2020 MBAs To Watch: Jason Stevens, University of Minnesota (Carlson)

Jason Stevens

University of Minnesota, Carlson School of Management

“Passionate about embracing every challenge and improving the life of every person I meet.”

Hometown: Scottsdale, AZ

Fun fact about yourself: I met the President of the United States at the ripe age of 5 in the Oval Office.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Arizona State University, Business Management Major and Communications Minor

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Target Corporation

Where did you intern during the summer of 2019? General Mills

Where will you be working after graduation? General Mills

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  1. MBAA VP of Academic Affairs
  2. Carlson 4 Community VP of Community Engagement
  3. Carlson Marketing Network VP
  4. Graduate Business Career Center Peer Coach
  5. Carlson Admissions Ambassador
  6. Jay Phillips Leadership Fellowship

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? As a board member of Carlson 4 Community, I’ve had the opportunity to plan Carlson’s annual charity auction with my peers for the last two years. Thanks to our generous community, these charity auctions have raised tens of thousands of dollars for local non-profits. I’m most proud of the impact we’ve made and will continue to make as we move into our work spheres.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? As a manager in call center operations for Target Corporation, I led a large team of entry-level employees. I am most proud of my efforts to develop the talent of my direct reports, many of whom have risen into leadership roles throughout the company today.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? My favorite professor was Mark Bergen, who teaches a course about Pricing Strategy. His highly engaging teaching style captured my attention and forever changed the way I think about pricing in my everyday life. He truly goes the extra mile to get to know his students.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? One of my favorite experiences was traveling to South America for a global immersion program. Our core marketing professor took a group of us to Argentina and Uruguay to learn about international markets. We had an incredible time interviewing local business leaders and also enjoyed the local cuisine. Carlson requires all MBA students to complete a global requirement, which I believe helps students develop their cultural competencies.

Why did you choose this business school? I chose Carlson because of its tight-knit community and proximity to many Fortune 500 companies. I also knew Carlson had a large alumni network at General Mills, which was my dream company from the start.

What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? Do some soul searching to understand your strengths and how you can make an impact here. It’s great to have high scores, but genuine passion goes a long way.

What is the biggest myth about your school? I entered the program hearing that Carlson was a “regional” school, and thus had limited opportunities outside of the Midwest. However, I now find that many of my peers are going to work for incredible companies outside the Midwest. Much of this is a result of Carlson’s strong career services center and vast alumni network.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? I would have started meeting my classmates prior to the first semester. Creating these relationships early on would have made the transition to business school easier and much more enjoyable, but everything turned out just fine!

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? I most admire Amy Hromatka, because she is one of the hardest-working people I know, and she deeply cares about others. As MBAA President, her leadership style and intelligence inspired me to push harder for student initiatives. She truly embodies the Carlson spirit.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My step-father, a turnaround CEO, was an incredible role model for me. I saw how an MBA propelled his career and brought him more success than he could ever imagine. He passed away last summer in a tragic accident, but I’ll never forget his sharp intellect and integrity.  I owe much of what I’ve accomplished to his support.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? I’d like to work abroad for a few years and someday run my own marketing consultancy firm.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? Someone who was passionate, not afraid to try something new, and cared about helping others.

Hobbies? Playing guitar, running, and driving sports cars.

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

“It has been my great pleasure to work closely with Jason on a number of things during his time in the MBA program. His leadership in the program had a meaningful impact on improving the experience of his fellow students and improving the broader community. He approaches every situation with empathy and quiet confidence. This allows him to build trust across groups and convene productive dialogue about issues that could be controversial. For example, as VP of Academic Affairs, he did an excellent job of facilitating curricular feedback from classmates to the faculty around opportunities to enhance inclusive and more integrative teaching techniques. The faculty took the advice to heart and we have heard positive feedback from the new class.  Another example is the active role he plays as a leader for our “Carlson for Community” (C4C) club. Jason played a central role with this year’s targeted charity as their key contact and facilitator for our annual MBA Charity Auction. The event typically raises $30,000 to $40,000 for its targeted charity. Beyond these examples, he does so many other small and supportive things that make a community strong that it is hard to list them. Jason embodies what we want a Carlson MBA to represent and our “Business as a Force for Good” vision.”


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