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Real Humans of the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management

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Paul Prenevost, Carlson MBA Class of 2022

Age: 26
Hometown: Park Rapids, Minnesota
Undergraduate Institution and Major: University of St. Thomas, Biology BS
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): Over the past three years I have worked in retail pharmacy, inpatient hospital pharmacy, and the pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) space.

Why business school? Why now?
I am enrolled in the Doctor of Pharmacy/Master of Business Administration dual degree program offered here between the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy and the Carlson School of Management. I realized early in my journey to becoming a healthcare professional that I wanted to be able to combine clinical skills and business acumen to make the greatest contribution within our healthcare system. This dual degree program provides me an opportunity to learn from the incredible faculty at both schools and obtain both degrees in one, five-year sprint.

Why Carlson? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
I was eyeing the PharmD/MBA program at the University of Minnesota while I was picking PharmD programs in undergrad. Through my talks with alumni, I learned that both schools are dedicated to interdisciplinary education and preparing students to lead interdisciplinary teams. The University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy is a leading pharmacy school and Carlson and its Medical Industry Leadership Institute are recognized leaders in the ever-important intersection of healthcare and business. These factors are what made Carlson a no-brainer for me.

What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2022?
I think my greatest contribution to our class is my experience working with patients. It is a relationship that is analogous to many client relations within business, and one in which many people have only been on the patient side. I love to contribute insight into what it is like to be on the other side of those interactions. The healthcare system in the United States is incredibly complex. This complexity puts me in a unique position to help contribute to our class.

Fun fact that didn’t get included on your application?
I still hold the V-Sit and Reach record at my elementary school!

Post-MBA career interests?
I am interested in healthcare consulting and pharmaceutical industry strategy.

Advice to current prospective applicants:
–One thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?
Look into dual degree options! There are so many great opportunities to learn from faculty with a wide range of specialties. Looking forward, in healthcare especially, the ability to work in and contribute to interdisciplinary teams is a must.

–One thing you would change or do differently? 
If I could go back I would speak with more alumni and second years prior to starting. The on-campus recruiting process picks up very quickly and it doesn’t hurt to be over-prepared on day one.

–Part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
Writing essays. I have been in a rigorous clinical program for the last three years so writing essays has not been at the forefront of my mind. It helped to lean on my school’s writing center and other resources available to ensure that I was getting my message across as intended. Don’t worry, the rust falls off quickly once you get back into it!

What is your initial impression of Carlson’s students/culture/community?
The culture at Carlson has been great. Obviously, COVID has changed the way this manifests itself, but the faculty has done a great job adapting their courses thus far. This is not an easy time for anyone and having a community as strong as Carlson’s has been instrumental in ensuring that our class stays whole and we can all achieve our goals.

One thing you have learned about Carlson that has surprised you?
I have been surprised at how diverse my classmates’ backgrounds are. Whether it be personal or professional, this diversity leads to more meaningful discussions and allows everyone to get the most out of their education while they are here.

Thing you are most anxious about in your first year?
I am most anxious about internship and job outlooks in this time of uncertainty. I am confident in my ability to be successful in this environment, and have already formed a great network with Carlson alumni, peers, and colleagues who I know will be instrumental in my search going forward.

Thing you are most excited about in your first year?
Getting to know my classmates and exploring areas that I have not taken classes in previously. For me, I am especially looking forward to taking FINA 6125 Cryptocurrency, Blockchain, and Their Business Applications next semester.

Christina Griffith
Christina Griffith is a writer and editor based in Philadelphia. She specializes in covering education, science, and history, and has experience in research and interviews, magazine content, and web content writing.