The Carlson School Magazine Fall 2021

From the Dean

What's Next?

Black and white photo of Dean Sri Zaheer

In the last issue of this magazine, I expressed confidence that 2021 will bring progress in several areas. As we enter the fourth quarter, I do see progress. But, we know now that our emergence from the COVID-19 pandemic will take time and thought. Much uncertainty remains. What we do know: Our world, our lives, and our work have changed. We must continue to adapt.

So, how do we do that? Where do we go from here? What’s next?

Taking a deep dive into how we prepare our students for the future, we significantly redesigned our undergraduate curriculum. Now anchored around three realms—people and planet, data and technology, and critical thinking and problem solving—students will explore concepts of diversity, equity, and inclusion; sustainability and social responsibility; and learn how to use data to solve problems in meaningful ways. Through new courses and immersive experiential learning, this realignment will allow our students to graduate with a degree that not only provides them with the knowledge and experiences they need to enter today’s shifting workforce, but enable them to continue to be curious and impactful life-long learners.

Our students benefit from more than $100 million in scholarship support, part of the $190 million raised during the Driven campaign thanks to nearly 10,000 generous donors. Our graduates enter the workforce at a time when companies large and small are trying to predict the future of work. Human resources (HR) professionals, in particular, are guiding organizations through massive changes to when we work, where we work, and how to better support employee wellness. See what’s working at Boeing, Bristol Myers Squibb, and Microsoft. These companies, along with smaller businesses, benefit from the latest research to inform their plans. That includes insights from Associate Professor Aaron Sojourner, who explains why he views himself as a “many-handed economist.”

Like HR, finance professionals are wrestling with new concepts, such as the rise of cryptocurrencies. However, it is the blockchain technology they operate on that holds significant promise for businesses. Associate Professor Vivian Fang provides much to consider as we think beyond bitcoin.

Speaking of new, a recent alumna is making lemonade out of lemons. Well, I should say she is helping to take very good pictures of them. Learn how a pandemic-related layoff led to a multinational, bilingual digital marketing agency, built with skills learned at the Carlson School.

As we look forward, we also pause and take a moment to remember and reflect on our past. Tom Burnett’s, ’86 BSB, actions on September 11, 2001 changed countless lives, including that of one of his closest classmates. Twenty years later, Tom’s legacy lives on and his final words—“do something”— serve as a clarion call for each of us today.

Warmest regards,

Sri Zaheer signature

Sri Zaheer
Dean, Carlson School of Management

Cover story

Fall 2021 alumni magazine cover

Download the Fall 2021 issue

Our world, our lives, and our work have changed. We must continue to adapt.

So, how do we do that? Where do we go from here? What’s next?

Download this issue