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November 2012 Archives

Tis the Season!

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Tis the season--there's frost on the ground, students bundled up, greenery all around campus, festive tunes on the radio...and finals only a week away. The impending stress of finals always has the potential to dampen the festive glow of the holiday season and make anyone into a Scrooge, but a well-prepared student has the opportunity to tackle the challenge of finals while still keeping their holiday spirit alive and well.

How is this done you ask? Organization! For many students studying for finals is crunch time, and often they're unsure how to prioritize their time or figure out how long they need to study for each exam. The key to success in finals is starting to study early and often. Despite what anyone says, popping a can of Redbull and pulling an all-nighter before an exam helps nobody. Instead, breaking the studying into small, manageable chunks is advised. 

Personally, I always break down what has to be done/studied prior to taking the exam. Then, I make myself a study schedule for the last week and a half of the semester. I also set goal grades for the end of the semester, being realistic with what I'm able to achieve. Then, if I stick to my study schedule and achieve my goal results I reward myself with some sort of gift (a little holiday gift for yourself!) Whatever helps you study! 

Finals are the last barrier to a long and relaxing break, so it is time for everyone to kick it up to high gear, pop open that accounting textbook or break out the flashcards. Getting through these last weeks is always a challenge, but don't let yourself give up! Finish off the semester strong and reap the rewards of the holiday season! 

Spacious, bright, friendly faces, relaxing. These are only a few of the words that describe the Carlson School of Management and Hanson Hall building. Both of these buildings were built and designed for Carlson students so that we could have a quiet place to study, do group work, and even catch up with friends.  

My name is Erik Lean, and as a senior at Carlson, I have spent most of my past four years in these two buildings, and I have enjoyed every minute of it (even on those long nights doing group projects or studying for finals!). Looking back at all of my memories here at Carlson, there are so many things that I'm going to miss once I graduate. 


I remember when I first came to the U of M as a freshman. I had classes all over campus in all different buildings, and it was a bit intimidating trying to navigate through all them all, especially in the winter. That's the nice thing about being a Carlson student. By the time you're a sophomore, you along with all your classmates and friends will have most of your classes in either Carlson or Hanson. Better yet, both buildings are connected by a skyway, so you'll never have to go outside in the winter. 

Some of my favorite memories about the Carlson building were late night study sessions in the breakout rooms with friends. Breakout rooms are small meeting rooms in the Carlson and Hanson buildings that Carlson students can reserve for studying or group projects. There are dozens of them with all different sizes. I remember one semester when six of us stayed there until 2 am, ordered pizza, chatted on Facebook (when we should have been studying), and got some McDonalds. It was a blast.

The best thing about Hanson is hands down the Starbucks! Yep, there is a Starbuck inside the building so you don't even have to go outside in the winter to get your coffee. Right before class every day, whether it's 8:00 am or 3:30 pm, you'll see students, professors, and staff all lining up to get their daily dose of caffeine. I am also one of these caffeine enthusiasts. Whenever I need to meet with someone, we just meet at Starbucks for a chat over coffee. It's so convenient.

These are only a few of my favorite things about Carlson and Hanson. There are so many more memories that I could go on and on, but I figure you might not want to hear me ramble on for too long. If you want to know the rest, we would love to give you a tour of our facilities! 


Hanson Hall Atrium

"You have a brains in your head, feet in your shoes  You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go..."

Dr. Suess' quote always makes me think of how fantastic the opportunity for an international experience is for Carlson students. Below are some of the experiences that my friends and I have had.
  • Summer after freshman year spent 3-week program in Mexico studying intermediate spanished followed by a 6-week program in Spain studying linguistics and art.
  • A semester during junior year spent in Vienna, Austria with weekend trips all around various countries in Europe.
  • A semester during sophomore yearspent in Ecuador over sophomore year
  • A semester during junior year spent in Kenya. Camped under the stars on "pride rock" from the Lion King.
  • 2 weeks in Cape Town, South Africa during winter break of junior year

That last one was me! I got to see the African sun set from the top of Table Mountain, pet a cheetah, stand eye-to-beak with an ostrich, see penguins lounging on a beach, and experience the bounty of the beautiful wineries the western cape. Any study abroad experience whether 2 weeks long or 1 year long can be an incredible one. Here are some things to start thinking about:
  • How would you fit it into your schedule? Summer after freshman year is an awesome option. Many of your peers will take a semester during their junior years. Students who want to pursue multiple majors or degrees may find themselves strapped for time, and that a winter break program or a two-week program in May could be best.
  • Do you want to finish a Carlson requirement or study something totally unique? For example, many of my friends took a required Accounting course that had a two-week winter break trip to Argentina, or a Human Resources class that takes a two-week May trip to Australia.
  • What might be the cost of this program? My friends who went to Europe definitely spent a bit more than they would have for a semester at the U of M, but my friend who went to Kenya spent far less than she would have for a normal semester. My South Africa program was an extra 5K or so on top of whatever tuition I was paying.
    • Special note: Carlson offers tons of scholarships and financial aid for study abroad! The school will find a way to make it possible for you to complete this requirement!

And finally, the most important question:
Where do you want to go? When you combine the U of M's Learning Abroad Center with Carlson's Global Institute, you are looking at options of over 300 programs from 70 countries. No choice is a bad choice!
As a sophomore looking to score an amazing internship for this summer, I've found myself flung into a whirlwind of resume reviews, career fairs, database searches, and endless, endless applications. For someone experiencing all this for the first time, it can be more than overwhelming. Luckily for us, Carlson provides us with a resource to make sense of all the chaos--BA 3000 Career Skills Class. 

All students in Carlson are required to take this one credit course, and when I say "required" I mean this class cuts through all the noise and confusion, helping students learn step by step how to make themselves the most appealing candidate possible. So far this semester we have studied the art of perfecting a resume, writing a cover letter, speaking to various recruiters, professional interviewing with companies, and learning career "dos and dont's" from guest speakers.

Resume Review.jpg

 In addition to all this amazing information, I've also learned how to navigate the Undergraduate Business Career Center's "Edge" system, the online career database available to Carlson students. I now know how to search for job postings, set my preferences to tailor to my major and interests, apply for interviews held within the Career Center, register for career-building events, and see which companies have taken a peek at my profile. In having and using this resource, I've been able to calm down (just a little bit!) about my career search. BA 3000 has taught me how to shape myself into the best possible candidate, selling my experiences and passions to increase my business opportunities. I walk out of that class every Thursday ready to suit up and take on the recruiting world--and with all my career know-how, those companies had better watch out! 
Career Fair.jpg

Whenever I stroll the hallways of Carlson and bump into a fellow senior, the same questions always emerge as we catch up and share our experiences this semester so far: "So where are you going after graduation?"

Career Search, it's one of these things that has always been in the back of my mind since sophomore year - from internship search to actual full-time job search. Maybe not so apparent during freshmen year but as you move up in seniority it starts to become a focus, not only because you hear of your peers getting offers to intern at company XYZ, but because the Undergraduate Business Career Center (UBCC) does a phenomenal job encouraging students to apply to internships and providing students with workshops.

Being a senior, I can't even begin to describe how thankful I am for the opportunities I've had and the people that have helped me on the way that has led me to be able to say that I have multiple full-time job offers for after graduation. I didn't have to stress about being unemployed, but I had to stress about which job to pick. I'm not a special case, most of my fellow senior classmates also are in the same predicament, what should we choose?

So what is the ABC of the Career Search? In my opinion three things:
1. Network
2. Your thrive to succeed
3. Resources available to you

Networking, as a Carlson student it's one of these buzzwords that you will hear over and over again, but it's so true! Networking can be the single most important thing in finding a job and Carlson has done a phenomenal job connecting students with prospective employees. I have been able to get two of my three internships solely through networking. I didn't even submit an application online for either of them - awesome.

Your thrive to succeed, being a Carlson student there is always an inherent competitive atmosphere in all my classes but it also really fosters a strong tight-knit community of students. Not only do we encourage each other to push ourselves to the best we can be by competing for As and jobs but more importantly we help each other out - by practicing interviews together, conducing case interviews and sharing our experiences interviewing. The Carlson culture really nurtures a culture that encourages students to really push ourselves to succeed.

Resources, by that I mean what services the UBCC offers and I'm probably the greatest advocate for the UBCC you will meet because I absolutely love the UBCC. Let me rewind, my freshman year I applied to a job at Dairy Queen and other service jobs, I got rejected for most  of the jobs I applied to but Dairy Queen finally called me back. My interviewing skills were so bad that I failed the interview miserably. Being discouraged and in desperate need of help I was referred to the UBCC by a friend, so I decided to give it a try and go in one day. Within weeks I Was transformed, after countless mock interviews and meeting with peer career coaches - upper classman who have been successful in their job search - and attending several career workshops, I was a job search machine - unstoppable. Within a year during my sophomore year I was able to land two internships, one with Travelers Insurance Company during my spring and one with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) - a big four public accounting firm - for the summer. I was ecstatic. Needless to say my success continued and this past summer I was able to intern with PwC again but in New York (!)

In retrospect not only going through the job search but mastering the job search during my time at Carlson was quite a fun feat and now I can finally say...I made it!