“Passionate about creating a more just agriculture system that is helping to solve climate change.”
Hometown: Prescott, Wisconsin
Fun Fact About Yourself: I used to be a school bus driver!
Undergraduate School and Major: University of Minnesota – Twin Cities, Horticultural Science
Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Minnesota Crop Improvement Association (MCIA), Organic Certification Specialist
What has been your favorite part of the Twin Cities so far? What has made it such a great place to earn an MBA? I was born and raised in Wisconsin, right across the border from the Twin Cities. I love the cultural diversity, great restaurants, and friendly people. I also love that there is a strong local food and farming community committed to finding solutions to some of agriculture’s most pressing issues.
Carlson MBA spend a year in hands-on Enterprise programs for Consulting, Branding, Ventures, and Funds. Which program do you intend to enroll in? What excites most about your Enterprise program? I will be in the Funds Enterprise next semester. I came to the Carlson School without any finance background. In fact, it wasn’t even on my radar. As I have learned more about the role that finance plays in every aspect of business, I realized I wanted to learn as much as possible about it. I’m most excited to work with Susanna Gibbons, the director of the Funds Enterprise. She is passionate about sustainable finance and ESG (environmental, social, and governance) finance. I believe learning the language of finance will open up a lot of possibilities for my career path.
Aside from your classmates, experiential learning, and location, what was the key part of the Carlson MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? I was drawn to the Enterprise programs. I loved that the Carlson School promotes a lot of hands-on learning. I’m a very experiential learner; the more I do, the better I understand.
What course, club or activity have you enjoyed the most so far at Carlson? My favorite course so far has been Supply Chain. I enjoy learning about the nuts and bolts of processes and maximizing efficiency. Aside from finance, supply chain is the function that I feel most drawn to.
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I worked for a small nonprofit called the Hmong American Farmers Association (HAFA), where I was the Food Hub Director. I led a small team that procured produce from Hmong farming families and marketed their produce to individual and retail customers in the Twin Cities. When I started in the role, there had been a lot of turnover at the organization, and I basically had to reconstruct the program from scratch. I put together a new team, and we worked really hard to rebuild a program that would serve our farmers in a meaningful way. I wish I had known then what I am learning in my MBA classes!
Describe your biggest accomplishment as an MBA student so far: I recently received the Sands Family Social Venturing Fellowship. This is a grant awarded to current Carlson students who have a business idea that will benefit the local community. I have a small farm where I grow garlic, and I sell it online to local customers. My idea is to expand my existing garlic business to other garlic growers in the Twin Cities area, to help them with the business side of things so they can spend more time farming.
What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into the Carlson MBA program? My best advice is to be yourself. Highlight the things that make you unique. The business community needs people with diverse perspectives and life experiences. If you don’t have a traditional business background, it’s OK. That’s what your MBA is for! It’s your other experiences that really add value to the program, for both you and your fellow students.