Professor Interview: Spotlight on Soma Jurgensen

We had the opportunity to connect with Soma Jurgensen, the Chair of the School of Business at Rasmussen College in Brooklyn Park. In her position, she works to foster the health and growth of the business program and its students. She has worked in higher education for nearly a decade. Prior to teaching, she worked at General Mills and other notable business organizations. 

In this professor interview, Soma shares insight into her role in higher education, while offering tips for success as a college student. Get in the mind of this business leader and professor:

* Tell us more about your teaching experience…

Most often I teach management and marketing courses in the classroom or online. I also coach and mentor internship students who have elected to complete a practical learning experience before they graduate with a two or four year degree.

* What is your favorite class to teach?

I’ve often thought about this because students ask me this question regularly and I can’t seem to answer it. There are elements of every class I enjoy. One of the most important courses my students take is Professional Communication where we learn to write well in multiple business forms, manage meetings to induce change, prepare for the interview process from both sides of the table, and express our ideas verbally. Once students enter their internships these are the skills that can make or break their success in that internship and eventually in their careers.

* What are the top traits that successful college students have?

Here are my top five:

  1. The number one trait that is common to college students is resilience. All too often students face road blocks that must be overcome.
  2. This can sound generic so let me explain further. If faced with a lack of information can you figure out how to find it or approach your instructor in such a way as to get it? Successful students (and employees) know how and when to use their resources.
  3. Do you treat your class like a true professional learning experience by getting and integrating feedback when you’ve been disappointed by your performance on an assignment?
  4. Do you approach your class like a profession where you are accountable for your work and behavior? Successful college students understand that their actions affect others. They call their instructors if they will miss class, they take it upon themselves to try to get caught up, and they show accountability for their actions.
  5. Finally, are you going through the motions to get a degree or are you leveraging each and every opportunity to apply your learning? Do you take what you learn and talk about it at work and at home? Do you focus your projects on real life situations? Do you form hypotheses in class and test them in your work and personal lives? This type of active learning results in success for both the short and long term.

* What is the most challenging part of pursing a business degree?

Pursing any college degree in this age is difficult with the demands of family and work. However, once in the classroom I believe it’s the ability to both go deep and wide. Business degree programs will offer course that specialize in a particular industry, yet employers need job candidates that can see the interdependence of the all the disciplines. The challenge is to balance the interconnection of marketing, accounting, finance, management, and courses in general education. The conversations that go on in the classroom will eventually shape those that take place in the board rooms. It’s this understanding that can be hard to grasp yet is critically important for future business leaders.

[More on Business degree programs...]

* What area of business do you see the most career potential in the future?

Three areas will drive the growth of business careers. Internet marketing, global business practices (this includes international accounting), and entrepreneurship. Small businesses drive our economy allowing graduates to use the full spectrum of their skill sets. Small and large businesses alike will need the internet to engage not only consumers nationally, but internationally. Due to this fact students with an understanding of how business is done globally, and how to work with people globally, will have an edge in the economy.

* Why do students choose Rasmussen over other college options?

Rasmussen College allows the framework for students to marry theory and practice in a way that creates a foundation for success. The small class sizes and flexible schedules allow access to students that may not have opportunities in more traditional settings. Just as we choose workplaces with cultures that fit, so do students pick Rasmussen for the experience of rigor and support giving them the greatest chance at meeting their future goals.

[More information on Rasmussen College programs...]

About Allison Freeland

Allie Freeland is the Editor-in-Chief of CollegeOnline.org. She has been a professional writer for a decade and received her bachelor's degree in Journalism from the University of Minnesota. She brings a wealth of information about higher education, online degrees, college life, and career advice. Follow her on G+.