Courtney Harbeck ’16: Unexpected Turn Leads to Job at Consulting Firm Boom Lab

Posted on February 24th, 2016 by

Courtney Harbeck '16

Courtney Harbeck ’16

Unlike most college seniors, Gustavus Adolphus College’s Courtney Harbeck was able to focus on her last year on campus without having to worry about searching for a job. The management major from Big Lake, Minn. secured a position at Boom Lab, Inc. after completing a full-time internship last summer.

Harbeck heard about the company from Gustavus alumnae Lydia Benge Briggs ‘13 and Maura Bremer ‘15 when she attended the Minnesota Private Colleges Job and Internship Fair last spring. Boom Lab is a small consulting firm partnered with ThreeBridge Solutions that takes talent right out of college, develops that talent, and places employees as consultants at Fortune 500 companies.

During her summer internship, Harbeck focused on supporting the hiring team, organizing recruitment events, and checking in with clients on the status of their projects. By the end of the summer, she had taken on bigger responsibilities than typical interns, which earned her a full-time offer after graduation. Though her work ethic and performance resulted in the job offer, the Gustavus connection didn’t hurt — Harbeck will be the 10th Gustie to join the team at Boom Lab when she starts after graduation.

Harbeck, like many students at Gustavus, thinks that a liberal arts education exposed her to a variety of experiences that will translate to success in the “real world.” Critical thinking, one of the foundations for learning at Gustavus, produces students who are well-rounded, motivated, and prepared to work in group settings. “Getting an interdisciplinary perspective that included biology, religion, art, and history allowed me to think critically and think creatively. I approach problems differently due to my educational background,” Harbeck explained.

She believes that the variety of courses she was exposed to in Gustavus’s liberal arts curriculum helped her discern her professional path. “I came in thinking I was going to be a dentist, and started my biology major and preparing for the pre-health track right away,” Harbeck said. “But sophomore year I started taking some economics and management classes and I fell in love with both what I was learning and how I was learning.”

Harbeck (top row, third from left) is heavily involved in campus life.

Harbeck (top row, third from left) is heavily involved in campus life.

But preparing for life after graduation doesn’t just happen in the classroom. “There are so many leadership opportunities available through organizations and by interacting with faculty,” Harbeck said. “Being part of a community like Gustavus has really allowed me to grow in my academic career and now professionally.” In her four years at Gustavus, Harbeck has been a Gustie Greeter, a member of Theta Xi Gamma Sorority, a Guild of St. Lucia member, a club lacrosse team member, and currently serves as the Gustavus Women in Leadership co-president.

Harbeck will follow a similar path to the one Benge Briggs took three years ago when she was hired at Boom Lab. Benge Briggs describes herself as an “atypical hire” because she didn’t come from a management or business background, but she knew Boom Lab was a great fit for her.

Now a hiring manager at Boom Lab, Benge Briggs reflected on her time on campus. “Gustavus will give you the tools to stand out, no doubt about it, but what you do with those tools is up to you,” she said. “I’m so grateful to have attended Gustavus, and the experience of being part of a community where people work toward bettering themselves and each other is what lingers and guides my day-to-day perspective and behavior.”

Bremer, who graduated less than a year ago, agrees. “Life doesn’t end after college — life is just beginning. You might find yourself in a career or an adventure that you never planned or imagined, and that is a wonderful thing that happens after you leave Gustavus,” she said.


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication Luc Hatlestad


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