Meet Minnesota Carlson’s MBA Class of 2018


Joseph Clinton Collins

Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota

Describe yourself in 15 words or less: Multilingual, multiethnic American veteran seeking to inspire and serve

Hometown: Minneapolis, MN

Fun Fact About Yourself: Mnemonics are my jam. That being said I can rap all 206 bones in the human body. Also, as a side project, I am working on a series of novels in the epic adventure genre.

Undergraduate School and Major: University of Arizona, Middle-Eastern and North African Studies, B.A. Defense Language Institute, Arabic, A.A.

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation: Before graduation, I was a client services manager for Outsell LLC for a little over a year and an Arabic, French, Spanish and Italian linguist for the US Navy where I served in many functions such as data analyst, adjunct instructor, and linguist supervisor. 

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Advancement has always been a focal point for me. While I have been able to serve in some high-level roles before I even finished my bachelor’s degree, I think my biggest accomplishment is the linguists and cryptologists I tutored and trained while in the Navy. Many of these men and women have gone on to be extremely talented linguists or gone on to do other sophisticated functions inside and outside of the intelligence community. In a job that had a high attrition rate to even get through the initial training and in an era where many veterans are having a hard time transitioning to the civilian sector, being able to make a tangible improvement in people’s lives is what I am the most proud of.

Looking back on your experience, what advice would you give to future business school applicants? First, I would say that there is never any time like the present. Initially, I iwas not going to apply right away because I didn’t feel sufficiently prepared for the GMAT and was taking 18 credits in my undergrad program that semester.. My undergraduate advisor at the time, Monica Barrera, gave me strong encouragement and support to call all the programs that I was interested in and to ask as many questions as I could. Without this input, I would not have called Carlson and would not of been invited to attend their Perspectives event or won my first case competition and thus my initial scholarship to the school.

Second, unless you are going for a top ten school, seriously consider where the school is located, as that is where their ties will be the strongest. A way to gauge this is by going to the school’s LinkedIn page to check out their alumni network and where those alumni are based.

Third, prioritize what is important for YOU. Ultimately, when I thought about what had worked well for me in my personal academic experience it was two things: financial security and a smaller program. In my first attempt at a bachelor’s degree, severe economic instability did not give me the opportunity to focus solely on school as I was working almost full-time as well as attending school full-time. Alternately, while attending the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California and the MENAS program at the University of Arizona on the GI Bill, I did not have this problem. Also, the small program sizes at both DLI and the U of A allowed me to easily interface with my instructors and have meaningful interactions with the staff.

What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA? It was important to me to go to a program in a place that I could see myself living, that was highly ranked, had small class sizes, and that was financially feasible as I’d recently gotten engaged. The Carlson SOM staff was accommodating, attentive, and supportive through every aspect of the recruiting process. Before I had even applied, the professors had given me real face time to be counseled on their fields of expertise and the admissions staff demonstrated their true desire to have a relationship with MBA candidates who are ready to put in the work.

Tell us about your dream job or dream employer at this point in your life? I’ve always had an interest in public health and nutrition. That being the case, my dream employers specialize in that field and a few are headquartered right here in the Twin Cities: Nutraclick, Limeade, Ecolab, REI, Nature’s Path, WhiteWave Foods and General Mills. I’ve always said financial health is only second to physical health and with a job at any of these companies I would be able to help people, either directly or indirectly, when it comes to both!

What would you like your business school peers to say about you after you graduate from this program? Coming from a liberal arts background, I know that there will be business, IT and mathematics majors in our program with a dearth of knowledge that I will only begin to learn about during my time at Carlson. What is important to me is, while maybe not being the smartest guy in the room, to be the hardest worker. It is also very important to me as a native of Minneapolis to be an ambassador to my classmates that demonstrates the character and values of the Twin Cities, as well as an ambassador and conduit of outreach for the University of Minnesota to the surrounding community.

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