2020 Best & Brightest: Stephanie Avalos, University of Minnesota (Carlson)

Stephanie Avalos

Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota

I am passionate, ambitious, and always seeking the next adventure.”

Fun fact about yourself: I have never broken a bone.

Hometown: Columbia Heights, MN

High School: Columbia Heights High School

Major: Marketing & Finance

Favorite Business Course:  MKTG 4082W: Brand Management with Jay Lipe because it emphasized the importance of a company’s brand equity and the power of consumer perception.

Extracurricular Activities:

  • Emerging Leaders of Color Mentor (2019 – 2020)
  • Marketing Teaching Assistant (2018 – 2020)
  • Carlson Ambassador (2017 – 2020)
  • Business Week Executive Committee Member (2017 – 2020)
  • Multicultural Center of Academic Excellence Ambassador (2017 – 2019)
  • Business Association of Multicultural Students Board Member (2017 – 2018)
  • Welcome Week Leader (2017 – 2018)


  • Wallin Scholar
  • Gilman Scholar
  • Business Association of Multicultural Students Member of the Year

Where have you interned during your college career?

  • City of Minneapolis, Human Resources Intern, Minneapolis, MN
  • S. Bank, Business Analyst Intern, Minneapolis, MN
  • Adobe, Sales Development Intern, Lehi, UT

Where will you be working after graduation? LinkedIn as a Global Sales Associate in Chicago, IL!

Who is your favorite professor? My favorite professor is Wendy Lutter because she inspired me to pursue a major in marketing and sparked my passion for marketing research. She was the professor that challenged me to view business problems from different perspectives, helping me fully understand real-world situations within the marketing field.

What did you enjoy most about your business school? The emphasis on international experience and support for travel is something I have enjoyed throughout my time at the Carlson School. As a student from a low-income background, I never would have imagined myself traveling outside the U.S. and visiting multiple different countries. By giving students the opportunity to travel abroad and immerse themselves in a culture different than their own, Carlson is providing students like myself with essential global skills and knowledge.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? The business field is very broad and versatile. It is a field filled with people from different backgrounds, experiences, and careers. Therefore, I would advise prospective students to explore and research the different areas of business that interest you. It is okay if there are many areas that interest you because careers and roles tend to overlap within the business field. There is so much to learn from a career in business – from how to work in a team to understand how to communicate with customers – a career in business can equip you with both soft and hard skills, opening a world of possibilities for your future.

What has surprised you most about majoring in business? I was surprised by how people-focused the business world truly is. When I began my undergraduate career, I believed a major in business would be composed of long hours in classes focused primarily on numbers, profits, and transactions. To my surprise, I have learned so much more about working with people and customer satisfaction than I expected. Because the business world is driven by organizations run by people, understanding how to be client-focused is an essential skill to have in any industry within the business world.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of?

Graduating from my university this upcoming May will be one of my proudest achievements. Not many people are aware of the power behind education except those who grew up without one. My parents fall into this unfortunate category. Because of them, I have always prioritized my education and seen it as a path towards success. As a first-generation college student, I had to learn to navigate the entire college experience by myself. By being able to attend the Carlson School of Management and utilize their resources, I have developed lifelong skills in my academic, professional, and personal life. As a result, I have been able to accomplish the goals my parents never had the chance to think about. I look forward to the day I walk across the stage because not only is this degree for myself, but for my family as well.

Which classmate do you most admire? The classmate I admire most is Fatima Jeylani. I have known her since high school and I consider her one of my closest friends. Throughout these rollercoaster years known as college, Fatima has supported me throughout my academic, personal, and professional endeavors. She has taught me the importance of failure and how to bounce back. I admire her determination, passion, and generosity. She is the definition of someone who is always there for you, no matter the time, place, or situation. I am very fortunate to have spent the best four years of my life with such a compassionate and supportive peer and friend. I look forward to learning more from her in the future.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? I believe my father has had the most profound impact on my success. Without his support and encouragement, I would not be where I am today. My father is the oldest of ten and has been a role model for not only myself, but for his own siblings as well. He immigrated from Mexico and faced a variety of challenges as he navigated an entirely new culture, country, and environment. As a result, he has taught me the power of resiliency and perseverance. These qualities have helped me achieve things I only dreamed of as a child. Because my dad grew up with so little and has achieved so much, I witnessed firsthand the importance of hard work and determination. I hope to one day give back to my dad and my family for all the sacrifices they made to support my academic and professional endeavors.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? The top two items on my professional bucket list are working abroad and becoming a board member for a local non-profit organization focused on youth development.

What are your hobbies? My hobbies include reading, traveling, and painting.

What made Stephanie such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2020?

“Stephanie brings enthusiasm, energy, and smarts to the classroom and to her fields of study. Most importantly, she is a passionate, caring person, which is key to being a successful business leader.”

Wendy Lutter
Senior Lecturer in Marketing


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