Best and Brightest 2021

2021 Graduates Named ‘Best and Brightest’

Monday, May 17, 2021

Four Carlson School students were named among the “Best and Brightest” of their respective Classes of 2021 by the business school news site Poets&Quants.

Kevin Bubolz and Samantha Clute were honored from the Full-Time MBA class and Kayla Fixel and Nate Taye were named to the list from the Undergraduate Program.

Kevin Bubolz

Kevin Bubolz

A former helicopter pilot in the U.S. Army, Bubolz saw first-hand the benefits of animal-assisted interaction on mental health. Upon returning home from deployment, he decided to create happiness in his local community through his golden retriever, Ellie, a therapy dog who he brings to schools, nursing homes, and hospitals to volunteer.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit and Bubolz was no longer able to volunteer in person, he shifted his focus to social media and quickly saw an opportunity to develop a global community. Bubolz’s brand, Golden Retriever Life, has more than 2 million followers on TikTok

“Carlson recognized the potential of this opportunity and graciously offered to support me in my endeavors,” he says. “I’m currently leading a team of four MBA students utilizing the scrum methodology. Our goal is to define the Golden Retriever Life market value and scale our ability to have a positive impact on the world.”

A 2020 Tillman Scholar, Bubolz will work at Microsoft as a business program manager after graduation.

Read Bubolz’s full profile.

Samantha Clute

Samantha Clute

After starting her career at an early-stage start-up, Clute learned there are numerous ways to make a lasting impact on the trajectory, success, and potential failure of a company.

At the Carlson School, she got involved as a portfolio manager in the Carlson School’s Funds Enterprise, where she worked for Gopher Angels, a local early-stage investment network. It was there that she found a highly educational and rewarding component of her business school experience.

“When I started this project in the first semester of my MBA, I felt more kinship with the bright-eyed founders eager to learn about the process than with the experienced investors. As my competence and experience in early-stage investing grew, I took on increasingly larger roles in the firm. By fall 2020, I was leading my own diligence processes and had successfully closed my first investment deal. This felt like a full-circle moment for my professional growth: pre-MBA coming from a cash-strapped start-up looking for investors, all the way around the table, successfully facilitating the early-stage angel financing of an up-and-coming business.”

After graduation, Clute will work at Fortive Corporation in a general management development program.

Read Clute’s full profile.

Kayla Fixel

Kayla Fixel

An accounting and finance major, Fixel served as both president of GLOBE, a student organization in the Carlson School that offers support to incoming exchange students studying at the Carlson School, and vice president of Business Board during her senior year.

Though she never intended to get involved in student government in college, it was the time she spent on Business Board, a student-run organization that represents the undergraduate student body at the Carlson School, that made the largest impact on her.

“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,” she says. “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.”

Fixel will work as an audit and assurance assistant at Deloitte after graduation.

Read Fixel’s full profile.

Nate Taye

Nate Taye

A management information systems major with marketing and business analytics minors, Taye served as the president of the U of M chapter of the National Association of Black Accountants.

Originally wanting to become a doctor coming out of high school because he wanted to help others, Taye realized he wasn’t as interested in science, and quickly pivoted. Though he still wanted to help others, he found a pathway through the Carlson School that allowed him to better align his passions with his interests.

“MIS was the perfect major for me,” he says. “It’s the culmination of my favorite interests, such as connecting with people, understanding trends to predict the future, and presenting data in a more digestible fashion. Discovering these interests allowed me to find meaningful minors in marketing and business analytics. I have found something that I loved doing each day, which has filled my collegiate journey at Carlson with passion.”

Following graduation, Taye will work as a risk and financial advisory intern at Deloitte.

Read Taye’s full profile.