2021 Best & Brightest Business Major: Kayla Fixel, University of Minnesota (Carlson)

Kayla Fixel

University of Minnesota, Carlson School of Management

“Fueled by passionate, motivated people … and coffee.”

Fun fact about yourself: I lived in Helsinki, Finland for five months during my sophomore year of college!

Hometown: Germantown, WI

High School: Germantown High School

Majors: Accounting and Finance

Minor: N/A

Favorite Business Course: Financial Modeling with John Molloy

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:

Carlson Involvement:

  • Business Board, Vice President (2020-2021)
  • GLOBE, President (2020-2021); Vice President of Event Planning (2019-2020)
  • Kappa Kappa Psi, President (2019-2020); Leadership Chair (2018)
  • Delta Sigma Pi, Initiated Member; Vice President Professional Activities (2020)
  • Carlson School Ambassador
  • Finance Tutor
  • Management 1001 Teaching Assistant
  • Carlson Ventures Enterprise, Undergraduate Student Member
  • University Honors Program, aiming to graduate with Summa Cum Laude Honors
  • Minnesota Marching Band, Alto Saxophone (2017-2019)

Community Involvement:

  • Wisconsin Association of School Councils, Junior Counselor

Honors and Awards:

  • Carlson School of Management Junior of the Year (2020)
  • Minnesota Marching Band Rookie of the Year (2017)
  • Dean’s List, all academic semesters
  • Presidential Scholarship Recipient
  • Frederick Grose Scholarship Recipient

Where have you interned during your college career?

Assurance Intern: Ernst & Young, LLC; Minneapolis, MN

Premier Student Program Participant: Deloitte; Minneapolis, MN

Marketing Intern: CUNA Mutual Group; Madison, WI

Intern: Spectrum Investment Advisors; Mequon, WI

Intern: Copesan; Menomonee Falls, WI

Where will you be working after graduation? Deloitte & Touche — Minneapolis; Audit & Assurance Assistant

What company do you admire most?  In high school, I worked for a small coffee shop called the Nutman Coffee Bar, a local business that employed many from my community and provided a place for people to gather and build connections. Every time I go home now, I go check out the coffee shop to see how it’s doing, and every time I’m amazed. The Nutman has provided for its employees, created a positive experience for its customers, and expanded operations (with plans to further expand in the coming months). I admire the Nutman’s (and many other small businesses’) ability to find success and to navigate this changing business landscape; it excites me to see so many entrepreneurs creating a positive impact on their communities.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? Talk to people early and often! There were so many times where I felt lost in a class or unsure about a career decision, and the best thing I did was consult those around me for advice and insight. I have been fortunate to find some incredible mentors and some strong friendships as I connected with individuals from a variety of educational and career backgrounds.

What has surprised you most about majoring in business? In my time as a business major, I was most blown away by the sheer innovation that happens within the business industry. Any solution to a problem — whether it is a technological innovation, an improvement in process, or a brand new concept — can be monetized and shared with the world. It is exciting to know there are opportunities to make the world a better place, one new idea at a time.

Looking back over your experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently in business school and why?I wish I would have made more of an effort to connect with students in my classes outside of group work. Carlson’s a fairly large institution, and I think it would have been awesome to meet more of the students in my classes during my time in business school.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? I am incredibly proud of the work my team and I have done on Business Board this year. I didn’t start college intent on getting involved in student government, but having the opportunity to enact positive changes for my classmates in such a tumultuous time has been one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences I’ve had in my life. I’ve loved being able to collaborate with such a driven and passionate group of Business Board representatives to push for student needs — mental health initiatives, opportunities for commencement this spring, curriculum changes, and so much more. I’m hopeful that we have been able to lay a framework for Business Board representatives in the future to continue upon the path of positive change at the Carlson School.

Which classmate do you most admire? I have a strong sense of admiration for Jael Kerandi, a peer of mine in the Finance program and an all-around incredible person. Jael has been a significantly influential student leader in our community as Student Representative to the Board of Regents and as the Minnesota Student Association President. Her advocacy and activism inspires me to work hard and stand up for what I believe in. She encourages others, sees their potential, and challenges individuals to be the best versions of themselves. In my journey as a student leader, I have looked to Jael to find strength and inspiration; I hope to emulate her poise and confidence in my own life.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? I want to thank my parents, who have supported me wholeheartedly throughout my education. They challenged me to work harder, think differently, and keep an open mind to learning new things. I am so thankful to have such incredible role models in them, and I’m blessed to have such loving, kind, genuine parents. Love you, mom and dad!

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list?

Complete a Master’s Degree abroad or work internationally.

Open my own coffee shop or restaurant.

What are your hobbies? I enjoy reading, listening to music, trying new coffee shops, and going on bike rides or walks with my friends!

What made Kayla such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2021?

“When I met Kayla for the first time at freshman orientation, I was impressed with her practicality and ambition. By February of her first year, she had decided she would apply for the program with the newest Carlson School exchange partner in Finland for the next spring. Kayla was one of the first Carlson students to study at Aalto University in Finland, and she made that opportunity a signature for her way forward with leadership roles in Business Board and GLOBE. She has been a role model for younger students demonstrating pragmatism and authenticity. Kayla carries high expectations for herself, but is also realistic and grounded. She is one of the hardest working students I know and makes sure she gives time to the connections around her, which help to support her and give her inspiration. Kayla appreciates the small things and is driven by seeking knowledge and lets her curiosity lead. I admire her knowledge base and appreciate her warmth. She has the gift to bring those around her together and she leads with integrity and resilience.”

Kathy Evenson-McDermott
Senior Academic Advisor


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