“Toughened from military service, cultivated through failures, nurtured by great leadership, and grounded by family.”
Hometown: Oscoda, Michigan
Fun Fact About Yourself: I’ve sung karaoke in seven countries; received mixed reviews.
Undergraduate School and Major: Northern Michigan University, B.S. in Management
Most Recent Employer and Job Title: U.S. Army (current), Military Intelligence Major
What has been your favorite part of the Twin Cities so far? What has made it such a great place to earn an MBA? The Minneapolis/St. Paul area is unlike anywhere else I have lived before and is undoubtedly my favorite Midwest metropolis. In the spring, summer, and fall, there are greenways and bike paths in every direction along and across the Mississippi River. In the winter, there is a skyway system where you can basically get from one end of the city to the other without facing the elements. The city has all of the major sports, as well as theaters, parks, breweries, and cuisine. The Carlson School is on the West Bank of the Mississippi on the edge of the city so you can easily live downtown and walk or take the light rail to class. With so much to do, the city makes it easier to balance study and leisure.
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 chose the Funds enterprise, primarily because I believe it is my weakness and I want to challenge and improve myself at the highest return on investment. The great thing about the Funds Enterprise is that you are managing a real business with a massive portfolio and with actual investors to answer to. I cannot think of a better motivator to learn than when the stakes are real!
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? Being an Army veteran, the large veteran presence at the Carlson School was an important factor in my decision-making. While one of the things I hope to get from this experience is a non-military approach to problem-solving, having an immediate network of veterans with common experiences is helpful in navigating this new environment.
What course, club or activity have you enjoyed the most so far at Carlson? I have enjoyed serving as a board member in the Sports and Business Club. The primary responsibility, but one that is also the most fun, is planning and managing the Carlson School Football Tailgating events. Coming back from COVID-19 restrictions, this was a great opportunity to bring people together in a relaxed environment over some good food and adult beverages. Additionally, the Sports and Business Club is planning some group events for local professional sporting events as well as some guest speakers in the realms of sports management.
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I have served in positions of high responsibility where many stakeholders depended on my performance for organizational success. That being said, my greatest accomplishment is the growing list of young soldiers and officers whom I have had the honor of mentoring. The Army is one of those jobs where you are essentially training and developing your own replacements, and one of your primary goals is to foster an organizational culture of learning. I can honestly say that there are dozens of previous subordinates that I am certain will be more successful than me, and my small part in their development is my greatest accomplishment.
Describe your biggest accomplishment as an MBA student so far: Since I obtained my undergraduate degree back in 2007 and have primarily worked in a managerial role, I was concerned about my ability to work with quantitative topics. During the first quarter, we started heavy on quantitative classes such as Accounting, Statistics, and Economics. I am very proud to say that I obtained a 3.7 in the first quarter, assisted by some excellent instruction.
What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into the Carlson MBA program? Be a polished version of yourself, but be yourself. Reflect on some of the key responsibilities or leadership challenges that you have experienced and learn how to describe them in the STAR format (Situation, Task, Action, Result). This is still your story, but preparing and practicing in this way will allow for better communication of your story in a shared format. Think back through your experience and identify different types of challenges you faced, so that when you are asked, you can respond from a mental rolodex.