Some may think they are arrogant, money obsessed and they go to class everyday in a suit. But, this description is just the stereotypical student from the Carlson School of Management. Carlson, just located across the river on the University of Minnesota’s West Bank, is the University’s elite business school.
Then how does a sweatpant-wearing, outgoing hockey player fit into this school? Through hard work and discipline, junior Evan Kaufmann has been able to balance the rigorous schoolwork of Carlson and the intense practices and game day schedules of Golden Gopher Hockey.
“I can get a lot of grief for being in Carlson, but most of the students are just like any other student at the U,” Kaufmann said. “However, stereotypes are not created out of nothing and there are a few, but for me I try to stay out of the suit as much as possible.”
Carlson is one of the toughest business colleges in the nation to be admitted to. The average undergraduate student scores a 28 on the ACT and Carlson is currently ranked seventh in the nation for public school undergraduate studies by U.S. News & World Report.
While some Carlson students may flaunt their success, Kaufmann is humble about his accomplishments in the classroom. “I just believe that being a good person and a good friend is being responsible and doing the necessary things,” Kaufmann said.
Those necessary things include being a part of the team and applying himself academically.
Kauffman is pursing an accounting major and possibly a minor in finance. “I am fortunate to be in this school,” he said. “I know how difficult it is to get into and I am just trying to get as much experience as I can to learn about the business world.”
Carlson being difficult to get into might be an understatement. The school only admits 450 freshman and 150 transfer students. On average, Carlson admits only freshman students who are ranked in the top 93 percentile of their high school. The university as a whole on average admits those in the top 70 percent.
Kaufmann is indeed lucky to be one of those students, but the Gophers are lucky to have such a dedicated worker on and off the ice as a part of the team. “I looked at other schools to play hockey at, but having a chance to go to Carlson and to play for the Gophers beats all. It is a life-long dream,” Kaufmann said.
A graduate of Robbinsdale Armstrong High School, Kaufmann grew up around Gopher hockey. “My family always had season tickets and we would go to every game,” Kaufmann said. “My parents were really big hockey fans, but they never let me forget the importance of school.”
Balancing a rigorous class schedule in Carlson and his commitments to hockey, Kaufmann can sometimes feel the pressure, but he has been able to make it through. “It is all about getting a routine schedule. Once you have your schedule down, you can set aside time to study. From one to five, I do hockey and after five is school work,” Kaufmann said.
“There are definitely those days when you have to wake up early for practice, go to class, go to practice and by the end of the day all you want to do is crash on the couch. That’s where the discipline comes in.”
The discipline he applies to school carries over to hockey. “When you’re on that ice you could be making a million shots on goal, but you have to use discipline, good judgments and teamwork to make plays happen,” Kaufmann said.
“Hockey is definitely more a game of brains than brawn. You could have the biggest and strongest player, but if they do not know and understand the game; then it just doesn’t work.”
Requirements by the universitiy’s athletic department for teams to have study hours and tutors available to help student athletes is there to ensure that athletes are feeding their brains with knowledge and not always focusing on the brawn.
“Coach Lucia is really good about making sure that our team gets in our study hours and gets stuff done,” Kaufmann added.
Although student-athletes have resources available to succeed, Kaufmann said that most of the schoolwork is done individually and that it is possible for a college student to be successful in athletics and academics.
“Athletes who fail in school are caught up in the time right now and are not looking to the future,” he discussed. “I try to keep focused on my school work because having a degree is going to ensure my future more than having a perfect slap shot.”
Although school and hockey take up the majority of Kaufmann’s time, he swears he still has time for a fun social life and on down days he lends his little spare time to volunteering with Minnesota’s Tobacco Awareness Campaign. The campaign is designed to send student athletes to elementary schools to inform students on the dangers of tobacco.
“I feel it is really important to lend our services to initiatives like this,” Kaufmann said. “Growing up in Minnesota I remember always looking up to the Gopher Hockey players and I look at this as a way to keep that tradition alive. It is a way for us to give back to our fans for being so supportive of us.”
There is a reason why they are called student-athletes. It is impossible to have one without the other. Skills learned in practices, like discipline and teamwork, can be carried over to the classroom. Skills learned in the classroom, like problem solving and analysis, can be carried over into athletics.
Kaufmann displays the characteristics that make that ‘M’ on his jersey so special. It doesn’t matter if he attends a school and belongs to a team that could be compared to the New York Yankees. (Their fans love them, but the rest of the world hates them). Kaufmann knows that belonging to a school with such prestige and to a team with a rich tradition is an honor. An honor that he has not wasted.
story by Katie Fornasiere, athletic communications student assistant
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