Local Cos. to Network With MBA Class Coming to Mpls.

Target and several other Minnesota companies sponsor a consortium of top-ranked U.S. business schools that promotes diversity in American business; at an upcoming four-day consortium event in Minneapolis, they'll be scoping out the best and the brightest.

Nearly 1,000 Fortune 500 executives, business school leaders, and future MBA students will convene in Minneapolis on Sunday-and Target Corporation will use the opportunity to network and scope out talent.

The gathering is a career forum and orientation program hosted by The Consortium for Graduate Study in Management-an alliance of 17 top U.S. business schools and an organization that promotes diversity and inclusion in American business. It goes through Wednesday at the Hilton Minneapolis.

Minneapolis-based Target is a lead sponsor of the event, at which 340 soon-to-be first-year MBA students and 60 second-year MBA students will be present. A total of 204 of the students-mostly minority students who have stellar academic records and a proven commitment to diversity-earned a full scholarship to attend a consortium school starting this fall.

“We support the consortium because we really believe in their mission,” Tim Curoe, vice president of talent acquisition and human resources operations for Target, told Twin Cities Business. “One of Target's core values is having an inclusive culture.” He added that Target aims to have a work force that's as diverse as the population as a whole.

But involvement in the consortium also gives Target a leg up when it comes to recruiting top talent. This year, the company will hire about 5,000 new employees-up more than 10 percent from last year-and leaders are always on the lookout for the brightest to join the Target team, Curoe said.

“We're always recruiting,” he explained. “Finding the best talent is always challenging. Certainly as the economy has improved somewhat . . . other companies are starting to hire as well.”

Target uses many different avenues to find employees-but the consortium is certainly one of them. Part of the event involves corporations interviewing the MBA candidates. Target will scope out potential interns for next summer-and it's possible that some may even get full-time job offers after they finish their advanced degrees.

Target won't be the only company networking with students and searching for talent at the upcoming event. Six other Minnesota-based companies-Cargill, 3M, Medtronic, General Mills, Best Buy, and Supervalu-plus Boston Scientific, which has a large presence within the state, are also among the consortium's corporate sponsors and will have representatives at the upcoming event.

“It's a great opportunity for us to interact with a large number” of potential job candidates, Curoe said.

Over the past 45 years, the consortium has awarded more than $230 million in scholarships that have helped more than 6,000 African American, Hispanic, Native American, and other minority and non-minority students to earn MBAs and gain access to professional opportunities within American business.