This week, more than 600 fresh-faced Carlson School undergraduates arrived on campus for Welcome Week. Over the next four or five years, they’ll pick (and possibly change) majors, survive I-Core, learn abroad, complete internships, and become well-acquainted with the Hanson Hall Starbucks.

And if they’re like their predecessors, they’ll land jobs at a stunningly high rate when they graduate.

But right now? They’re still trying to wrap their heads around this whole business school thing. So to help our newest bunch of students, we offer up words of wisdom from the Class of 2017.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business field?

“Take the time to get an understanding of yourself—what you value, what you care about, what you find most important—then work from there. Don’t pick a major because it makes the most sense to get a job after graduation.”

- Whitney Shapiro

“Run away from the herd. The best opportunities are not the ones that all your peers want. Challenge yourself to take a risk and do something unique with your career that nobody else is doing.”

- Tom Vosbeek

“Work hard to expand your interests into things like literature and art or anything that you find worthwhile outside of business. It will make you a more well-rounded person.”

- Martin Walker

“Don’t be afraid to break the mold.”

- Olivia Caringi
“If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.” - Blake LaBathe, '17 BSB

What was the biggest lesson you gained from studying business?

“Humility. In business, I’ve found it is impossible to solve a complex problem by myself. I will never have all of the answers, so it has been crucial for me to seek out others to work with and learn from in order to tackle challenges together.”

- Luke Biatti

“Business doesn’t have to mean a cubicle and crunching numbers. There is this stigma about business that we all wear suits and work in cubicles, but the reality is business is everywhere and it transcends culture and geography.”

- Mandi Egeland

“How to work with and motivate other people to do their best. Though I never directly studied it, I learned more about leadership and collaboration in my business courses than I ever expected.”

- Callie Livengood

“Trial and error; don’t be afraid to come up with a new idea and test it. Innovation is what drives real change.”

- Morgan Weber
“It’s OK (and usually helpful) to fail. Whether that be in the context of entrepreneurship or in a collegiate sense, I think it’s very relevant. Studying business, there a plethora of examples of failures leading to success.” - Riti Khandelwal:,

“Before I entered business school, I wish I had known …”

“… the balance of staying confident while not getting cocky—thinking that you can do anything but also knowing that you’re a small factor in world.”

- Blake LaBathe

“… how willing people in the business community are to help you out if you just ask!”

- Raffy Maristela

“… about the endless number of careers that exist beyond the standard occupations you hear about as a child.”

- Whitney Shapiro

“… the definition of success extends well beyond your first job out of college.”

- Martin Walker
“... it is OK to not go to a big corporation and go against the grain of what your classmates are doing.” - Mandi Egeland, '17 BSB