Spring 2013

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When you look at business schools, you notice a lot of them are better known by a person’s name than by their identifying institution—Wharton, Kellogg, Anderson. While these are recognized as prestigious business schools, they are also the names of accomplished entrepreneurs. Moreover, they are entrepreneurs who sought to give back, to help instill that business acumen they possessed into future generations of students.

We owe our name to legendary Minnesota entrepreneur Curt Carlson, who said he hoped that the institution bearing his name would become a mecca for would-be entrepreneurs from all over the country. Thanks to Carlson and to others such as Gary Holmes and Robert Buuck, the Carlson School lives to bring their entrepreneurial spirit to the front lines of business education.

The hub for entrepreneurial studies at the Carlson School is the Gary S. Holmes Center for Entrepreneurship. In the following pages, you will learn about the center and how it fosters the interaction between hundreds of alumni supporters and our students to advance their education, career development, and entrepreneurial efforts.

Classroom activity is only part of how our students engage in entrepreneurial activities. The Entrepreneurship Club draws students not only from the Carlson School, but from all across campus. Local start-ups engage our students through our Deluxe E-ternship program. Carlson School alumni Caryl and Larry Abdo host the Abdo Dinner Conversation Series, a semi-annual get-together with entrepreneurs and students at the Abdos’ historic Nicollet Island Inn in Minneapolis.

Of course, no discussion on entrepreneurship is complete without mentioning the Minnesota Cup, the annual competition featuring the best and brightest business ideas in the state. Vying for $200,000 in prize money, participants have a chance to see their business plans take root and grow. In this issue, we will meet Julie Gilbert Newrai, the 2012 winner and a proud Carlson School graduate.

Like any other business topic, entrepreneurship is a rich area for research. In these pages you will learn what some of our faculty are working on in terms of entrepreneurial studies, such as the roles of angel investors and examining how to stimulate the entrepreneurial energies of older, larger companies.

We also will hear from alumni who have gone on from the Carlson School to launch successful enterprises. They will share their passions and drives and bring us up close to that “a-ha” moment when the idea for their new business was born.

And whether they own a dog hotel or have created a unique mobile application, one common theme unites all of our entrepreneurs—a desire to continue their relationship with the Carlson School and to somehow give back. Be it by mentoring, volunteering, or classroom speaking, Carlson School graduates are bringing Curt Carlson’s legacy and spirit full circle.

Sri Zaheer, Dean
Elmer L. Andersen Chair in Global Corporate Social Responsibility

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