From Student to Sponsor: Leah Larson
Tuesday, July 25, 2017
Leah Larson, ’07 MBA, found the school’s Vienna and China practicums particularly valuable. “Both provided a richness to my education that I could not have achieved in the classroom alone,” she says.
She has had a passion for learning about other cultures from a young age—she lived in Spain twice, once during a summer in high school and again for a semester in college. “I’ve always been someone who learns best from experience, so I always seek out opportunities to immerse myself into new experiences,” she says. “The global practicums offered by the Carlson School provide an incredible opportunity to learn new cultures and provide firsthand experience into doing business globally and working with diverse teams.”
Her team-building skills were honed while partnering with students from Vienna University. “We approached the case, and business in general, very differently,” she says. “It helped me learn the importance of relationship-building and how to leverage unique perspectives and approaches.”
During the China practicum where her team worked with a restaurant company, she gained a fresh insight into cultural differences. “At that time, China was very unknown to me, aside from its large size and opportunity,” she says. “In this program, we spent a lot of time in the market and I’ve always remembered the extremeness of the high and low ends of the market and the cultural challenges associated with taste and customs.”
After graduating, Larson began her career with Ecolab and her practicum experience served her well. In her last role at the company, she was globalizing a $3 billion product portfolio. Currently, she is leading the global marketing function for a $650 million division of the company. “Both of these roles have highly leveraged both the skills gained during my MBA and the global mindset I was able to develop through the global practicum,” she says.
Larson, who recently joined the board of advisors for the Carlson Global Institute, continues to be a huge advocate of the global enrichment programs and encourages every student she meets to take advantage of the opportunity. This year, Ecolab is sponsoring the Vienna Global Business Practicum and will provide the case for the students to work on. “It’s been fun to come up with business challenges that will be interesting to the students, but will also encourage them to get out and immerse themselves in the culture,” she says.
This feature originally appeared in the Spring 2017 Carlson Alumni Magazine. Read more about experiential learning here.
This article appeared in the Spring 2017 alumni magazine
Learning doesn't just take place in the classroom anymore. In this issue, we explore how the Carlson School is thinking outside-the-box to meet the education needs of today's students.