More Than Cold: The True Minnesota Experience

During my visa interview, when I said that my destination for the next two years would be Minnesota, I received the most sarcastic “Good Luck” that I have ever heard in my life. To say that I had concerns about my decision to move across the world to Minnesota for my MBA would be an understatement. Today, I can honestly say that the doubt never resurfaced.

Let’s first get the question of climate out of the way. Born and raised in sunny Chennai, India, I have been used to humid temperatures ranging from 90-100 degrees Fahrenheit, so you can trust me when I tell you that the Minnesota cold is definitely not as bad as everyone makes it out to be. It’s all about learning to layer up. Moreover, with the Twin Cities’ excellent infrastructure, including heated public transit systems, skyways, and underground tunnels connecting buildings on the University campus, you will rarely spend more than five minutes in the bare cold.

Minnesota has far more amazing features that should be synonymous with the state. Here is a quick snapshot of my past year: Living in Minneapolis, I feel absolutely safe, especially as a woman and an international student, and interacting with a warm community of smart leaders and delightful military veteran classmates at the Carlson School of Management has been a highlight. The University campus is peppered with picturesque landscapes of fall trees and colored vines climbing quaint houses. The view of the Mississippi River slicing our beautiful campus in half is breathtaking. Through Carlson and its many events, I have witnessed Goldy Gopher’s crazy shenanigans and experienced a wonderful culture of theatre and arts, adventure sports, tailgating, brewery hopping, prom, and several black-tie events. In addition, I have had amazing opportunities to learn softball, ice skating, and golf. I have enjoyed my first experience of snow, first Halloween pumpkin carving, first Thanksgiving, and first Christmas with a delectable feast surrounded by radiant classmates and their families.

During my summer internship at Amazon, I was surprised when a fellow intern from another prestigious university mentioned that he knew only 40 percent of his large MBA class. I, on the other hand, not only know each of my classmates at Carlson on a professional level but also on a personal level. You never feel like you’re alone in this program, and that helps build a wonderful network of smart, talented, and inquisitive leaders for the future. In addition, the quality of Carlson’s professors is outstanding, and they are not just components of academia but are also happy and willing to discuss careers, professional development, and trending topics, even over lunch! As vice president of external relations for our Graduate Women In Business student organization, I have the amazing opportunity to support and foster an environment for strong women to develop and thrive in the world of business. I love how tight-knit the women in my class are, and you can count on them for anything—and I mean ANYTHING!

My time here at Carlson and in Minnesota has been nothing short of incredible, and it has given me great friends, lasting memories, and a solid foundation to transition into a new career in Seattle. Beyond good luck, I’d tell anyone smart enough to make the move to Minnesota, “Good choice.”

Sneha Ravindar holds an engineering degree from Anna University in Chennai, India. She spent three years with Verizon as a software developer. At the Carlson School, her area of focus is strategy and marketing. During the summer, she interned with Amazon as a senior program manager in Seattle and will be joining the company full time after graduation.

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