The Campaign for the Carlson School of Management
Support Students

A Force for Leadership

Support Students

Businesses across every industry and sector, in Minnesota and around the world, are demanding innovative, adaptable, globally minded workers—the kinds of budding professionals who study at the Carlson School.

To find the types of leaders in the making who will shape the business landscape in the decades to come, the Carlson School must attract and nurture high-performing and high-potential students, regardless of their financial means. Our student body should also reflect the world in which our graduates will work and live after earning their degrees.

New funding for scholarships and fellowships will strengthen the Carlson School’s place as a force for leadership, helping us recruit in-demand students who will create ideas and solutions to benefit their organizations and communities.

  • A Gift for the Long Run

    A $6 million commitment to support student

    Brian Gerhardson
    Brian Gerhardson

    For seven years, Brian Gerhardson, ’86 BSB, persevered. He was going to get his degree.

    Despite taking semesters off to work at The Foursome clothing store in Wayzata, Minnesota, or to sell shoes at Dayton’s to cover his tuition. Despite his father telling him he should just get a steady job and forget about college. Despite facing a lack of acceptance—and feeling isolated—as a gay man.

    So now, nearly 32 years later, Gerhardson takes considerable pride in having made a $6 million commitment to the Carlson School of Management to support scholarships, affording students the kind of financial backing he didn’t have as an undergraduate. “An education is so absolutely essential. The statistics bear themselves out,” says Gerhardson, the owner of South End Wealth Management, a Boston-based private wealth advisory practice of Ameriprise Financial Services. Gerhardson is living proof of the dramatic effect a college education can have on one’s life.

    “What I love about my work is that my role, in the lives of individuals and families who hire me, has an absolute direct impact in how they can build their own financial security,” says the 56-year-old Gerhardson, who’s worked with some clients for nearly all of his tenure at Ameriprise.

    Perhaps it’s fitting that long-run impact resonates with Gerhardson. He’s evolved from someone who “maybe ran 3 miles” in college into an accomplished marathoner. He’s run five of the six so-called World Marathon Majors and plans to check the last one (Tokyo) off his list next year. He also has designs on completing marathons in all 50 European countries after finishing his 10th on the continent earlier this year in Reykjavik, Iceland. And he’s amused countless spectators through his personal tradition of running the Boston Marathon in costume.

    Last October, he returned to the Carlson School to serve as a panelist at an LGBT+ alumni reunion hosted by the undergraduate student organization Compass. He called the event “a larger gathering than I could have possibly imagined in my time here.”

    “If you told me there was going to be an LGBTQ gathering for Carlson students and alums back when I was here in the 1980s, I would have thought I (would be) the only one showing up, because I didn’t know anyone else who was gay or lesbian at the university,” he says.

    If Gerhardson has his way, no current student will struggle with that level of isolation. He hopes his scholarship fund will help, in part, build a community of support. He started the fund in 2014 and describes his latest gift as “hunkering down” on his commitment.

    “Having faced a variety of challenges that could have otherwise kept me from getting to an education, through an education, and to the end of that education,” he says, “I recognize that having an education can make the difference in how you experience the rest of your life.” 

    I recognize that having an education can make the difference in how you experience the rest of your life.
Your investment develops leaders, spurs innovation, and sustains excellence.

Naming opportunities are available to support students, faculty, experiential learning, and facilities. 

More About Naming Opportunities »

  • A Degree of Self-Discovery

    Archana Mohan, ’17 MBA

    video

    Carlson School MBA Alum Puts Leadership Skills to Work

    video

    Carlson School MBA Alum Puts Leadership Skills to Work

    Archana Mohan
    Archana Mohan

    Archana Mohan, ’17 MBA, had a master’s degree in computer science and had worked in a variety of roles in the tech industry. She liked her work and knew she was good at it.

    “But I felt like I could do something more with the skill set that I had,” she says. “I just didn't know what that was.”

    So, a few years after moving back to the Twin Cities, where she had attended graduate school, she applied to the Carlson Full-Time MBA Program to explore new opportunities and build upon her technical skills. It was the start of a path that led her to an unexpected destination: a career in the healthcare industry as director of strategic initiatives for UnitedHealth Group’s Medicare and Retirement Division.

    “I think one of the first things that I sort of learned after seven or eight months was that I needed to let go of some inhibitions and some set rules that I had for myself, saying, ‘These are the only opportunities that I'm going to pursue,’” she says, “and sort of look at, ‘What sort of skill sets do I need to get to those roles eventually?’”

    Conversations with faculty, classmates, and alumni, repeated visits to the Graduate Business Career Center, and company information sessions piqued her interest in UnitedHealth. She’s now applying her technical background and the skills she gained at the Carlson School, including the structured approach to problem solving she learned in the Carlson Consulting Enterprise.

    She calls her Carlson MBA education “one of the best investments that I’ve made in myself.”

    I’m so glad I did this, because I think this would have been my biggest regret if I didn’t do this. I’m coming out of this as a much more confident person.
Your investment develops leaders, spurs innovation, and sustains excellence.

Naming opportunities are available to support students, faculty, experiential learning, and facilities. 

More About Naming Opportunities »

Connect on Social Media