Alumni Memories: Kris Kowalski-Christiansen, ’98 MBA

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

These days, Kris Kowalski-Christiansen,’98 MBA, is chief operating officer of Kowalski Companies, an upscale supermarket chain with 10 stores in the Twin Cities metro area. When she was considering graduate school, however, she was nervous about going to the University. “I always thought the U of M was a gigantic place where you didn’t get much personal attention,” she says. “So I was a little intimidated when I was accepted at the Carlson School.”

She quickly realized that her intimidation was unwarranted. “Throughout my MBA program, there was never a period when I thought I wasn’t getting a lot of personal attention,” she says. “In fact, when I was a little bit lost in a financial class, I went to the professor’s office for help a couple of times; he got me back on track so I understood everything.”

Kowalski-Christiansen was also pleased to discover that she could handle the coursework. “All the classes were manageable and relevant, and I learned a lot,” she says. “The faculty was very respectful of the things I had already learned. They did a good job of matching that up with common sense and experiential learning.”

Kowalski-Christiansen views her two years at the Carlson School as an investment that will continue to pay dividends in the years to come. “I chose the school because it has a fabulous reputation,” she says. “I would encourage people like me who might feel a little intimidated to not feel that way. It’s a great program that provides a well-rounded education.”