Carlson School of Management News

Non-Traditional Student Maximizes Undergraduate Resources

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Non-Traditional Student Maximizes Undergraduate Resources

When Wendy Hanson, '13 BSB, decided to get her bachelor's degree she considered an adult completion program but ultimately chose to attend the Carlson School because of the knowledgeable professors and strong academic curriculum. Hanson believed this combination would better prepare her for the career change she was seeking. And although most of her classmates were half her age, Hanson was not discouraged from engaging in the school's community and using the available resources to her advantage.

After graduation in May, Hanson started a sales position at General Blood LLC, a startup company whose founders are graduates of the Carlson MBA Program. She landed the job through the skills and network she developed while in school.

Hanson relied on her advisers to help make the best academic and career decisions. She explains using the plural form of advisers because dedicated staff members are available for academic, career, and study abroad guidance. The help she received ranged from coursework selection to salary negotiation.

Assistant Director of the Undergraduate Business Career Center, Brooke Arnold, recalls meeting with Hanson very early in her academic career. Hanson started by having her resume reviewed and continued to take advantage of the rich services available, including interview preparation and job offer evaluation. "She wasn't afraid to ask questions and used her resources wisely," notes Arnold.

In addition, Hanson formed strong relationships with her professors. During orientation, she remembers being told to schedule office visits with professors and make sure they knew you by your first name. Hanson listened to this advice and connected with multiple experts.

"I found my professors more than willing to meet with me. They helped me network with the business community."

Nevertheless, Director of Student Services Jan O'Brien acknowledges that the undergraduate program is not designed with non-traditional students in mind. Classes are generally scheduled during the day and flexible alternatives such as online and evening courses are limited. The typical adult student must be committed to the program to successfully manage coursework with family, work and other obligations.

The required international experience component of the undergraduate program adds another layer of complexity. Hanson wasn't afraid of the challenge though and attended a two-week program through the Carlson Global Institute in Costa Rica focused on Corporate and Social Responsibility.

"For my stage of life the shorter global experience worked perfect for me - two weeks abroad and six weeks back on campus."

Hanson can hardly believe how her hard work has paid off. Working for a startup company that serves mostly non-profit hospitals matches perfectly with her majors, Entrepreneurial Management and Public and Non-Profit Management. Hanson is happy she was able to find a position that fit her passions as well as an opportunity to hone the skills she learned in school. Hanson boasts, "Carlson exceeded my expectations."

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