2022 MBA To Watch: Alexis Barber, University of Minnesota (Carlson)

Alexis Barber

University of Minnesota, Carlson School of Management

“Small but mighty!”

Hometown: Toronto, ON (Canada)

Fun fact about yourself: I moved north from Canada to the US! Minneapolis is technically further north than Toronto!

Undergraduate School and Degree: University of Wisconsin – Madison, BA Political Science and History

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Mission Animal Hospital – Director of Development

Where did you intern during the summer of 2021? Boston Consulting Group, Minneapolis

Where will you be working after graduation? Boston Consulting Group, Minneapolis – Consultant

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • Forte Fellow
  • President, Carlson 4 Community
  • Board Member, Graduate Women in Business

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? In February 2022, the Carlson 4 Community (C4C) student group organized the largest event of our MBA experience, supporting a fantastic local nonprofit organization, InnerCity Tennis. Having spent much of our first year in the virtual environment, organizing an in-person event of this scale was unfamiliar for all of us. I am so proud of the work accomplished by the team to raise almost $40,000 for our community.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? This month, I was approved as a board member at Mission Animal Hospital, the organization where I formerly worked as director of development. This is a tremendous professional achievement for me as I care deeply for the work of the organization and now can help shape Mission for the future. It’s an incredible honor and I am so excited to serve alongside the other experienced and passionate board members.

Why did you choose this business school? Having attended a large public university for my undergraduate, I wanted a different experience in my MBA. The Carlson School’s small class size in the environment of a large research institution allowed me to forge deep connections with brilliant peers and professors.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Myles Shaver’s Strategy and Corporate Responsibility classes were some of my favorites at the Carlson School! He was able to break down complex concepts in a digestible and entertaining way. It didn’t hurt that he’s a fellow Canadian!

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? The C4C Charity Auction is by far my favorite tradition as it is a perfect demonstration of Carlson’s motto, “Business as a Force for Good.” Seeing all the students, alumni, staff, and local business leaders come together to support the community was so much fun and helps build an understanding for the importance of philanthropy.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? Is it corny to say nothing? Seriously though, the friendships, network, and knowledge gained through this experience have changed my life for the better and I’d absolutely do it all over again.

What is the biggest myth about your school?

Myth: It’s too cold in Minneapolis to do anything in the winter

Reality: Yes, it’s cold, but Minnesotans make the most of it. In February, the Carlson Brands Enterprise had a great outing to Top Golf in the middle of a snowstorm!

What surprised you the most about business school?  The exposure to local Fortune 500 leaders through academics. I had no idea I would have the opportunity to take a class co-taught by the former CEO of Cargill or work with the CMO at UnitedHealth Group on a consulting project. It was an incredible way to learn business skills from those who have a deep understanding paired with endless experience.

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose? The admissions team at the Carlson School was amazing during the application process. I initially reached out to the team to learn if the full-time program was even an option for me. By connecting with them early, I had advocates on my side to provide guidance through every step of the process. I believe building a relationship with admissions was an incredible “edge”.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? In an MBA class full of admirable people, this is a challenge! One person who truly stands out, however, is Kayla McGrady. Kayla’s work with the administration and our MBA student association has pushed forward diversity, equity, and inclusion conversations in a way that I think will impact future generations of MBA students. On top of this incredible work, Kayla is a rockstar academically and professionally. Her work ethic and drive push everyone around her to be their best selves.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My father, Doug Barber, has always been one of my biggest cheerleaders professionally. When I initially brought up the idea of going back to school for my MBA, he encouraged me to “go for it.” Having a long career in the corporate world himself, he saw the value I could bring before I ever did. He has been an incredible role model.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? First, I’d have to say, start at BCG! It has been a long journey to get to this point and I am so excited to get back to work this spring to continue learning and growing.

Second, and further down the road, I’d love to have the opportunity to mentor women pursuing the MBA. I think of the incredible speakers that Carlson has brought into the program, and it would be so amazing to be that person someday.

What made Alexis such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2022?

“Alexis is a talented, motivated, strong leader who is well-liked and respected by her classmates. She is fully engaged in all aspects of student life at the Carlson School. An active organizer, she helps build a strong culture and improves performance in everything she is involved in. As part of her curriculum in experiential learning, Alexis led two very challenging client projects and exceeded her Fortune 50 client expectations in the challenging virtual COVID environment. Excelling as a teammate and leader, she demonstrated the ability to be inclusive while raising the performance of all of her classmates. She is results-oriented but exhibits empathy, intellectual curiosity, and passion that is contagious. I look forward to seeing her career success and continued growth.”

David Hopkins
Director of the Carlson Brands Enterprise


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