Isabel Tompkins '17


Isabel Tompkins
Isabel Tompkins, Best Buy

What inspired you to become a global business leadership major? 

My interest in pursuing a global business leadership major at CSB/SJU stemmed largely from what I learned about business from my family. My dad graduated from Saint John’s with a degree in management. My sister also graduated with a degree in management from Saint Ben’s. From a young age, my sister and I were always interested in starting our own company using our dad, who has had over 30 years of experience in business, as a mentor and sounding board for ideas. 

I wanted to choose a major during my first year at Saint Ben’s that would allow me to explore a variety of career opportunities and develop a set of versatile skills I could use in any industry. I am thankful for what the global business leadership major has provided me with at Saint Ben’s and Saint John’s and I highly encourage all students who are unsure of what to pursue to consider this major. 

Why study global business leadership at a liberal arts college? 

As liberal arts institutions, Saint Ben’s and Saint John’s are able to provide unique opportunities for students that allow them to grow both personally and professionally in their careers. The global business leadership major at CSB/SJU offers an individualized platform for students, giving them the opportunity to develop critical transferable skills and explore a variety of related professions, industries and long-term career paths. Saint Ben’s and Saint John’s are able to provide a well-rounded education, exposing students to unique topics of discussion and areas of study in global business. 

What makes the global business leadership major at CSB/SJU unique? 

The global business leadership major at Saint Ben’s and Saint John’s sets students up for success during and after their college careers. Although the Johnnie/Bennie network is strong among all majors at CSB/SJU, it is particularly unique within the global business leadership major. Companies recognize the value that business students from CSB/SJU can bring to their organizations, which is beneficial for students when seeking internships or full-time careers. In addition, the global business leadership major consists of a network of professors and related mentors to help students find the right long-term career. By offering a variety of different classes and topics for students to choose from, the global business leadership major is able to accommodate a wide spectrum of interests and passions. The connections and support that I received from the global business leadership department pushed me to explore different areas of business and pursue opportunities early on in my college career. 

What advice do you have for students considering a major in global business leadership? 

So many different advantages come with being a global business leadership major at Saint Ben’s and Saint John’s. The largest piece of advice I received in my first year at Saint Ben’s was to look for companies that offer internships for younger students. As a first year, I began looking for career opportunities right away, which helped me obtain an internship with Best Buy Corporation going into my junior year. By looking for jobs and internships early on, students will be able to discover their passions in business and set themselves up for success later in their careers. My first internship as a rising junior opened up several doors for me, allowing me to gain a second internship at Best Buy and now a full-time position there as a college graduate. 

What has your experience with the CSB/SJU global business faculty been like?   

Many of the global business leadership faculty members at Saint Ben’s and Saint John’s have had real experience working in business and the corporate environment. The curriculum taught by many professors is focused on real life examples and experiences that these professors have had in their own careers. Students are able to apply classroom coursework to their professors’ experiences, which proves to be very beneficial when learning the material and having in-class discussions. By sharing real life examples in class from their experiences in owning their own businesses or being top executives in their fields, professors can be strong mentors for many students. 

In my senior year at CSB/SJU, I had two professors that significantly impacted my outlook on my career as a recent college graduate. I am particularly thankful for the guidance that I received from my Operations and Supply Chain professor, Kingshuk Mukherjee, in addition to my senior capstone professor, Margrette Newhouse. Both held executive-level positions during their careers and were strong role models during my senior year of college, teaching me to always be a strong advocate for myself and recognize what my top strengths are. 

What has been one of the greatest challenges you have faced? 

I began looking for job opportunities during my first year of college. This presented me with many challenges and obstacles. However, it proved to be a positive experience. It was difficult as a sophomore in college stepping out of my comfort zone and attending intimidating job fairs like the Minnesota Private Colleges’ Job and Internship Fair. I did not have a lot of experience at that time and was nervous about talking to future employers. However, I am thankful that I began my search in my first year because it helped me gain confidence in my skills, develop my core strengths and improve my ability to present myself professionally to employers.