Economics Featured Alumni

MSUM is proud of all of the students who graduate from our Economics program. By featuring graduates, we hope to not only recognize their successes, but also to inspire current and future students like you. A degree in economics can greatly improve success in a host of varied career disciplines.

Sarah (Paulsen) Borgerding, Economics, 2003
Care System Growth Advisor, HealthPartners
Watch Sarah's video


What do you do for work? For which company do you work?
I am a Care System Growth Advisor at HealthPartners in Bloomington, MN. In other words, I provide strategic guidance and direction to the health system. Topics range from market sizing to geographic distribution of services, from demand forecasting to service line planning.

How did you get there?
I always loved hospitals and healthcare but didn't feel pulled to be a clinician. When I realized there was also a business side to healthcare I knew I had found my niche. I focused every school project on the healthcare industry and found people willing to let me intern with them each summer at hospitals, including Sanford (then MeritCare) when I was a senior. By the time I graduated from MSUM I was a good candidate for graduate school. I earned my Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA) from University of Minnesota.

How did economics help you get there and how does it help you in your work?
My favorite college class was Econometrics, where we measured the impact of many different variables (quantitative) to predict a scenario or understand a relationship (qualitative). I loved the interplay of theory and reality, of quantitative and qualitative analyses.

Studying econ fed my natural curiosity and honed my critical thinking skills. Understanding market forces, scarcity, and rational behavior are fundamental to my career in strategic planning where I must understand the big picture, compare alternatives, and justify preferred solutions.

What advantages do you see about studying Economics at MSU Moorhead? Disadvantages?
A huge asset is the culture of economics. The professors are engaged and engaging. Classes were small enough that students are engaged in the lectures and with each other. I was challenged. And I grew through researching projects, presenting my ideas in papers, and presenting a paper at the Student Academic Conference. Through it all, I had the unwavering support of the Econ faculty and classmates.

I found economics as a discipline via an elective for my business degree. My only regret is that I didn't find it sooner! I would have been more intentional in how I staggered my business administration and economics courses.

Any general advice you would like to give students?
Seek your niche. Then find a way to get your foot in the door. I did three "internships" during college. None were established internships. All happened because I was vocal about wanting to be in healthcare and found ways to get there. One even started with a cold-call to MeritCare! I got ahold of someone who couldn't help but was willing to refer me along to someone else.

On a related note, there are so many resources available to students. Take advantage of professors and alumni — don't be shy to ask for help.