A friendship journey from middle school to MBA

Friendships are like the glue that holds our lives together. Tina Meng and Faith Wickenhauser’s bond shows how strong and important those connections can be. 

Meng and Wickenhauser first met in eighth grade, and over the years, they've navigated through the ups and downs of life while cherishing their deep friendship. Now, as students in LSBE’s MBA 4+1 program, they continue to support and inspire each other on their journey toward fulfilling careers.

Meng, a Business Management major, is from the small town of Carver, Minnesota. Wickenhauser is majoring in Human Resource Management and is also from the Carver/ Chaska area. They both attended school in the Eastern Carver County district prior to coming to UMD. 

"Tina and I were introduced through a girl we both knew,” said Wickenhauser about their meeting in middle school. “I had a falling out with my friend group, and the girl told me to sit with her at her lunch table that day. Tina was also sitting there. She told me to just be friends with her group instead. We lived just a few minutes down the road from each other, so it was very easy for us to start hanging out."

However, though they are from the same area, they ended up going to different high schools. Their schools, Chaska and Chanhassen High Schools, shared a spirited rivalry that could have kept them apart but didn’t. 

"Our schools were rivals, but it was a good half and half in terms of aspects that were better or worse,” said Wickenhauser. “We liked to keep things lighthearted, so we never had to overcome anything but rather used it just as a constant joke. I would go into their student section wearing my school's colors without caring because I was with my friends.”

Although they have endured hardships, they have remained friends due to mutual understanding and honesty. “We are very honest with each other and keep it real,” said Wickenhauser. “We feel like we bring out the best in each other. We can say absolutely anything and ask for help/advice with no judgment at all. Our friendship is based on lifting each other up and giving support.” 

The two, who were roommates their first two years at UMD, have taken numerous classes together during their college career. They enjoy cooking, baking, and hiking as ways to let off steam.  

Meng and Wickenhauser are excited about the MBA 4+1 program. "I believe that the MBA is a great opportunity that more students should be taking advantage of,” said Meng. “Getting a master's degree in exchange for one more year of school is amazing."

Wickenhauser, who has an internship at Terch & Associates, a Duluth HR consulting company, looks for the MBA to help her advance within her internship. “I am planning on learning as much as I can there and hopefully be hired after graduation. I believe that the MBA program will allow me to get the most out of my job opportunity and jumpstart my career in HR."

This summer she’ll continue working for her current employer and look at attaining certification. “I am going to be taking the SHRM SCP exam and hopefully acquire that certification so that I will have an established credibility based on my education at UMD.” 

Meng’s plans include attaining an internship and taking MBA classes. “I plan to work a summer internship to gain experience within management. I’ll also be continuing my education by starting my summer classes for the MBA program.”

The significance of the journey the two have shared is not lost on them. “Going to the same college and living together solidified our bond,” said Meng. “I know that I’ve made an irreplaceable and lifelong friend.”

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