Meet Minnesota Carlson’s MBA Class of 2018


Sarah Johnson

Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota

Describe yourself in 15 words or less: I’m an upbeat go-getter and natural leader who thrives on challenge and constant learning.

Hometown: Minneapolis, Minnesota

Fun Fact About Yourself: After graduating high school, I spent 40 days canoeing and camping in the Arctic.

Undergraduate School and Major: Georgetown University, double majored in Marketing and Chinese

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation:

Manager, Americas Marketing at Hilton Worldwide (most recent)

Coordinator, Americas Marketing at Hilton Worldwide

Coordinator, DoubleTree by Hilton Brand Marketing at Hilton Worldwide

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: After four-and-a-half years at Hilton Worldwide, the accomplishment for which I am most proud is the strong reputation that I built at the company.  My cow-orkers described me as hard working, resourceful, confident, level headed and thoughtful and I gained the trust of Directors and VPs who sought out my recommendation due to my reputation for consistently producing quality work and leading successful strategic marketing efforts.

Looking back on your experience, what advice would you give to future business school applicants? Personally, I knew I wanted to go back to school for an MBA and I found it very helpful to start researching and visiting MBA programs the year before I planned on applying.  With regards to studying for the GMAT, I studied a little bit each day so that it was manageable on top of my full-time job.

What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA? My MBA search was all about finding a program that was the right fit.  Three aspects really stood out about Carlson and led me to choose Carlson for my MBA:

  • The people: Everyone at Carlson, from current students and admissions to deans and professors were all so welcoming and open to talking with me, even as a prospective student. It really highlighted the collaboration across all levels of the Carlson community.
  • The Carlson Enterprise Program: For three semesters, students participate in the Carlson Enterprise program where they work on real-world projects for companies across the country. Being able to apply what I’ll be learning to real-world situations right away is an amazing and unique opportunity.
  • Small class size: The full-time MBA program at Carlson has about 100 students per class, which I found particularly appealing as I was looking for a tight-knit atmosphere where I would be able to recognize, if not know, all of my classmates. Despite the small class size, Carlson’s resources are on par with much larger MBA programs, so I knew I wouldn’t be sacrificing program resources for a smaller class.

Tell us about your dream job or dream employer at this point in your life? My dream job is Chief Marketing Officer, leading a consumer brand.  I thrive when faced with a challenge and have a passion for looking at a business with a consumer lens. The way marketing blends data with creativity and human emotion is unique and makes for a career that’s exciting and ever changing. 

What would you like your business school peers to say about you after you graduate from this program? After graduation, I’d consider it quite the compliment if my business school peers were to say, “She’s a leader I want to follow.”  It speaks volumes about a person if people choose to follow them and I hope to make that type of positive, deep and lasting impact throughout my two years at Carlson School of Management.

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