2018 Best & Brightest: Abigail Doeksen, University of Minnesota (Carlson)

Abigail Doeksen

University of Minnesota (Carlson)

“I’m a daydreaming runner, audiobook enthusiast, and airport fanatic, who is calm but passionate.”

Fun fact about yourself: I had a British accent until I was seven. (HMo, a Carlson Finance professor, nicknamed me Downtown Abbey for this reason)

Hometown: Stillwater, Minnesota/Ascot, United Kingdom

High School: Stillwater Area High School

Majors: Finance & Accounting

Favorite Business Course: Federal Income Tax (Tammy Naples), Financial Statement Analysis(Frank Beil)

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College: 

Extracurricular Activities/Community Work

  • Community Advisor in the Carlson Freshman Learning Community – Live in Advisor
  • Division 1 Women’s Rowing – Silver Medalist at the 2016 Big 10 Championships
  • Croix Swim Club – Youth Assistant Swim Coach
  • Investment & Finance Organization – Vice President
  • Student Accounting & Finance Association – Chief Financial Officer
  • University Honors Student Association – Finance Chair
  • University of Minnesota RecWell Advisory Board – Housing Representative
  • Carlson GLOBE -­‐ International Student Buddy
  • Becker CPA Exam Review – Carlson Campus Representative
  • Carlson Tracing the Global Supply Chain Program in Shanghai, China
  • Carlson International Behavioral Finance Program in London, England

Leadership Programs

  • McKinsey Women’s Leadership Summit (One of 30 in the Program)
  • TeachforAmerica Alternative Spring Break (One of 36 Selected out of 800 applicants)
  • Ernst & Young Emerging Leaders Program


  • Forte Fellow (Forte Fellow Scholarship Recipient for Yale’s MBA Program)
  • Carlson School of Management Campbell Scholarship
  • American Association of University Women Scholar
  • Anderson Windows Scholarship
  • American Swedish Institute (MN Chapter) Scholarship
  • Carlson Sophomore of the Year Finalist
  • Carlson Freshman of the Year Finalist
  • Dean’s List (All Semesters)
  • Silver Medalist at the 2016 D1 Big 10 Women’s Rowing Championships

Where have you interned during your college career?

  • Microsoft (Seattle, WA) -­‐ Finance Intern Summer 2018*
  • Ernst & Young (Minneapolis, MN) -­‐ Tax Intern
  • Deloitte (Minneapolis, MN) -­‐ Discovery Intern
  • CliftonLarsonAllen (Minneapolis, MN) -­‐ Tax Intern

Where will you be working after graduation?

  • This fall I’m attending the Yale School of Management in New Haven, CT as part of the Yale Silver Scholars Silver Scholars is a Direct Admit MBA program for approximately 15 students at Yale’s business school.
  • *I’ll be working at Microsoft in Seattle this summer, before starting at Yale in the fall.

Who is your favorite professor? My favorite instructor is Rick Nelson. I have taken multiple classes with Professor Nelson, and he is one of the reasons why I knew Finance was the right major for me. The classes I took with him were smaller, and each of his lectures had discussion elements, which I enjoyed. Also, I have gone to Professor Nelson’s office hours on multiple occasions and we have discussed everything from Finance concepts to books.

What did you enjoy most about your business school? I love Carlson for many reasons, but one of the main reasons that comes to mind is the study abroad requirement. I took two Carlson Global Institute International courses (One in Shanghai, and one in London) and they were my favorite undergrad experiences. Carlson organizes these international programs so you get to attend a lot of site visits and learn about not only the culture in other countries, but also you learn what it’s like to work there.

What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business? The biggest lesson I gained was learning about the global impact of business. Prior to Carlson I didn’t understand things such as, how trade with less developed countries promotes economic development, or the extent of companies’ social responsibility campaigns and the impact that they have on individuals all over the world. Carlson expanded my worldview, and also taught me the power business can have as a force of good.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? If you are a student who is considering attending business school, I would reach out and talk to some current students about what the experience at business school is like, and the types of jobs and internships graduates do. Talking to business school students or alumni is the best way to figure out if Business School is the right fit for you!

If you are currently in Business School and you’re trying to decide on a major, my advice would be this: if you are even slightly interested in a major, I would attend a student group meeting related to that major, go to a professor’s office hours, or reach out to some alumni who are working in that major related field. Don’t be afraid to be a beginner in something, whatever it may be, and approach every experience with a growth mindset mentality! There are so many opportunities in business school to try new things, and I would recommend trying as much as possible because it helps you figure out what you’re truly passionate about.

“If I didn’t major in business, I would be majoring in or studying…World History and Computer Science because I love non-fiction and I am fascinated by the growth of tech companies.”

What has surprised you most about majoring in business? The most surprising thing about majoring in business for me was how much business students work in teams on a day-to-day basis. Before entering Carlson, I hadn’t worked on a lot of group projects. I loved Carlson’s team-based learning approach with group work in every class because I met some of my best friends through Carlson group projects.

When I was a junior and senior in high school, I had the opportunity to serve on a board of a non-profit swim club in Minnesota. On that board, there were amazing business professionals whom I was always amazed by,. I wanted to be like them. I also had a couple family members who went to business school. Going into undergrad, I knew applying to business school was the right choice for me.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? Getting accepted into the Yale School of Management’s Silver Scholars Program with a merit Scholarship. The first time I read the online brochure about the program, I immediately thought that the Silver Scholars Program was perfect for me. Then, I read online about the low single digit acceptance rate and I did not think I would get in. I was in pure shock the day I found out I was accepted. My Carlson experiences are what built my Yale application. For me, it was  not specifically getting into Yale that felt like the achievement, but rather getting in was like this celebration of everything I was able to take part in during my undergrad career.

If you were a dean for a day, what one thing would you change about the business school?     If I were dean for a day I would plan additional fun events for students to connect within the Carlson building. Last semester Carlson had Wellness week, where there were things like free meditation classes, and llamas in the Carlson atrium. I loved the overall Carlson atmosphere during the entire Wellness Week and I would love to implement additional wellness weeks like that.”
Which classmate do you most admire?

Paola Mita. She is a freshman at Carlson who is one of the most driven people I have ever met. I am very impressed with all she has been able to do in her first semester, and everything she has been able to accomplish as a freshman. Almost everyone I speak to at Carlson knows who Paola is, and I admire her ability to make an impact at our school so quickly after arriving on     campus. I love our underclassman at Carlson, like Paola, because, it is so fun learning about all the things they are doing to create an even stronger Carlson Community.
Who would you most want to thank for your success?

I would want to thank everyone who was a mentor or parental figure in my life! I am so grateful for the many role models I’ve had both within my family and through school. I would want to thank the coaches who helped raise me, and who taught me about discipline and focus. Also, I would like to thank the Carlson faculty and staff for helping me realize what I am capable of, and for being great resources throughout my entire undergraduate career.
What would your theme song be?

“Holocene” by Bon Iver because it is my favorite song. It is a very calming song. It seems sad at first, but it’s actually a song about self-reflection, redemption, and growth and I love those messages.

What are the top two items on your bucket list? Travel to Dubai and live in Singapore.

Favorite book: Outliers, Freakonomics, or Flash Boys

Favorite movie: The Parent Trap

Favorite vacation spot: Seattle

What are your hobbies? Running, reading, traveling, and watching Friends and The Crown on Netflix.

With a degree in business, I someday imagine myself … working within the TMT(Tech, Media, Telecom) industry, and doing something to improve college education access.

What made Abigail such an invaluable member of the Class of 2018?

“I was first impressed with Abby when she was a first semester freshman and stood up in front of a group of mostly male upperclassmen and successfully ran for Vice President of InFO, a finance career focused student org. Subsequently, I had the pleasure of having Abby as one of my best finance students in two different honors Finance classes. Always curious and diligent, Abby would often come to office hours with great questions and an interest in understanding finance well beyond the material we covered in class. She has made the most of her time at Carlson excelling in class, working towards an honors thesis, securing fantastic internships, and serving in leadership in multiple student orgs.

On top of all of this, Abby is down-to-earth. While proud, she is not impressed with herself and is always willing to pitch in to help others. This past fall, I was pleased to write a letter of recommendation for Abby to the innovative Yale School of Management Silver Scholars MBA program. I was thrilled when Abby emailed me to let me know she was accepted and received a well-deserved merit scholarship. I don’t think it will be possible for Abby to surprise me with her future successes, regardless of the form they take.”

Rick Nelson
Senior Lecturer, Finance
Director of Undergraduate Finance Programs

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