Fall 2013 Newsletter

Case Study: North Minneapolis

Case Study Fall 2013

North Minneapolis suffers from a significant employment disparity with the rest of Minneapolis, the region, and the broader U.S. Getting North Minneapolis on par with employment levels in the rest of the city will require the creation of a staggering 4,100 jobs.

Founded in 2012, the North Minneapolis Job Creation Team (JCT) is a coalition of leaders from the community, the city, the University, and other stakeholder organizations that are working to develop sustainable employment opportunities for the residents of this hard-hit area.

Last fall, the JCT approached the Consulting Enterprise seeking help in this important effort. The JCT saw an opportunity to leverage the CCE's fact-based analysis and strategic thinking skills to assess the viability, attractiveness, and fit of three specific job creation opportunities and to identify industries that could be pursued to create jobs over the long-term. The most immediate opportunity involved developing the business case for relocating a small food processor and distributor to North Minneapolis. "We not only had to quantify the benefit for the business, but also for the city of Minneapolis, which had to know the employment impact of this relocation," said Brian Roth, the student team's leader. The team performed a financial analysis of the relocation, evaluated 11 available commercial properties in North Minneapolis, and investigated financing options for the business. The team identified significant advantages the company would capture through a move to North Minneapolis, including lower transportation and utility costs, better access to customers, and the potential to lower employee turnover - driving significant gains to the company's bottom line while creating nearly 100 jobs in North Minneapolis over the next five years.

The team also worked on identifying other industries for the JCT to pursue in future job creation efforts. They interviewed numerous job creation experts from the government, non-profit organizations, and the business community. They also researched four other cities to distill best practices that could be reapplied in this local effort. Through this analysis, nine high-potential industries were prioritized for further exploration and development efforts, including food and beverage manufacturing, which was found to best leverage the strengths of North Minneapolis.

At the end of the semester, the team presented its findings to the Job Creation Team. The response was overwhelmingly positive. "The outcomes of the study were significant! The team gave us data to convince a potential business to actively seek transitioning to North Minneapolis. More specifically, because of the work of the team, one firm has hired 12 people from North Minneapolis and plans to hire more until it can geographically transition. We have all been impressed by the work of the group, the care with which they approached the project, and the quality of the documents and presentations," said Heidi Barajas, executive director of the University's Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center and member of the JCT. A second CCE team has been commissioned this fall to continue building on the recommendation to pursue other businesses in food and beverage manufacturing. The project had a profound impact on the students as well, reflected Mary Nelson, who was a member of the CCE team, "I realized the potential of business to develop communities," she said.

2013 Job Placement

Employment Chart

100% of CCE students in the Class of 2013 received offers within 30 days of graduation.

CCE Class of 2013 Employers include:

  • Accenture (2)

  • Amazon

  • AT&T

  • California Attorney General's Office

  • Cummins (2)

  • CVS

  • Deloitte Consulting (7)

  • Dish Network

  • Eaton

  • General Motors

  • Health System Advisors

  • Hennepin County Prosecutor's Office

  • Houlihan Lokey

  • L.E.K. Consulting

  • Liberty Mutual

  • McKinsey & Company (4)

  • Optum

  • Ovative Group

  • Target (3)

  • Thrivent Financial

Interested in Hiring Members of the Consulting Enterprise?

The Graduate Business Career Center can pull an electronic resume book based on your criteria. Send an email to gbccinfo@umn.edu. Or, request a resume book directly through our online recruiting system, TalentLink.

CCE Welcomes 3 New Advisory Board Members

We are excited to welcome three new members to the CCE Executive Advisory Board. The Advisory Board includes senior leaders from several of CCE's clients as well as management consulting firms. The board meets twice yearly to discuss strategic issues with CCE leadership as well as to work with students directly, advising them on project-related challenges and discussing career development. Thank you to our Advisory Board for your strong support!

Mike Rusinko

Mike Rusinko 
Retired Managing Director, 



Christy Sovereign

Christy Sovereign
BSB - 1989
Managing Director, 
Retail Client Service Group, 


Travis Swenson

Travis Swenson
CEMBA - 2009
Senior Managing Director, 

CCE Goes Hunting...Scavenger Hunting!

Scavenger Hunting

We wrapped up the successful 2012-13 school year with a little friendly competition. We had a beautiful spring day for the first-ever CCE Scavenger Hunt, putting the students' teamwork and critical thinking skills to the test. Working in teams, students deciphered clues that took them to various locations throughout downtown and the Uptown Minneapolis neighborhoods, submitting photos as proof of their accomplishments. Winners were announced and the event was capped off with a happy hour on the rooftop deck at the Uptown Cafeteria.

Laura Rehfeld

Laura Rehfeld

2003 MBA Graduate, Kaiser Permanente (KP)

Laura is a Director of Strategic Planning with Kaiser Foundation Health Plan. Working across regions and in a larger team, she facilitates and develops the national strategic plan. Laura's work focuses on affordability, provider relationships, and big data analytics. Recently, Laura has been researching ways to better define what it means for healthcare to be affordable. "Currently, there is no standard definition for what 'affordable' means," said Laura in a recent interview.  "By determining an accurate definition, KP can advance the national discussion on healthcare affordability and advance its mission to provide high quality affordable care."

Prior to joining KP in 2011, Laura spent nine years with the health care provider strategy practice for Kurt Salmon, a global management consulting firm. Laura is the current chair of the HFMA Northern California Finance Forum and a Certified Healthcare Finance Professional.

Ahmit Shukla

Ahmit Shukla

2007 MBA Graduate, Green Chemistries Inc.

Amit has been working in renewable energy and energy efficiency for more than 15 years. Prior to the Carlson School, Amit used his expertise in waste-to-energy to develop, market, fund, and execute projects for utility and manufacturing companies. After graduating from the Carlson School, Amit worked for a utility company identifying, evaluating, and pitching potential renewable energy business ventures. Amit then co-founded a bio-based chemical clean-tech start-up, Green Chemistries Inc., which is working on a new latex rubber manufacturing process with a lower carbon footprint and a reduced allergic response among users. Amit also co-founded a consulting firm, Sustainability Strategies & Solutions, to advise clients on renewable energy and other sustainability issues. He earned a Sustainability Management certification and became an accredited Greenhouse Verifier in California. Most recently, Amit has been working as Professor of Renewable Energy for New Mexico State University, where he is establishing a renewable energy department. He continues to be an Adjunct Professor of Renewable Energy for DeVry University.

Michael Smith

Michael Smith

2009 MBA Graduate, Treasury Wine Estates

Since graduation from the Carlson School and the CCE in 2009, Michael has worked for Treasury Wine Estates, the world's largest publicly-listed pure-play wine company. He is a manager on the commercial strategy team and specializes in demand planning. Specifically, Michael calculates expected retailer demand in the U.S., Canada, and Latin America. These demand numbers are then used to calculate the supply chain impact on distributors and producers. Michael is also responsible for managing the company's limited inventory in luxury brands and has to make decisions about how long to cellar the premium bottles and where they should eventually be distributed. In a recent interview, Michael shared his positive experience working in the wine industry. "It may not be quite as romantic as some people think, but with offices in Napa Valley we are lucky enough to operate with one foot in the boardroom and one foot in the vineyard. We can occasionally get away from the spreadsheets and get our hands dirty as we learn more about our products,” he said.

"CCE prepared me to tackle the real challenges of consulting and business in general - interacting and working with diverse teams, influencing others, finding solutions to a client's complex problems. CCE allowed me to apply the technical knowledge I had gained through coursework to a real business issue. In addition, I built lasting relationships with faculty and peers that continue to support me to this day." - Laura Rehfeld, 2003 MBA graduate, Kaiser Permanente (KP)

"I had entrepreneurial and technical expertise coming into the MBA program. The CCE provided me firsthand experience with corporate issues and encouraged me to think more broadly about the problems companies face. I was able to hone my business language and get comfortable interacting with people with diverse backgrounds." - Ahmit Shukla, 2007 MBA graduate, Green Chemistries Inc.

"A major part of my job is being able to present well to C-suite executives. I really value the experiences I had in the CCE to help increase my comfort level with presenting to upper management, especially on an ad hoc basis with little time to prepare." - Michael Smith, 2009 MBA graduate, Treasury Wine Estates

Thank Our Clients Fall 2013 Newsletter

About the Consulting Enterprise

The Carlson Consulting Enterprise is a unique strategy and operations consultancy, creating an important intersection between the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management and the diverse, thriving business community in the Twin Cities. Working in small, dedicated teams, CCE student consultants provide objective, fact-based problem-solving that addresses their client's real-world challenges. Established in 2002, the CCE has completed more than 150 successful client engagements and graduated nearly 300 student consultants.

This powerful experiential learning program gives current students the opportunity to apply what they're learning in the classroom and gain invaluable real-world experience that prepares them to hit the ground running in their future careers. Supported by the Carlson School's world-class faculty and thought-leadership, CCE consultants use a fact-based approach to address their clients' strategic and operational challenges, including market and competitive analysis, strategy development, operational improvement identification, and performance management.

CCE clients include large and small organizations from a broad-range of industries. Through projects, clients get access to top MBA and undergraduate students, committed to addressing their specific business challenges - and a terrific opportunity to build relationships with early career talent.

To discuss how the Consulting Enterprise can assist your organization, please contact Sarah Gisser at sgisser@umn.edu or 612-626-7751.

CCE Seeks Spring Projects

The CCE is currently seeking projects for our students to tackle during the upcoming spring semester. Our second-year MBAs will take on seven full-semester projects (13 weeks, running approximately January 27 to May 2, 2014) while our incoming first-year MBAs will complete six shorter "b-term" projects when they join the CCE in March (seven-week projects, running approximately March 31 to May 9). Projects that present interesting strategic or operational challenges are a great fit for the CCE. Please contact Sarah Gisser at sgisser@umn.edu or 612-626-7751 if you have a potential project you'd like to discuss.