This fall, the Wisconsin School of Business admitted the first class of incoming freshmen, 20 bright-eyed Wisconsin residents.
These students are part of a new program that will admit a select number of students into the business school to participate in a first-year interest group (FIG) style program. This year, the classes include: Business and Society, taught by Verda Blythe; Introduction to American Politics and Government, taught by David Canon; and International Studies, taught by Scott Straus.
Blythe, who proposed this FIG structure, explained how she wanted students to think broadly about business. “It makes more sense to teach them about the business environment and the stakeholders that participate,” she said.
Associate Dean Ken Kavajecz felt that this FIG system would not only give these chosen students a broader worldview, but it was also an opportunity to have a different experiences within the business school. “If we’re bringing in the best and the brightest, I want to give them a top-notch experience,” he said.
The admissions requirements for the program prove Kavajecz’s statement about the best and brightest. According to Jeff Sawyer, director of undergraduate recruitment and admissions, these requirements include, being in the top 99 percentile or an ACT of greater than 34 and/or an SAT score of greater than 1400.
While this program may be selective, the incoming freshmen clearly see the positives to the early acceptance. Melissa Tweedale, a freshman from Richfield, Wis., explains, “I received an e-mail saying I was selected to apply to the Wisconsin School of Business as a freshman. I was very excited to have that opportunity because the only thing I did not like about UW-Madison is the fact that you had to wait until sophomore year to apply to the School of Business. Getting in as a freshman has eased the pressures of making it in.”
Once admitted, the students’ unique first semester within the business school allows them to have an experience unlike any other.
“It increases the ability to create a sense of community early in the student's college career,” Sawyer said.
Blythe went on to further explain how she wants the students to obtain a positive attitude towards the Grainger environment. The students seem to have already embraced the school and all it has to offer.
Freshman Haley Hensen said, “Being in the FIG and the business school as a freshman has really helped me adjust to the UW. There is a sense of community in the classroom as well as at Grainger Hall. My eyes have been opened to all the great services, classes, and student organizations the business program has to offer. I’m learning how to approach my next three years of college in the most beneficial ways possible.”