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April 2011 Archives

Business Week

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As spring comes to Minnesota, Carlson students all become incredibly excited because we know what is coming up...Business Week (probably one of the best weeks of the year)! In a big celebration of everything Carlson, BWeek provides so much to do that I'm almost tempted to not go to class for a whole week so I can attend every event!

Arguably the best part of BWeek is the free food everyday for both breakfast and lunch. From Mesa pizza to Subway to Qdoba, we had it all. If you think now that this isn't such a big deal, free food becomes one of the best things in college...just you wait. Companies also sponsored each meal so there were representatives there to talk to and make connections with. Our sponsors included General Mills, Travelers, State Farm, Target, PWC, KPMG, Ameriprise Financial, Ecolab, Securian, and Ernst and Young to name just a few. So every possible area of interest was covered from marketing to accounting and students were able to make connections that truly can help them get that dream job in the future.

Also during lunch there were events put on by various students groups. Some of these events are traditional but some are new every year. American Marketing Association put on an awesome fashion show and the Supply Chain and Operations Club and AKPsi put on events like Quiz Bowl and Family Feud (where our faculty members got to participate as well). There is probably nothing more priceless than watching your professor go head to head with other students on subjects like popular music and culture. 

There was also an awesome Target case competition where underclassmen are in one division and upperclassmen in another so you, in your first year of college, don't have to compete against seniors. These case competitions are a great way to really challenge yourself and get exposure in front of top executives at Target. It's also an amazing way to learn about business as you actually try to solve a real business problem.

In addition to all these great events and food, there was also an incredible theme. Take a look at this video to see what the week's theme was all about. I think it's a inspiring way of thinking of our paths through life. It's called DOT and Carlson is excited to be committed to making even more of an impact in our community.

So start early and commit to your DOT, do one thing, because a culmination of these one things is all it takes to make a change.

Adventures in BWeek

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Last week wrapped up Carlson's 51st annual Business Week (or BWeek for short). Each spring, students, staff, and faculty gather for a special week to celebrate the business school with special events, games, and lots of free food. 

The theme of this year's BWeek was "Do One Thing." We were challenged to commit to doing one thing to help better ourselves, our community, or both. To celebrate the theme, Carlson kicked off its new DOT ("Do One Thing") campaign. Students and faculty filled out a "dot" with their new commitment, which are all hanging downstairs in our Undergraduate Lounge. It's fun to see what everyone has committed to. Goals range from taking the stairs instead of the elevator, eating more local food, not procrastinating, and spending more time with family and friends. My "dot" is to support my friends and their dreams. It's a very neat campaign, and its launch during BWeek really brought the Carlson community together.

Another great gathering of the Carlson community during BWeek is the Business Day Dinner. Held on the last night of BWeek, we culminate the week with a delicious dinner, keynote speaker, and the awards for Faculty, Staff, and Students of the Year. This year's speaker was Jason Barger, author of "Step Back from the Baggage Claim: Change the World, Start at the Airport." He challenged us to step back from our everyday lives and look at those around us while contemplating the type of organizational and corporate culture we want to create in the world. It was a great message that touched both our professional and personal lives. It also made for a great lead-in to the introduction of our DOT campaign!   

And speaking of great dinners... This year I got the chance to attend the BWeek Etiquette Dinner. It was a fun evening of learning which way to pass the bread, how to signal if you're finished eating, and how to have a conversation and eat your meal at the same time. It was a fun experience that let me learn some new skills and meet some new classmates! 

BWeek is one of my favorite weeks of the year. There's so much going on and it's so fun to see the whole Carlson community together. Be sure to check out Courtney's blog to hear about her BWeek adventures! 

Living on Campus!

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So, I'm sure one of things that all you prospective students are wondering about is living on campus!  I can say from personal experience that living on campus your first year is a great way to start your college career.  Before I get into it too much though, I have to say that my experiences come from living in Territorial Hall my first year.  If you ask me, I will probably tell you that Territorial (or T-Hall for short) is the best residence hall on campus.  If you ask someone who lived in Middlebrook or Bailey or Frontier, though, they will tell you that their residence hall is the best.  These beliefs lead to some fun rivalries during homecoming and Spring Jam competitions when the halls compete against each other in things like flag football and lip sync competitions.  And while I will be talking about my time in T-Hall, all the residence halls are really similar.

One of the best reasons to live in the residence hall is to meet people!  I only knew one person at the U of M when I started, and I was a little worried about meeting people and making friends.  But there are a lot of other students in similar situations living around you, and for the first few weeks it seems like you do nothing but meet people and make friends.  I am still great friends with the people I met those first couple days living on campus. Also, a great thing about a large school is that I am still able to meet new people now during my senior year.

You never have to be bored living on campus.  If ever you are, you can just walk down the hall and jump in a friend's room to hang out.  There was always something going on, whether it was dance parties on Thursdays, movie nights, late night dining at Centennial, Super Bowl parties, or watching all four seasons of The OC throughout the year (yes, I admit it). 

It wasn't all fun and games, though - we are here for school, after all.  I lived in the Carlson Leadership House, a Living Learning Community (LLC) in T-Hall.  This was a section of the hall designated for Carlson School students.  It was really nice to live there, as we were all taking similar classes and could form study groups and work on homework together.  It was pretty common for everyone in Intro. to Microeconomics to head to the study lounge to make sure we all did our assignments correctly.  There are different living learning communities in each residence hall and they are a great way to meet people right away that share your interests.

If you couldn't tell already, I had a great time living on campus, and I honestly don't know anyone who didn't.  I don't know of anyone who changed rooms because they didn't like their roommate, or who didn't like the hall they lived in, even if it wasn't their first choice.  If you're not sure you want to live on campus, I personally think you should.  You'll be able to make friends, get involved on campus, and have a great start at the U of M!

I was completely shocked to find out that students at Carlson were completing two (or even three) degrees in four years when I came as a prospective student. They weren't getting just two business degrees but had innovative combinations of majors that complemented their interests. Things like aerospace engineering and accounting to chemistry and finance.

I had prepared myself as an incoming student to be willing to compromise my interests because I had heard that AP credits were difficult to transfer and that some colleges wouldn't even take them (which might mean four arduous years of completing liberal education requirements that I wasn't even necessarily interested in). To my surprise, I was able to transfer all of my credits to my undergraduate degree and getting this leg up has proved instrumental in accomplishing exactly what I wanted in college.

French has been an area of interest for me since I took my first class in high school.  I had already decided at that point that I didn't want to be a teacher so majoring solely in French studies seemed pretty risky to me.  When registering for my classes the first time, I asked my advisor, "Should I even take any language classes?" She responded that she could see how passionate I was and and encouraged me to sign up because I had enough time to complete the two degrees.

Keep in mind that the French studies degree is in the College of Liberal Arts, a separate college from Carlson at the University of Minnesota.  This college comes with its own degree regulations and specifications, but luckily for me the only difference in specifications is in the number of language classes you have to take (so I already had that one covered).

After taking my first French class I knew I wanted to continue on and gain complete fluency.  You might ask why French...that really doesn't have anything to do with business? But for me, it has everything to do with business.  Speaking French fluently is a unique skill and something that really makes me stand out in an interview and to a company.  Additionally, with the spread of companies throughout the world it's not a stretch to say I might be living and working for a company in France...in fact that's exactly what I hope to do!  

Living in this metropolitan area of the Twin Cities has also allowed me the opportunity to have an internship in the most innovative combination of my two degrees. I got to work at the French Alliance in Minneapolis and conduct market research all while speaking French. Pretty awesome eh? 
 
For next semester, I will be in the beautiful, sunny part of southern France and hopefully I will be fluent by the end.  Let's just say it's not a bad way to spend your senior year.  So for all you out there interested in something different other than business it doesn't mean that you can't be a business student...because here at the U, you can be whatever you want.  

Until next time, au revoir!