The Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota was one of our biggest positive movers in this year’s ranking. Carlson surged nine spots from last year to land at No. 14 this year, thanks to some strong admissions standards.
For students entering this fall, Carlson had an acceptance rate of 29.32% and an average SAT score of 1369. Nearly 55% of entering freshmen came from the top 10th percentile of their high school class.
Despite the COVID-19 economic downturn, 98.08% of 2020 Carlson grads still managed to secure a full-time position by graduation — an impressive stat that was second among all 93 ranked schools this year and ahead of many top 10 B-schools like New York University, Georgetown, the University of Michigan, and Wharton. Much of that success likely comes down to the “in-action” learning approach at Carlson, its unique location, and the global business component.
Carlson students hit the ground running in their first-year with two management courses. In their second year, students go into the Immersion Core, a set of four courses that teach how business works cross-functionally in the fields of finance, marketing, operations, and strategy.
Carlson students can choose from 10 majors including: Accounting, Entrepreneurial Management, Finance, Finance & Risk Management Insurance, Human Resources and Industrial Relations, International Business, Management Information Systems – MIS, Marketing, Public & Nonprofit Management, and Supply Chain and Operations Management.
What makes the Carlson education stand out is the “in-action” approach that many courses offer. Those courses provide students with hands-on, real-world experiential learning experiences to apply their studies and bolster their skills.
“I took a marketing analytics class that had a different simulation every week,” one 2018 alumni told us. “It helped me hone in on my problem solving skills and ability to think quickly on my feet.”
Another example of “in-action” learning is the Enterprise Program, which brings together MBA and select undergraduate students to address real-world client challenges. Students can choose from four different Enterprise Programs including Brand Enterprise, Consulting Enterprise, Funds Enterprise, and Ventures Enterprise.
“The Enterprise Program in particular gave unique access to staff, faculty, graduate students, and professionals that enriched my undergraduate experience that I otherwise would not have had,” one 2018 alumni said.
“I participated in the Carlson Funds Enterprise where we managed, alongside a faculty director and fellow students, a small and mid-cap growth equity portfolio of ~$20 million,” another 2018 alumni told us.
A RICH BUSINESS HUB
Carlson leverages its unique location of being in a major metropolitan area to offer its students the signature “in-action” learning experiences. Minneapolis is home to 16 Fortune 500 companies, diverse industries, a robust entrepreneurial and non-profit community, and a variety of small, medium, and large businesses. And Carlson students have access to this rich hub of business through their courses and initiatives such as the Enterprise Program.
“I worked with a small, start-up company as part of a capstone project,” one 2018 alumni told us. “We got to tackle a real-world issue that management was facing. They even offered us an internship opportunity post graduation.
“The Consulting Enterprise introduced me to actual Fortune 500 clients and provided me with the opportunity to advise them on key strategy cases (go-to-market strategy, pricing strategy, etc.),” another 2018 alumni said.
Additionally, Carlson ensures every student utilizes its expansive business network through the required “Business Communications” course, where students participate in a consulting project with corporate partners such as Deloitte and Target.
Business is a global industry. To ensure all students are prepared for that reality, Carlson requires all undergraduates to complete an international experience. From Brazil to Cambodia, Carlson students have access to a variety of destinations where they can immerse themselves in unique cultures and learn about business from a multi-view perspective.
“I participated in a Behavioral Finance global immersion trip that allowed me to understand the topic from both a local and global market perspective,” one 2018 alumni told us. “The ability to engage with various professionals internationally was a unique and eye-opening experience into the world of behavioral finance and the Efficient-Market Hypothesis.”
“I studied abroad in Brussels, the capital of the EU,” another 2018 alumni told us. “It gave me immeasurable benefits by exposing me to how non-US businesses operate, and specifically for my marketing degree, how to build an international strategy and communicate to very different markets around the globe.”
The “in-action” learning approach at Carlson coupled with the school’s rich local business hub and international experience requirement ensure that its students are set up for success. If you prefer learning by doing and traveling the world to learn about business, then Carlson is the right match for you.
“I spent a semester abroad in Kenya and the experience was so unique because I spent time both studying in the classroom, and interning with an organization in a more rural area, all while living with host families. The Carlson School has a requirement for all students to complete a global immersion program, and I credit that with pushing me to seriously consider study abroad programs and find the most engaging experience for myself.”
“Corporate sustainability trip to Costa Rica exposed me to how businesses like Starbucks and dole operate and the resources it takes to grow bananas and coffee while keeping the environment healthy and intact for future generations. It was unique in that not many trips go to Costa Rica and not many students get to experience going to coffee and banana farms of small and large sizes. It makes you realize the work that goes into the simple groceries or your cup of coffee from your local cafe.”
“For our MIS Capstone, we were able to work with a local business in the Minneapolis area to help improve a real process and increase their revenue. This felt very similar to the client projects and engagements I encounter in my job today. It made everything I had learned to that point applicable.”
Where The Class of 2020 Went To Work:
UnitedHealth Group – 34
KPMG – 25
Target – 22
Deloitte – 17
General Mills – 16
PwC – 16
EY – 15
Cargill – 12
Wells Fargo – 11
3M – 10