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April 2014 Archives

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.