Lauren Nelson juggling jobs, MBA with eye toward future

She’s a graduate student balancing two jobs, with an already impressive list of leadership credentials. Meet Lauren Nelson, this week’s Up-and-Comer.

Lauren Nelson

Name: Lauren Nelson

Age: 23

Hometown: Sioux Falls

What Brought You to Sioux Falls: My parents had me here, but the vibrant community and active growth of Sioux Falls is what has kept me here for college and now my graduate degree.

Tell us about your two jobs: I am the Human Resources Graduate Assistant at the University of Sioux Falls, which means I work for the institution and am also a graduate student. In July 2016, USF embarked on a nationwide search for its 23rd president after Dr. Mark Benedetto announced his retirement in April. I was very fortunate to be able to help with the presidential search process and all of the details that go into that. Since then, I have gotten to shift my focus to work on other things, like the planning of the upcoming presidential inauguration for USF’s new president, Dr. Brett Bradfield. Exciting times at USF!

I’m also the advisor for South Dakota DECA. DECA is an international student organization of marketing and business students with more than 215,000 high school members worldwide. DECA prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs to be ready for college and careers in marketing, finance, hospitality, and management. I was in DECA in high school at Lincoln and it changed my life!

I work with all of the chapters of DECA in the state of South Dakota to administer the operations of South Dakota DECA. There’s a lot of things that go into it, but basically I help to make sure that SD DECA has everything it needs to be successful and represent SD DECA on a regional and national level. It’s a lot of fun to be involved in this side of DECA!

Question: What’s your favorite thing about your two jobs?

Answer: I’m extremely fortunate to being doing things that I love, and I love the communities I have at both jobs. I am privileged to work with people that push me to be better, hold me accountable, all while having a lot of fun. I’m finding that you really do get so much more out of an experience, a job/career, or basically anything when you’re surrounded by people that make the work you’re doing that much more meaningful.

Question: What’s your advice for balancing work with getting your MBA?

Answer: I think there comes a point where, whether or not you consider yourself an organized person, you’re forced to be very organized with your time because you are just really busy! That’s where I’m at, and I love that. Balancing school and my jobs is teaching me not only how to coordinate everything in order to “make it all happen,” but also to find time to unwind and relax a little bit so I keep enjoying the things I’m doing and not get totally burned out.

Question: What’s something you think people might be surprised to learn about DECA?

Answer: DECA gives students, regardless of where they come from or who they are, a platform to realize their potential. It transforms students’ lives. I have watched students gain confidence through DECA they never dreamed they would have, and it changes how they think about their futures, their roles in their communities, and themselves. Students in DECA travel all over the United States, network with people other students and professionals locally, regionally, and nationally, and most importantly, they gain skills that are transferable to any industry they choose to pursue in their lives. DECA is a lot of fun, but it truly does set students up for success.

Question: What’s one business you’d like to see in Sioux Falls that isn’t here now?

Answer: Trader Joe’s! I love that place, my friends and family all love that place, and I really do think the Sioux Falls community would be excited to support a Trader Joe’s and that it would thrive here.

Question: Where do you see yourself in five years?

Answer: My hope is that in five, 10, 20 years from now I’m doing something I love and living my life in a way that uses every day I’m given to the fullest. Candidly, I’m unsure about what the future holds or where I might end up, but I know that if I have a good community and am doing something I care about, I’ll be more than delighted.

Lauren Nelson juggling jobs, MBA with eye toward future

She’s a graduate student balancing two jobs, with an already impressive list of leadership credentials. Meet Lauren Nelson, this week’s Up-and-Comer.

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