Meet the MBA Class of 2024: Celina Her, University of Minnesota (Carlson)

Celina Her

University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management

“Chicken wing enthusiast and determined to leave her mark in the world.”

Hometown: Saint Paul, Minnesota

Fun Fact About Yourself: Former President Jimmy Carter offered his glass of buttermilk to me, and I took a sip.

Undergraduate School and Major: University of Wisconsin-Madison, B.S. in Community & Nonprofit Leadership and in Legal Studies.

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Wallin Education Partners, Development Associate

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 the Twin Cities, and there is no community like this one. The Twin Cities is a great ecosystem of corporations and nonprofits that operate in a mutually supportive environment founded on a mindset of abundance. I believe this is what makes the Twin Cities such a great place to earn an MBA.

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?

The hands-on learning curriculum through the Enterprise programs was one of the key factors that led to my decision in choosing the Carlson School. I learn best through practice, and there is no shortage of opportunities at Carlson to gain real-world experience. I will be enrolling in the Brands Enterprise. I am really excited to explore how companies create ideas that are powerful enough to inspire people to take action.

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? The Carlson School’s Business Career Center was a big draw for me. I am transitioning from the nonprofit space to the corporate space, and it was crucial for me to do my MBA somewhere with a robust career center that not only had a track record of helping students secure jobs, but also cared about my well-being. So far, the career center has been living up to the high expectations that I came in with regarding resume and cover letter help, positioning, and interview prep.

What course, club or activity have you enjoyed the most so far at Carlson? One course that I have really enjoyed is Supply Chain & Operations taught by Professor Karthik Natarajan. Professor Karthik is not only very knowledgeable, but also passionate about this subject – and it shows in the way that he explains the concepts and ties them to real-world examples. I have really appreciated his use of global and diverse cases and in-class examples in order to shine light on what is happening in the world beyond U.S. borders. As someone who is getting an MBA to use business as a force for good, it is always interesting and exciting to see and learn what other companies around the world are doing successfully and/or not so successfully.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: My biggest career accomplishment so far is when I helped my workplace transition into a new database. Before this, my workplace was operating in four different databases that did not talk to one another, which made the flow of information really challenging. So, imagine the relief and excitement of having one centralized location, where we could see how all of our data related to one another and grab reports that we could have never imagined. It was really cool!

But because I led my team’s transition into this new database, I had to learn a new set of skills that I am forever grateful to have now. The one skill that I geek over is VLOOKUP, and if you don’t know what this is, LEARN IT because it will change your life.

Describe your biggest accomplishment as an MBA student so far: I have not achieved anything of that scale that I would consider an accomplishment as an MBA student yet. If I had to choose something, I would say still being here at Carlson and showing up to my courses, group projects, and club meetingsis an accomplishment! My first semester as a first-year, full-time MBA student was hard. There were many “wtf I should’ve just stuck to underwater basket weaving” moments. I am not trying to scare anyone from getting their MBA, and instead let you know it is OK to feel like everything is falling apart. I have since learned I don’t need to have my shit together in the first semester because eventually it will come together and you’ll find your footing like I did.

What has been your best memory as an MBA so far? My best memory yet is sharing a Friendsgiving meal with all the first-year and second-year MBA peers. I am so thankful to my peers for an unforgettable MBA journey so far and all those before me that paved the way.

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into the Carlson MBA program?  Just be you and own it proudly. You are probably thinking to yourself, “This girl doesn’t know what she’s talking about” or “It’s harder said than done” – and you are possibly right. However, I truly believe that everyone is unique and has a differentiating characteristic or experience that sets them apart from the rest of the pack. In business school, it is very easy to fall into the trap of reducing yourself to being anything but extraordinary when you are so much more than extraordinary. So don’t fall into this trap and own who you are!


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