Meet Minnesota Carlson’s MBA Class Of 2021

GENEROUS, NICE…AND AMBITIOUS

What does Thu Ha, a strategic analyst from Minneapolis, do for fun? She co-owns a food truck that doubles as a social enterprise. “We are a group of like-minded friends and family who enjoy small business ventures and investing in our community. When we started out four years ago, we agreed to annually donate at least five percent of our profits and have done so; our funds have helped impoverished people in rural Vietnam with basic necessities such as rice and medicine.”

Sure enough, “generous” is one word used by class members to describe their peers. Hunter Brocato even lists how classmates went above-and-beyond to help him during his first week – with good deeds ranging from walking him across campus to get a student ID to spending hours answering his queries on international business. Davi Gordon takes it a step further, calling her classmates “the most supportive and selfless people I have ever met.” Or, in the words of Han Zhou, Carlson MBAs are “genuinely nice.”

“I know people always make fun of “Minnesota nice,” but my classmates (and Carlson School alumni) are just the best people I could ever expect. Without them, I wouldn’t have been able to fit in this new country, new culture, and new school so quickly and so well. I am truly grateful to meet these incredible people at Carlson!”

Just don’t think of them as pushovers. For Matteo Panero, the defining quality of the Class of 2021 has been “ambition.” “The class is one of the most diverse groups I have ever worked with: Each student comes with a unique professional background and life experience. Students are determined to get involved in discussions, and they constantly support each other, hence contributing to the stimulating learning environment of the school. The combination of their genuine passion and desire for success will make my experience at the Carlson School an incredible journey.”

The Carlson School of Management

BIG JUMP IN WOMEN

Like its peers, Minnesota Carlson suffered through a downturn during the 2018-2019 application cycle, receiving 170 fewer applications than the year before. By the same token, the number of students dropped from 92 to 74 (a number more in line with the 77 students who graduated in 2019). At the same time, average GMATs also slipped from 682 to 675, with average GPA holding steady at 3.42. That said, the Class of 2021 is more diverse than previous years. The percentage of women in the class surged from 31.5% to 37.8%, with the percentage of minorities also climbing by 7.2%. Still, it is slightly less international, with just 17.6% of the class hailing from overseas. Overall, 65% of the class hails from the Midwest.

Academically, undergraduate business majors make up the largest portion of the class at 28%. Engineering and science and math majors each account for 23% of the class. At 15%, social science is the only other major with double-digit representation. In terms of the most recent job function, the class is deeply segmented. Management composes 12.16% of the class, followed by business and financial operations (9.46%), consulting (9.46%), and sales (5.41%). The arts, engineering, education, healthcare, human resources, legal, life sciences, and purchasing sectors are also represented in the Class of 2021.

The employers of Carlson graduates are equally diverse. Among the Class of 2019, the biggest consumers of full-time MBA talent were Amazon, Cargill, Deloitte Consulting, General Mills, Land O’Lakes, Medtronic, US Bank, and the UnitedHealth Group. 93% of the class had received job offers within three months of graduation – including 100% of those with U.S. work authorization. Consider that to be a reflection on Carlson’s career center, which helped facilitate over three-quarters of these offers. Not surprisingly, the center ranks 12th and 13th in the world according to The Economist and The Financial Times respectively. Another benefit? Carlson’s 55,000 alumni ranked as the best for “Breadth of Alumni Network” (aka high ratio of alumni-to-students).

Philip Miller

Overall, the graduating class’ mean base salary came to $114,065, which was accompanied by a mean signing bonus of $25,138. Based on 2019 Forbes data, new grads can expect to see a $54,400 pay increase within five years of graduation. The number that sticks out most? The largest percentage of the class – 20% – entered healthcare.

AN INTERVIEW WITH PHIL MILLER

What else is happening at Carlson in the future? P&Q recently posed some questions to Phil Miller, the school’s assistant dean for the MBA and MS programs. Here are some of this thoughts…

P&Q: What are the most exciting new developments in your program?

PM: “One of the most exciting developments at the Carlson School is our Analytics course pathway. We have a market-leading Business Analytics Master’s and, starting in 2020, we have a set of courses available to our MBAs interested in diving more deeply into the emerging field of Business Analytics.”

P&Q: What are the biggest advantages to earning your MBA in the Twin Cities?

PM: “The Twin Cities is a dynamic and diverse business community. Minneapolis-St. Paul has one of the most diverse sets of industry representations and the highest per capita density of Fortune 500 headquarters in the nation. This infuses deep experiential learning as well as amazing network and alumni connections that enrich a student’s business education.”

P&Q: What is the most underrated part of your program that you wish prospective students knew more about?  

PM: “The excellence of our Entrepreneurship offerings is something occasionally overlooked. The Carlson School has broad and deep course offerings and networks that can catapult any student interested in developing their own venture or finding others to join an early-stage venture. Our Holmes Center for Entrepreneurship leads the largest statewide entrepreneurial competition in the nation and has developed and delivers innovative training for entrepreneurs across the University of Minnesota. Our START UP class integrates entrepreneurs from across campus and in many ways serves as the focal point of the entrepreneurial activities in the Twin Cities.”

AN ENTREPRENEURIAL DARLING

John Stavig, program director of the Holmes Center

John Stavig, program director of the Holmes Center at the Carlson School of Management

When it comes to entrepreneurship, Minnesota Carlson can hardly be considered underrated anymore. In October, the school ranked 8th in P&Q’s inaugural ‘Best MBA Programs For Entrepreneurship ranking – which weighed 10 metrics including elective offerings, accelerator space, graduates launching startups, and published research in the field. The Holmes Center For Entrepreneurship serves as ground zero for startup offerings at the school. The center’s programming includes coaching, clubs, internships, speakers, and fellowships – all designed to prepare students to launch their own venture and plug into the larger Twin Cities startup ecosystem. The center’s mentorship program is able to pair students up with 260 area leaders. It also includes the Grow North accelerator for food and agricultural startups along with STEM support to help entrepreneurs commercialize tech-oriented ideas. Holmes’ centerpiece, however, is its Minnesota Cup. Launched in 2005, this competition has drawn 15,000 entrepreneurs and generated $400 million in funding for participating ventures.

“A lot of what we do in the Holmes Center is connecting our students to programs that we run and alumni in the business community,” explains John Stavi, the Holmes Center’s program director, in a 2019 interview with P&Q. “So if you look at the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the Twin Cities, it’s changed dramatically in the last decade with the advent of a number of programs including some of the ones we’re involved in and ones our alumni are leading. There are a lot more accelerator programs and competitions and startup week-type events. The profile of entrepreneurship in the Twin Cities has grown quite a bit and we’re proud that the university has played a big role in that.”

Jake Schneeman, a 2019 Carlson MBA, is one such entrepreneur. He launched his startup, Phraze, three months before graduation. Designed to automate medical notes, Phraze has already attracted $300,000 in funding. For him, Carlson’s curriculum and support enabled him to master the medical, technical, and strategic aspects around launching his venture.

 

Go to Page 3 for a dozen student profiles from the Class of 2021.

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