2020 Best & Brightest MBAs: Amy Hromatka, University of Minnesota (Carlson)

Amy Hromatka

University of Minnesota, Carlson School of Management

Marketing-focused MBA who likes seeing new places, petting big dogs, and learning about stuff.”

Hometown: Minneapolis, MN

Fun fact about yourself: I wrote my college thesis about Disneyland Paris.

Undergraduate School and Degree:  University of Notre Dame – Bachelors of Arts in American Studies

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? General Mills – Trade Planning Manager, Club Channel (Sales)

Where did you intern during the summer of 2019? American Airlines – Commercial Strategy Intern, Customer Insights & Loyalty, Dallas, TX

Where will you be working after graduation? General Mills – Associate Brand Manager

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • MBA Association – President: Set priorities and strategies for Full-Time MBA student government; manage and coordinate activities of the 13-member executive board; allocate $75,000+ budget across 24 student-run clubs and organizations; advocate for FTMBA student needs and concerns within the Carlson School; liaise with Professional Student Government and other University of Minnesota groups.
  • Graduate Business Career Center Peer Coach: Assist Carlson School peers (MBA, HRIR, MSBA, MSF candidates) with behavioral interview preparation; review cover letters and resumes; support marketing case interview preparation.
  • Graduate Assistant to Phil Miller, Assistant Dean of MBA Programs: Manage in-depth study of Part-Time and Online MBA student experience to articulate opportunities for program improvement across Academics, Student Life, and Career Services; map Full-Time MBA journey to key learning goals and objectives; create a future-state plan for a suite of Carlson School online course offerings.
  • Partners Club – President/Founder: Rejuvenated and led Partners Club from 2016-2020, first as a partner when my husband was in the FTMBA program, and then as a student.
  • Health & Wellness Club Board Member
  • Forte Fellow
  • Nominated for University of Minnesota President’s Student Leadership and Service Award

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? Early in my first-semester Marketing class, I noticed that a large number of my classmates were expressing interest in the Consumer Packaged Goods industry. Minnesota is home to quite a few CPG companies, as well as retailers like Target, so I started working with my Marketing professor to organize a few extracurricular outings for interested folks. After a particularly well-attended store walk at a local co-op, I began brainstorming what a syllabus for a CPG 101 class could look like. I attended Expo West, the largest natural-foods show in the world, through the MBArk program in March of my first year and hosted a debrief with my CPG-focused classmates when I returned. All of this interest solidified the launch of a brand new course on the packaged-goods industry that will be kicking off this spring! I’m so proud that I was able to identify this need and convert my class’s enthusiasm into something tangible that will enhance our learning and give us practical skills and industry insight to take into our careers.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? Early in my career at General Mills, I was promoted to be the first-ever dedicated salesperson calling on Walmart.com. In 2014, the e-commerce business was really small, but I had a ton of fun managing this rapidly growing channel. In a spark of creativity, I worked with the brick-and-mortar sales team and the cereal operating unit to get the first placement of seasonal Monsters cereals (Count Chocula, Boo Berry, Franken Berry) on Walmart.com! This success led to additional future business in seasonal baking items like holiday cookies and other rotational cereals like special edition Lucky Charms.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? I have had a lot of fun attending the Carlson MBA tailgates during football season in the fall. It’s a fun gathering for Full-Time and Part-Time MBAs along with alumni, partners, and family members. I started attending the tailgates as a partner when my husband was in the FTMBA program and it was such a nice way to get to know his classmates and make friends. Now as a student, I’ve enjoyed meeting my classmates’ children (and sometimes parents!) in a non-school setting. Plus we get to enjoy the beautiful Minnesota fall weather and cheer for the Gophers!

Why did you choose this business school? I’d set down roots in Minnesota before starting business school, and I knew I wanted to stay in the Twin Cities. The extensive Carlson School network in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area was a big selling point for me.

What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? Have a clear understanding of what you are looking to get out of business school and why Carlson is the place that will help you achieve your goals. The sooner you’re able to articulate what you want to do, the easier it will be for you to make a plan and find the resources you need!

What is the biggest myth about your school? People think Minnesota winters are miserable, but we do a great job of embracing the seasons! Carlson’s Outdoor Adventure Club plans fun events like ice fishing so people can try something new in the winter, and the Partners Club hosts an outing to the Luminary Loppet, a classic Minneapolis event where people walk on lakes covered with hundreds of ice luminaries and sculptures.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? I never did any case competitions and I think I would have enjoyed the chance to crunch through a problem in a short period of time with a team of classmates. This is a quintessential MBA experience that I just never made time for.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Liz O’Brien – Liz has blazed a unique trail as a Human Resources-focused MBA at the Carlson School, and she’s been really successful doing this because she had clear goals for herself as she started school. She has s also been a champion for women in the program; Liz co-chaired Carlson’s Women’s Leadership Conference in 2019 and was on the leadership team for the Graduate Women in Business Club. I admire her ability to thoughtfully facilitate meetings and make strategic plans for big initiatives, which I’ve seen in action as she has chaired our class gift campaign.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My husband, Ben: After watching him go through the Carlson FTMBA program, I decided that an MBA would be a great fit for me and that Carlson was the place to do it. He’s been behind me 100%! I’ve loved having a built-in study buddy to discuss concepts with and cement my learning. He’s pushed me to take advantage of all sorts of cool MBA opportunities, even when it meant being separated by a thousand miles for my summer internship. We pursued different focus areas during our MBAs, so our elective courses haven’t overlapped much, but I’m so grateful that we have this shared experience.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? In the short term, I want to manage people and develop talent. In the longer term, I’d love to run a billion-dollar brand!

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? I’d be happy if people remembered me as someone who was prepared, thoughtful, capable, and kind.

Hobbies? When I’m not working, I’m planning my next trip, searching for the best pizza in Minneapolis, trying a trendy workout class, listening to just about anything in podcast form, or teaching my Bernese Mountain Dog Ernie some new tricks!

What made Amy such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2020?

“In short, Amy gets things done. In the first semester of her first year, she noted a gap in the marketing department curriculum – a class that she felt she needed to make her (and her classmates) MBA more complete and give them a competitive edge in the marketplace. In addition to the many other things that Amy has accomplished in her two years here, she motivated faculty, lobbied the department and program, reached out to alumni, ran test classes, collected demand data and got the class on the books for her final semester.”

Seth Werner
Senior Lecturer, Marketing


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