Students, faculty and staff members from the Carlson School of Management, clad in business attire, marched up the stairs of the state Capitol on Sunday with a threefold goal in mind.
Thirty students and 50 faculty and staff members rallied at the Capitol to gain legislative support for the expansion of their undergraduate program and increase awareness both within the school and in the public.
The Carlson School is asking lawmakers for $26.6 million as part of the University’s 2006 capital request to expand the undergraduate program.
Dan Mayberry, a first-year finance major, said the rally was a very positive experience.
“We were able to send our message and show our Carlson image in a clear and proud way,” he said.
Mayberry said he had talked one-on-one with an elected state representative and discussed the school’s objective.
“A key point is that the school cannot supply enough students to meet Minnesota’s demand for business students,” he said.
Mary Maus Kosir, assistant dean for Carlson School students, said she participated in the rally to create enthusiasm within the school for the expansion efforts.
“We wanted to publicly express the need to keep some of our incredible students in the state,” she said.
Christina Luah, a first-year international business and finance major, said part of the message was that there are high-ranking and high-achieving students who are not getting into the school because of a lack of space for them.
She said there are a lot of applications, but the number of admitted applicants is low.
“We have not only a wide applicant pool, but a deep one,” Luah said. “We have gifted and talented students and will be producing more graduates that are ready to boost Minnesota’s economy.”
She said the state already loses the talents of business students who leave the state because they do not get admitted.
“Those students go to schools in other states and don’t only go to school there, but live there, build businesses and give back to that state’s economy,” she said.
State Rep. Mike Beard, R-Shakopee, said he met with a bright Carlson School student and was impressed with the way he articulated the message.
He said the message seemed to be more of a vision than a plan.
“They want to expand and add more managerial positions for the state, and there is merit to that,” he said.
However, Beard said, he saw no specifics about money or time, buildings or the number of professors needed to be hired.
He said it was more about the concept of management training and raising more top-flight business managers in the state’s backyard versus importing students.
“Lobbying is good experience for folks to really connect with the legislative process,” he said.
Beard said he would try to keep a lookout for future movements within the school’s plan to expand.