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Why Carlson, you might ask?

For those of us who decide to embark upon an MBA program, it is a major life decision. Many of us are working full time and have families at home - either a spouse, kids, or both. My situation wasn't any different. I was working at Target Corporation downtown Minneapolis in a job I loved but one that kept me extremely busy. I had just gotten married the year before and was living in Hudson, WI but currently in search of a house closer to Minneapolis in order to avoid the 45 minute commute every day.

I had known since college that I would go back to school for my Master's degree or MBA. The questions were just where and when. As a native Minnesotan and proud graduate of the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management undergraduate program, I naturally turned to Carlson. In the back of my mind, I wondered: "should I be looking outside Minnesota at another prestigious MBA program? Should I consider someplace different than where I was for my undergrad degree?" After some contemplation, I followed my heart and Gopher pride straight back to the U of M's Carlson School.

I began the program in January of 2011, and it immediately felt like home for me. Being back on campus and back in the familiar halls that I had spent so much time in during college was comforting yet still exciting for me. I also was really excited to see the new Hanson Hall that I had helped raise funding for as a Undergraduate Ambassador for Carlson - complete with our very own Starbucks! My first semester was a bit of a blur as I was focused on trying to create new balance in my life, managing school, work and family priorities. This was no easy task!

Despite the hectic schedule and the dread of studying for exams, I was reassured each and every week by the amount that I was learning and how much I enjoyed being back in the classroom. To this day, I still call my parents on occasion and talk their ear off about something I learned at school that week. I also found it refreshing to interact with other professionals in the business community who were in a similar position as me. We were all here to learn, share experiences from our work, and take the content from the classroom to apply to our professional lives.

This past summer, I had the opportunity to travel abroad with about 20 Carlson students on a study abroad throughout Central and Eastern Europe - Vienna, Budapest, and Prague. Until this point, my level of interaction and dedication to meeting people at school had been minimal - really only what was required to get through class and group projects. This trip changed everything, and I only wish I had taken the time to meet people early on because I now realize what fantastic classmates I had around me the whole time!

As I embark upon my last year at Carlson, I feel nothing but satisfaction and pride about my decision to come to the Carlson School of Management. I will leave this program with an MBA from a top-ranked program in the country, a wealth of knowledge that I will apply throughout my career, and great friendships with the people I've met throughout the program. What fantastic experience!

Go Gophers!

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