am going to see La Bohéme at the Ordway with my mom and aunt--what a great way to start vacation! Break will also be a nice time to get a head start on some planning for next semester. It's hard to believe that it's already time to think about Fall 2010!

Well, back to work for me! I've got some management and marketing reading to finish before the week is over. Luckily, it's easy to stay motivated when vacation days are in sight!