Alumni Offer Sage Words of Wisdom for Students

Thursday, September 21, 2017


With the new school year in full swing, there’s no better time to look to our CHRLS Alumni Association Board of Directors as they offer their best pieces of advice to current students.

Kristyn Aasen, ’11:  “Take advantage of your time in the program as it goes by very fast. Because there are so many opportunities to interact with companies and HR professionals, you have a chance to either discover or refine your career path and interests.”

Justin Ahlstrom, ’05: “Find every opportunity to practice connecting the academic lessons learned in the classroom to real-world situations. The ability to translate and communicate theoretically-grounded principles and complex analysis in a manner that is relatable to business leaders is an invaluable skill.”

Corey Bonnema, ’98:  “Be curious and continuously ask others for feedback. My favorite saying is, ‘you can’t fix what you don’t know is broken.'”

Ian Charpentier, ’93: “Work hard and do well in your coursework. In the first part of your career, really focus on ensuring you are getting solid work experiences where you can own projects/work. The reality is your first company is not likely to be your last, and future companies will likely be more interested in the work you did than who you did it for.”

Nicholas Christenson, ’05: “Seek to understand the business, and how you can best add value.”

Anna (Xuanfei) Huang, ’14:  “Make the most of the excellent resources that the program provides you. Leverage every opportunity and every single uncomfortable moment to challenge yourself, to learn and grow. Build a strong personal brand, and build the connections with your classmates, faculty and alumni. Keep your curiosity and the boldness of challenging the status quo. Have fun, always!”

Rob Klee, ’11: “There are so many facets to HR and varied opportunities as both generalist and specialist. Use your time in the MA-HRIR program to learn about as many of these opportunities as possible.”

Brandon Lukach, ’04:  “Hone your ability to harness data to add value to the business.”

Roxana Martin, ’09: “Be curious and courageous. Never leave a class without having asked your question. Lean into discomfort and really challenge yourself to think more broadly about talent and the role we play in the business world. Your time at the Carlson School will go really fast, so take time to cultivate those friendships as they will last a lifetime.”

Tara Miller-Hochhalter, ’10: “Take time to get to know your classmates. Many of my classmates have remained friends and provide an invaluable network to reach out to for quick insights or feedback.”

Larry Morgan, ’88: “Apply all the knowledge you gain in the program to your current work experience or internships.”

Susan Otto, ’00:  “Stay curious and flexible. Approach each situation with an open mind. Find companies that can provide the opportunities you seek, be sure to communicate your developmental goals, and build your personal board of directors that will help you find the opportunities you seek.”

Monica Percic, ’00: “Keep up with the relationships you forge. Be a student of the businesses you support; a business person with a specialty in people factors. If you find that your path is different from others, remember that you can bring value as a sole proprietor, consultant, contractor, field practitioner, specialist, or generalist working independently, in a field organization, at a boutique firm, at global headquarters or any place in between.”

Kara Sime, ’96: “Take the time to take a broad array of classes and find ways to apply the theories in a meaningful way that helps people in organizations – this builds your business credibility. Be curious – always ask questions and go learn as many aspects of the business as you can and find ways to bring people and concepts together.”

Na Sun, ’07: “Stay connected with your peers, alumni and the world. Take advantage of the resources in this program and the Carlson School.”

Eva Treuer, ’10:  “Take time to learn from the experiences of your peers, professors, and mentors. The support system and network you have within the HR community is invaluable throughout your career and the foundation you set at CHRLS will last a lifetime.”

Lizhen (Mandy) Zhao, ’17:  “Be proactive in learning from academic research and industrial experience.”