Susan Otto

CHRLS Alumni Association Board Member


  • Master of Arts 2000
    Human Resources and Industrial Relations, Carlson School of Management


Susan Otto, '00, graduated from the part-time program and currently works for BlackLine as Chief People Officer. Prior to that, she worked at TrueCar as EVP and CHRO, and has held positions at ModCloth, Electronic Arts, CancerVax, Medtronic, Sylvan Learning Systems and Manele Bay Hotel. She chose to pursue an MA-HRIR at the University of Minnesota because, “I was interested in supplementing my professional experience in HR with a theoretical understanding of the core HR functions. The primary reason I chose the University,” she says, “was because of its stellar reputation, and secondarily it offered an evening program, which allowed me to continue working while pursuing the degree.” She says the program prepared her for her career in HR by providing a deeper theoretical understanding across the function. “Through the frequent group projects, in a very concentrated period of time, I learned about a large number of organizations, functions, challenges, and approaches to organizational situations, which further prepared me for the roles I’ve held,” she says. Serving on the Alumni Board appealed to her because, “I have been looking for a way to give back in a bigger way, and to grow relationships and networks outside of Minnesota,” she says. And, as for advice to current students? “Stay curious and flexible,” she says. “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.”