Meet The Minnesota Carlson MBA Class of 2017

Rebecca Blumenshine

Rebecca Blumenshine

Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota

Hometown: Minneapolis, MN

Undergraduate School and Major: Undergrad: Wesleyan University (CT) – Sociology; Graduate: Humphrey School of Public Affairs, U of MN – Masters of Public Policy

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation: In reverse chronological order: Humphrey School of Public Affairs, U of MN – Policy Researcher; Mary’s Pence – Development Director; Sierra Club of British Columbia – Manager of Individual Giving; FairVote – Membership Outreach Coordinator; Der Kindergarten (Beijing) – Head English Teacher

Recalling your own experience, what advice do you have for applicants who are preparing for either the GMAT or the GRE? Everyone’s different, but here’s what worked for me: I got a good GMAT/GRE prep book and read it carefully, systematically doing lots of practice problems for each problem type. I timed myself for every practice problem and challenged myself to do each problem in the amount of time I’d want to give that type of problem in the actual GMAT. I didn’t let myself look at the answers until I’d worked through the problem, no matter how long it took me. Eventually, I got much faster and re-learned many basic math concepts and tricks that, in some cases, I hadn’t used since high school.

Based on your own selection process, what advice do you have for applicants who are trying to draw up a list of target schools to which to apply? Talk to everyone you can! All the most helpful information I got in choosing schools came from networking. In particular, I reached out to people I trusted who had been through the B-school search process recently and gathered their insights on different schools to add to my own. I also networked to identify and have conversations with current students at schools I was interested in. Our conversations would include what other schools they looked at and how they made their decision. It’s amazing how candid people will be when you’re talking face-to-face or on the phone – so I highly recommend setting up lots of one-on-one conversations of this type.

What advice do you have for applicants in actually applying to a school, writing essays, doing admission interviews, and getting recommenders to write letters on your behalf? Start early. But don’t freak out if you get behind you ideal timeline (I bet it happens to all of us!). Make sure you have several trusted people read and give you feedback on your essay drafts – this is very important to make sure you are clearly articulating what you want to. And, have a fallback plan if one of your recommenders falls through.

What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA? I was looking for a program that would prepare me not just to act like I know what I’m doing, but to genuinely know what I’m doing. I concluded Carlson would be the best place for me to do this. Key reasons include the culture, the network and the curriculum. I was impressed by Carlson’s culture of high achievement together with a strong sense of collaboration and excitement about new ideas. I was also attracted to Carlson’s network. In the Twin Cities, Carlson’s network and reputation are unparalleled and Carlson’s national brand in strong and growing.  Finally, I determined Carlson curriculum was the best fit for me, particularly Carlson’s hands-on Enterprise program and strength in preparing students for both traditional MBA career paths and “off-road” careers. I appreciate the diversity of strengths of the Carlson program because it ensures a diversity of students and opportunities while I’m here.

What would you ultimately like to achieve before you graduate? On an institutional level, I want to help Carlson grow its leadership role in supporting sustainable and socially responsible business endeavors, both locally and globally. On a personal level, I want to build my tool kit for being a strong leader in confronting the global grand challenges that face my generation. In particular, I want to develop a clear vision for how I can leverage business acumen, together with my nonprofit and public policy background, to be a highly effective leader for long-term positive change.

  • Eagan

    Thanks for your thoughts. I agree that Carlson offers a good alternative in the Midwest region. It looks that Carlson’s peers (B-Schools at public unis) implement growth strategy successfully and attract more out of state & international applicants. Carlson is still a regional MBA program, the best B-School in MN. But the best talent will apply for other B-Schools with more opportunities. Carlson’s yield rate is very low as applicants with multiple admits choose to enrol at other schools. It looks that some other peers (UT Austin, A & M, UNC, GA Tech) have benefited from BW’s new methodology and rose in the new ranking. It is almost unfair to keep Carlson’s faculty for this small MBA class.

  • JohnAByrne

    I attribute the decline to the changes in methodology. Carlson wants to grow its MBA program and will likely do do over the next few years. This is an under appreciated gem in the business school world for sure.

  • Eagan

    Thanks for covering Carlson’s class- good job. Though it is a smaller regional program, Carlson has its market niche. Unfortunately, one doesn’t read much about Carlson in B-School articles. do you have an explanation for Carlson’s slump in the recent BusinessWeek ranking? A few years ago, Carlson was ranked in the top30, recently it is only ranked 44th. Is it Carlson related or a result of revamped ranking metrics? The class size is shrinking from previously 95 to 86. The international intake is only from India & China. Can Carlson still maintain a critical mass at this small size and attract national recruiters? It looks that Carlson undergraduate degrees is more high profile whereas its MBA is losing traction.

  • UrMoron

    I don’t know.

  • Top 300 MBA or Bust

    How soon are the Capella and Southern New Hampshire MBA class of 2017 articles coming out?

    I hear the largest feeder companies this year were dollar general and applebees.

  • JohnAByrne

    We’re expecting the HBS report next week. I would suspect that Wharton and Stanford would soon follow that one. You’ll start to see these reports come out this month and next.


    hello John, any news on the emploment reports this year? what is the reason for the delay?

  • JohnAByrne

    Both schools are featured on the homepage, one in the rotating features box and one in our must read section. The reason is simple: The Meet The Class of 2017 is a very large series and we need to publish them in different places so that the series does not dominate one place. Our Must Read section actually has a big advantage over the features well. The stories don’t disappear because they are not rotating. As a result, more readers will notice those stories because they aren’t one of five rotating in and out. It’s as simple as that. There is no bias or preference here at all.

  • HBS

    In all seriousness, why is Minnesota featured on the main page while Notre Dame is not? I am starting to get annoyed by seeing Carlson school of business everywhere at P&Q. Apparently they have a smart administration that knows how to pay off the unbiased pq staff.