Clarify Your Career Goals

Wouldn’t it be great if someone could just tell you what to major in or what career to pursue?  Selecting a major or career is not easy for most college students.  Common questions students ask are:

  • Is business right for me?
  • What should I major in?
  • Which careers go with my major?
  • What are the best career options for me?
  • How can I best prepare for the career I’m considering?

The Wisconsin BBA Advising Center, 3150 Grainger Hall, has several resources to help you evaluate what’s important to you, learn about business careers and industries and put all the pieces together.  It’s not an easy process and we won’t be able to just tell you what you should do, but we are eager to help you through the exciting, yet sometimes overwhelming process.

  • One-on-One Attention
  • What Can I Do with this Major?
  • Vault Career Guides and WetFeet Insider Guides
  • Career Assessments

One-on-One Attention

Did you know Wisconsin BBA Career Advisors can do more than look over your resume or help prepare you for your next interview?  Your career advisor can help you explore career options with a business major, provide direction on where to start, and offer information and resources about career within several business, government and non-profit industries. 

Learn more about scheduling a BBA advising appointment

What Can I Do with this Major?

You’ve decided you might be interested in a business major, but you are not sure what you can actually do with a finance major, a marketing major, an information systems major and so on.  To get you started we provide information about common careers graduates pursue with each business major.  Check it out by clicking on the "career" tab of your major of interest.

Remember, the careers we’ve highlighted are representative of typical career paths associated with each major but it is impossible to provide a comprehensive list. Schedule an appointment with a Wisconsin BBA career advisor if you are curious about alternative career paths with your potential major.


Sophomore Shadow Program

Through the Wisconsin BBA’s Sophomore Shadow Program, admitted sophomores and direct admit freshmen in the Wisconsin School of Business and sophomores in the School of Human Ecology have the opportunity to get an up-close look at a company or industry by “shadowing” professionals (often UW alumni) through a normal day on the job. Explore different career possibilities and see firsthand how classroom skills relate to the workplace. Each job shadow opportunity will be held for one day during winter break.

  • What Happens During A Job Shadow?
  • What Students Say
  • How It Works
  • Requirements
  • Program Timeline

What Happens During A Job Shadow?

Each shadow may be structured differently but typically participants will meet with staff members of varying experience levels and have the opportunity to ask questions about job responsibilities, the company and the industry. Students can watch staff perform their job responsibilities to get a feel for what it might be like to work in that field. Some employers include presentations, case problems, or activities to give participants a better understanding of the company and industry. Often times a tour of the company is included and employers will ask Badger alumni to participate so that students can network with former UW-Madison students. Many employers provide resume, interviewing, and networking advice that participants can use as they search for internships and jobs in the future. View sample job shadow itineraries from past years here.

What Students Say

“I learned so much about Marketing and all the areas that existed which I never even knew about. They [the employer] also coached us on what to put on our resumes and how to answer certain interview questions. I got a chance to network with the recruiters, department vice presidents, and even the COO and CFO… and now maintain email contact with them and am confident that my Sophomore Shadow experience alone will be more than enough to get me an internship this summer as well as next. So amazing. Thank you so much for this opportunity. I felt like I learned more about myself, my major, and my interests and strengths by visiting.”

“The whole day was an experience I could not be more thankful for. Being able to see projects that the employees were currently working on, sitting in on a process where ideas were formulated, a resume workshop where excellent examples from their applicant pool were shown... everything I experienced during my shadow will be integrated into my internship and early career search.”

How It Works

Attend a Sophomore Shadow Information Session to learn more. Then apply for up to 15 job shadow opportunities posted in BuckyNet by the job shadow application deadline (see timeline below). The more job shadow applications submitted, the higher the likelihood of being matched with an employer.

  • Employers review applications and BuckyNet system creates job shadow matches based on students’ career interests and employer rankings.
  • Notification of matching process results is sent to students by late-November.
  • Job shadow visits occur during winter break.


All students must be admitted sophomores or direct admit freshmen in the Wisconsin School of Business or sophomores in the School of Human Ecology.
  • Interested students are strongly encouraged to attend a Sophomore Shadow Information Session prior to applying for shadow opportunities. Students can choose one session from the following three dates: September 23 from 4:30-5:30, October 08 from 12:15-1:15 or October 23 from 5:00-6:00. All sessions will be held in Room 4151 Grainger Hall.
  • All participating students must agree to honor their job shadow appointment and its terms, location, etc. STUDENTS MAY NOT WITHDRAW FROM THEIR JOB SHADOW AFTER A MATCH HAS OCCURRED. Cancellations will result in deactivation from the BuckyNet system.
  • Job shadow matches and participation in the program are not guaranteed, however, typically over 97% of students receive a match. The more opportunities to which you apply the higher the likelihood of being matched.
  • Students assume all monetary expenses, including travel and lodging (when applicable).
  • Participating students must agree to complete an electronic evaluation of their job shadow experience after their visit occurs. The Wisconsin BBA uses all participants’ feedback to continually assess the program and need participants’ insight to make improvements in the future.

Program Timeline 2013-2014

  • September 23, 2013: Sophomore Shadow Information Session #1 (4:30-5:30 p.m.)*
  • October 01, 2013: Student résumé submission begins on BuckyNet
  • October 08, 2013: Sophomore Shadow Information Session #2 (12:15-1:15 p.m.)*
  • October 23, 2013: Sophomore Shadow Information Session #3 (5:00-6:00 p.m.)*
  • October 31, 2013: Deadline to submit résumés for shadow opportunities
  • November 26, 2013: Notification of match occurs
  • November 26-December 4, 2013: Employers will contact matched students to discuss shadow details
  • January 6-17, 2014: Job shadow visits occur
  • January 21, 2014: Employer and students evaluations distributed electronically
Students only need to attend one Sophomore Shadow Information Session. Check Today in Grainger Hall for room location.


Informational Interviews

Informational interviews provide an opportunity for you to interview industry professionals about their careers so you can gain a better understanding of what it is like to work in a particular industry. Informational interviews are also a great way to gain leads on potential internships or full-time jobs, help you stand out as a candidate and develop your business acumen (remember an informational interview is not a job interview or a request for a job). The Wisconsin BBA program HIGHLY RECOMMENDS that you conduct several informational interviews during your time as a Wisconsin School of Business student!

  • Brainstorm Your List of Contacts
  • Reach Out to Contacts Professionally
  • Tips to Prepare
  • Sample Questions
  • Follow-Up

Brainstorm Your List of Contacts

Don’t know anyone who could possibly help you? You may not realize it, but as a Wisconsin School of Business student you are part of a community of peers and professionals that are often more than willing to assist you in your career quest. These are some groups of individuals you can add to your brainstorming list. Write down everyone you can think of and fine tune your list later.

Learn more about reaching out to those you know

Reach out to contacts professionally

When you have decided whom you want to contact from your brainstorming list, let them know you are looking for information and advice, not a job. Here is sample correspondence. Email is the most appropriate form of communication when introducing yourself.

Tips to Prepare

  • Arrive to the appointment 5 to 10 minutes early.
  • Dress professionally.
  • Be completely prepared – remember they are doing you a favor.
  • Remember you are in the “driver’s seat” in this interview – keep the conversation going and be ready with your questions.
  • Get to the point quickly. Their time is precious, so use it effectively. You don't need to start with much small talk or "work your way up to" the real questions.
  • Be a good listener. It's OK to take notes, try not to write down every word they say.
  • Ask probing follow-up questions if their answers are not rich with useful information.
  • Be prepared to fully explain your questions. They may ask, "What do you mean by that?" Or ''regarding what?''
  • Do not go over the allotted time. Keep track of time and move through the questions so you get a broad base of information.
  • Don't make the person feel like you expect them to find you a job or internship. This will sour any future possibilities of follow-up meetings and also jeopardize possible relationships with their company.
  • Demonstrate you are being proactive with your intern/job search.
  • Be prepared to discuss your own goals, experience and progress, if asked.
  • Be sure to thank the person and follow-up with a thank you note.
  • Leave a positive impression on this person because they might be of assistance to you again in the future.

Sample Questions

  • How did you come to pick this occupation?
  • How did you get your start in this field?
  • What is your typical day like?
  • Is this position fairly typical, or is it different in any way based on the size of the company or in this particular industry?
  • How has your occupation changed since you began? How will these changes affect someone like me who will be entering the field in the near future?
  • What part of your job would you like to change?
  • Where do you see the future of this occupation?
  • In what ways does this occupation satisfy any personal interests you might have?
  • If you were to develop a to-do list, what current skills would you like to upgrade and what new skills would you like to acquire?
  • Do you belong to any professional organizations?
  • What industry or professional publications do you recommend I follow?
  • Would you mind doing a quick critique of my resume?
  • Where do I need to improve myself to become a better candidate?
  • How would you recommend I go about an effective search for a full-time position or internship for summer?
  • Can you think of anyone else I should talk to? Would you mind if I used your name when I contact him/her?


  • Send a thank you note as promptly as possible.
  • Make notes of your conversation – this will help you write your thank you note and give you topics to refer to when you speak again.
  • Keep in touch with your contact every few months through quick notes or emails to let them know of your new achievements or job search progress. After working so hard to build your network, you need to give it a little attention every once in awhile to ensure that it remains healthy.

Resumes & Cover Letters

The Wisconsin BBA Advising Center, 3150 Grainger Hall, offers several resources to help you evaluate what’s important to you, learn about business careers and industries and put all the pieces together. It’s not an easy process and we won’t be able to just tell you what you should do, but we are eager to help you through the exciting, yet overwhelming process.

  • Résumé Action Verbs
  • Write Better Bullet Points
  • Résumé and Cover Letter Format and Samples
  • Reference Sheet

Résumé Action Verbs

Which of the following phrases would a recruiter prefer to read on a student’s résumé? 

A: Being on this committee required deciding on transportation and budget issues, etc.
B: Secured roundtrip transportation and daily subway passes for 15 students participating in Chicago company visit trip and stayed with $250 budget

The answer is B! Start every bulleted phrase on your résumé with an action verb and grab the employer’s attention.

Click here for a list of action verbs.

Write Better Bullet Points

It’s hard to write bullet points on your resume.  It’s even harder to write excellent bullet points.  Work to make your resume accomplishments-driven instead of duties-driven.  More specifically you can:  

  • Explain why the task was important
  • Quantify when possible
  • Describe how you performed your duties
  • Share your impact on the organization

Résumé and Cover Letter Format and Samples

Each cover letter should be unique, original, and professional. Your cover letter serves as an introduction to the résumé and is designed to create interest on the part of the employer to really read the résumé and not merely glance at it. The letter should be one page in length and consist of three to four paragraphs. The first should be the introduction, the second two to three paragraphs demonstrate why you are suited for the position, and the final paragraph is a short conclusion.


Click Here to Download Sample Résumés and Cover Letters

Reference Sheet

Secure 3-5 references when you begin applying for internships and full-time positions.  Contact your references before you list them on your reference sheet to confirm that they will serve as a positive reference for you and to provide them with information about potential employers who may contact them in the near future.

Click here to view a sample

Resumes & Cover Letters

Steps to Write a Business Resume

Think of it this way: Employers are your target audience, and cover letters and resumes are your best marketing tools. They pique employers’ interest. They tell a story about who you are, what you value, and where you’ve been. And they create employers’ first impression of you. So, it goes without saying that you should lavish as much care on them as you would work you would do for a client.

  • Name & Contact Information
  • Objective (Optional)
  • Education
  • Experience
  • Activities
  • Actuarial Science Exams & VEE Requirements (If Relevant)
  • Technical Skills, Global Profile & Honors (If Relevant)

Name & Contact Information

Sample Contact Information

Pat Fiedler
1234 Mound Street
Madison, WI 53715

  • Include name, address, phone number and e-mail address
  • May include both a permanent and current address if relevant
  • Make name stand out on the resume


Sample Objective

Seeking a credit analyst position with a mid-sized bank where strong Excel and quantitative skills are valued.

Sample Objective

To obtain a marketing internship with a company seeking social media experience and web design skills.

  • Objective section is optional
  • Objective is not necessary when including a cover letter
  • Particularly useful for CIB and non-business students seeking business positions
  • Should not state the obvious or focus on what you can get out of the position, for example: "seeking learning opportunities" or "looking for challenging position"
  • Objective should be tailored to each company and position


Sample Education

University of Wisconsin-Madison - Madison- WI
Bachelor of Business Administration degree, May 201X
Double Major: Major X; Major Y
Overall GPA: 3.44/4.0
Financing 80% of education

University of International Business and Economics - Beijing, China
Study Abroad Programs, January 201X- May 201X

  • Omit high school information
  • Graduation months are December, May or August
  • Transfer students: List UW-Madison first and include previously attended institution(s)
  • Actuarial Science majors: List exams and VEE requirements in separate sections titled Actuarial Exams and VEE Courses immediately following the education section
  • Information Systems majors: List names of IS courses that have been completed or are in progress in a separate section (other majors SHOULD NOT include coursework)
  • Non-MAcc Accounting majors: Include "Graduating with 150 credits" if you will be qualified to sit for the CPA exam
  • Include licensures and certifications in separate section with the exception of students who have passed or plan to sit for the PHR certification. Include PHR information in Education section.


Sample Experience

                     Employer Name
- City, State
                     Position Title (Month, Year - Month, Year)

                     Insert bulleted text here

  • List accomplishments/responsibilities/outcomes
  • Provide results/outcomes when possible
  • Quantify accomplishments/tasks when possible
  • Start each bullet point with an action verb
  • Avoid phrases such as "duties included..." or "responsible for..."
  • Complete sentences should not be used
  • Avoid using personal pronouns such as "I", "me", "our", etc.
  • Avoid using abbreviations
  • Keep in mind that resume reviewers may not understand company specific jargon
  • Refrain from including website URLs and company descriptions in most cases
  • Utilize proper verb tense


Sample Activities


Student/ Community Organization - (Month, Year - Month, Year)
Leadership Title (Month, Year - Month, Year)

Insert bulleted text here

  • List dates for overall involvement and, if relevant, dates that leadership position was held
  • Start each bullet point with an action verb
  • Avoid phrases such as "duties included..." or "responsible for..."
  • Complete sentences should not be used
  • Avoid using personal pronouns such as "I", "me", "our", etc.
  • Be specific - quantify accomplishments/tasks when possible
  • Provide results/outcomes when possible
  • Avoid using abbreviations
  • Utilize proper verb tense

Actuarial Science Exams & VEE Requirements

Sample Actuarial Science Exams

Passed Exams P and FM
Scheduled to take Exam MLC, May 201X

Sample VEE Courses

Fulfilled VEE requirements in Economics, Statistical Methods and Corporate Finance

  • Actuarial Science majors must take a series of exams in their field and should list the ones they have passed and the ones they are scheduled to take.

Technical Skills, Global Profile & Honors

Sample Technical Skills

  • Experienced user of Microsoft Word and Excel
  • Working knowledge of Microsoft PowerPoint and Access
  • Proficient in Spanish

Global Profile

  • Semi-fluent in Korean
  • Lived in South Korea for eight months; Traveled to China, Japan, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand


  • Dean's List ( Six Semesters)
  • Northwestern Mutual Life Scholarship, September 201X
  • Actuarial Science Scholarship, September 201X & May 201X

Learn more


Networking doesn’t have to be shrouded in mystery, nor does it have to be fake. Let’s say you work part-time at a non-profit whose mission you believe in. You would attend the non-profit’s events and talk to your friends and classmates about your job, right? Well, that’s networking. It’s connecting with people and really caring.

  • What is Networking?
  • Types of Networking
  • Importance of Networking

What is Networking?

Connecting with people (friends, family, professionals, acquaintances) who can provide information about:

  • Career Options
  • Full-time Career & Internship Openings
  • Industry Perspectives
  • Personal Development
  • Social Activities

The cultivation of productive relationships for employment, business and personal reasons is a two-way street!

Types of Networking

Call or Email to a Referral

  • Contacting someone you were referred to

Acquaintance at an Event 

  • Beginning an impromptu conversation at a job fair, social occasion, conference

“Cold” Call or Email

  • Contacting someone you don’t know to establish a professional relationship

Chance Meeting

  • Striking up a conversation in a social or informal setting

Importance of Networking

Did You Know?

  • Nearly 70% of all jobs are found through networking
  • At least 50% of jobs that are filled are never advertised
  • Most people have 250 contacts

Why Network?

  • Stay connected to key people and ideas
  • Boost your credibility
  • Establish professional friendships that you may call upon for action
  • Sharpen your perception of the industry you work in
  • Validate your career choices by investigating day-to-day experiences in the field
  • Learn interview skills w/out pressure of actual interview
  • Gain job leads (uncover the “hidden job market”)
  • Learn your industry’s “lingo”
  • Gain company information for a cover letter that will make a positive impression
  • Prepare for a future career with a particular firm


Create Your Networking Game Plan

Bring your freshest thinking to your networking strategy. You never know where you might find inspiration or ideas!

  • Step One: Be Strategic
  • Step Two: Develop Your Targets
  • Step Three: Prepare to Launch
  • Step Four: Make This Part of Your Everyday!
  • Game Plan Tips

Be Strategic

  • Goals of Networking?
  • Who are you targeting?
  • Develop your timeline
  • Have your resume reviewed

Develop Your Targets

  • Identify your contacts
  • Prioritize your contacts into levels A, B and C
  • Create your contact management system

Prepare to Launch

  • Draft emails of introduction
  • Research!
  • Coordinate informational interviews
  • Follow up and follow through
  • Network through social media

Make this part of your everyday!

Game Plan Tips

Create Networking Business Cards

Create your own business cards in the Wisconsin BBA Interview and Program Center, room 3290 Grainger Hall. Once approved, pick up prints in the Grainger Hall Copy Center.

Utilize Campus Alumni Databases

Wisconsin Business Alumni Database

Wisconsin Alumni Association Database


Secrets to Networking Success

Create your own secrets for success. Staying updated and informed pays off.

  • Effective Networks Always Respect
  • Tips for Re-Engaging Your Network
  • Networking Tips for the Timid
  • Mastering Art of Small Talk

Effective Networkers Always Respect:

  • Time: Don’t ask for too much or too little.  Mind the clock.
  • Referrals and Offers to Help: Show gratitude when employers offer to help.  Follow up promptly on referrals and keep the contact posted.
  • Confidentiality: Don’t attribute info to a contact w/out reflecting on whether the disclosure will compromise the person.
  • The Value of Gratitude: Communicate appreciation at the meeting.  Send a thank you e-mail.  Send a holiday or birthday card.
  • A Two Way Exchange: Share information that may be valued by your contact.
  • Keeping Contacts Informed: Keep your contacts updated on your progress throughout the job search.
  • Organization: Create a contact management system that works for you.

Tips for Re-Engaging Your Network

  • Always close a conversation with another suggested point of follow up
  • Jot down key points and interests of the contact so that you can follow up with relevant articles, ads, stories, books, etc
  • Schedule consistent checkpoints with your contacts to keep the network alive

Networking Tips for the Timid


  • People enjoy helping others
  • Information and advice are free to give; jobs aren’t
  • People enjoy talking about themselves
  • People enjoy breaks in routine
  • A half hour is not too much time for most people to spare


  • Begin networking with people whom you feel most comfortable – “Low Threat” contacts like family and close friends
  • Create a plan and stick to it
  • Practice what you say before you call; jot it down
  • Write down questions before the conversation
  • Contact people when your energy is highest

Mastering Art of Small Talk

What do I say?

  • Hot topics: sports, books, movies, food, museums, travel
  • Toxic topics: health, love life, gossip, politics, religion

The Opening Line

  • Be enthusiastic and welcoming

Keep Conversation Flowing

  • Orchestrate - don’t monopolize
  • Ask an “open-ended” question and listen to the response
  • Engage in two-way dialogue
  • Close: “Wow, that’s interesting.  It just so happens that what you do matches my career interests. Would you mind if I gave you a call next week to talk about your experience?”

The Ending – Be Positive!

  • Ask for a business card
  • Follow up!

Job & Internship Search Strategies

Think strategically to succeed. Stay informed by networking in the way that's right for you and by doing research.

  • On-Campus Interviewing
  • On-Campus Recruiting Calendar
  • Job & Internship Postings
  • Career Fairs
  • Sophomore Shadow Program
  • Employer Information Sessions
  • Tips to Conduct an Effective Job Search

On-Campus Interviewing

On-campus recruiting activities provide students with the opportunity to connect with employers who visit campus to interview for their internship and full-time positions. Nearly 400 employers choose to visit the UW-Madison campus to recruit business students each year.  

BuckyNet is your primary tool for learning about on-campus recruiting activities and applying for actual opportunities.

On-Campus Interviews

Interview for internships and full-time jobs without leaving campus!  Each semester, local, national and international employers conduct on-campus interviews with students in the Wisconsin BBA Interview and Program Center, 3290 Grainger Hall.  Although on-campus interviews take place throughout the fall and spring semester, over half are conducted during the fall semester.  Prepare for your campus interview just as you would for an on-site interview at an employer’s office.

Late Cancellation & No-Show Policy Learn more

Fall 2012

  • Sept. 4 Instruction Begins
  • Sept. 20 Fall Career & Internship Fair 2012
  • Sept. 17-18 Rosh Hashanah (No Recruiting Events)
  • Sept. 26 Yom Kippur (No Recruiting Events)
  • Sept. 27Actuarial Science & Risk Management Career Fair
  • Oct. 1 On-Campus Interviews Start
  • Nov. 22 – 25 Thanksgiving Recess
  • Nov. 30 On-Campus Interviews End
  • Dec. 14 Last Class Day
  • Dec. 16 – 22 Exam Period
  • December 16 Commencement
  • Dec. 23 – Jan. 21 Winter Recess

Spring 2013

  • Jan. 3-18 Sophomore Shadow Program
  • Jan. 21 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
  • Jan. 22 Instruction begins
  • Jan. 28 On-Campus Interviews Start
  • Feb. 4 Spring Career & Internship Fair
  • Feb. 18 Real Estate Career Fair
  • Mar. 23-31 Spring recess
  • Mar. 26-27 Passover
  • Mar. 29 Good Friday
  • May 3  On-Campus Interviews End
  • May 10 Last Day of Classes
  • May 17-19 Commencement Weekend
  • May 18 Exams end

Job & Internship Postings

In addition to on-campus interview opportunities, employers post internship and full-time job vacancies on BuckyNet. If you are selected for an interview, you will visit the employer’s office for the first-round interview.

Career Fairs

Career fairs give you an opportunity to network with employers, showcase your strengths as a candidate, and ask in-depth, well-researched questions about their positions and their company.  A career fair is not the place where you will get a job, but it can determine whether you receive an interview. Many employers make decisions about who they select to interview based on the interaction they have with a candidate at the fair. 

  • Use BuckyNet to research the companies attending the fair.
  • Review their available jobs and internships, and visit their company websites (also found in BuckyNet).
  • Have a solid understanding of the services and products produced by each company you plan to speak with at the fair.
  • Get more tips on how to prepare for the fair

Sophomore Shadow Program

Get an up-close look at a company or industry by “shadowing” professionals (often UW alumni) through a normal day on the job. Click here to learn more.

Employer Information Sessions

An Employer Information Session is a one-hour presentation and reception sponsored by a company, usually held in the evening at Grainger Hall. Companies present information regarding their hiring process, company benefits, and available positions. Typically, there is a formal presentation, followed by a question and answer period. If you are interviewing with a company, it is strongly recommended that you attend their Information Session as valuable information will be presented that will assist you with the actual interview.

Tips to Conduct an Effective Job Search

  1. Be proactive! About 80% of jobs are never advertised. Go beyond BuckyNet and approach companies that interest you, even if they do not have positions posted.
  2. Make sure everyone in your network knows you are looking for a job or internship and what kind of position you are seeking. Speak with your parents’ friends, family, friends’ parents, professors, service providers (dentist, doctor, hairstylist, etc.), previous and current supervisors, and co-workers.
  3. Conduct informational interviews with professionals in your industry of interest. Ask them about their career path, how they got their current position, and what advice they have for someone starting in the field.
  4. Be unique and stand out from other job seekers. Figure out your “story” and articulate it to potential employers and those with whom you network.
  5. Have alternative options. Identify and work toward your dream job target, but have a plan B and plan C. Look for jobs and internships that will allow you to develop the skills you will need to get your dream job in the future.
  6. Use LinkedIn to network with professionals online.
  7. Be the youngest person in the room. Join a professional association for your industry and attend networking events and conferences. Most organizations have student rates that are less expensive. Employers and contacts will be impressed at your initiative and motivation.
  8. Attend Business Basics Seminars to polish up on your job search skills.
  9. Always tailor résumés and cover letters to a particular employer. Do not just list your skills, but show the employer how your skills and experiences are a good fit for the position and the company.
  10. Practice your “elevator speech” and make sure it is informative, dynamic, and concise. Be able to explain who you are, what you’ve done, and what you are looking to do in 30-60 seconds.

Click here to see more tips to conduct an effective job search.


Direct Job & Internship Search

BuckyNet and campus career fairs are great resources, but they are not the only way to find a job or internship.  Utilize as many resources as possible during your search to increase your chance of landing the right position for you. Also see our guide to the Sports as well as Entertainment industries.

  • Network, Network, Network
  • Research Employers
  • Company Lists
  • Industry-Specific Websites/Professional Associations
  • Geographical Resources
  • General Job Search Sites
  • True Life: I'm an Intern

Network, Network, Network

Networking is a powerful tool that can help you discover internship and full-time job opportunities.  The term “networking” sounds intimidating to most of us.  When it comes to your job search it basically boils down to having conversations about your professional interests and skills and asking for career advice from professionals working in industries you are interested in pursuing.  If you establish a rapport with a professional you will learn about the industry/company and you may get the “inside scoop” on internship and job opportunities.  UW-Madison alumni are often great professionals to “network” with.

Before you start networking, have an idea about the kind of position(s) you want.  This will help you describe your goals with confidence. Check out the Wisconsin BBA program's career tools to help you network successfully.

Interested in a particular company and don’t see a position with the company listed on BuckyNet?  Go directly to the employer’s website. Their “careers” section will feature available jobs and internships.  Employers that hire a large number of college students may have a special section describing their entry-level positions and their recruiting process.

Research Employers

Employers say college students demonstrate a lack of knowledge about the POSITION and the COMPANY during the recruiting process. Don't let that be you! Learn More

Employer Websites

Interested in a particular company and don't see a position with the company listed on BuckyNet? Go directly to the employer's website. Their "careers" section will feature available jobs and internships. Employers that hire a large number of college students may have a special section describing their entry-level positions and their recruiting process.

Compare Employers

Be sure to take time to thoroughly examine all your opportunities. Sites like FindTheCompany allow you to research and compare your options side by side so you can make an informed decision when applying for positions.


Company Lists

Sometimes it is helpful to develop a list of potential employers who offer internship and job opportunities in your career industry of interest.  The following resources provide you with lists of leading companies in different markets

Industry-Specific Websites/Professional Associations

Professional association websites and websites dedicated to a particular industry usually have a “career” section with internship and full-time job listings.

Geographical Resources

If you want to work in a particular city or geographic location, narrow your search by compiling a list of potential employers in that area.

General Job Search Sites

General job search sites should be one part of a comprehensive job or internship search, but not your only tool. Some websites to consider: indeed.com, simplyhired.com, careerbuilder.com, monster.com, or the "Jobs" section of linkedin.com.  

True Life: I'm an Intern

"True Life: I'm an Intern" chronicles the internship experiences of Wisconsin BBA students and the employers who hire them. View the videos on the Wisconsin BBA YouTube channel.


Job and Internship Listing Websites

  • Accounting
  • Actuarial Science
  • Advertising and Public Relations
  • Consulting
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Finance, Investment & Banking
  • General
  • Government
  • Human Resources
  • Information Systems
  • International Business
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • Nonprofit & Social Service
  • Operations
  • Real Estate
  • Risk Management & Insurance
  • Sports and Entertainment
  • Supply Chain
  • Sustainability

Accounting Websites

Finance, Investment & Banking Websites

Information Systems Websites

Management Websites

Nonprofit & Social Service Websites

Sustainability Websites


Internship Experience Credits

The Wisconsin School of Business offers business students two options for receiving credit for an internship. General Business 450 provides internship credit for summer or part-time semester internships. General Business 451 provides internship credit for extended internships. To receive credit for an internship, a student must obtain administrator approval. Contact the Wisconsin BBA Advising Center (wibbaadvising@bus.wisc.edu or 608.262.0471) for questions about these courses.

  • General Business 450
  • General Business 451

Credit for Internship Experience (Gen Bus 450)

A business student may earn credit for professional experiences in business acquired through internship positions. To receive credit for an internship, a student must obtain approval and enroll for General Business (Gen Bus) 450 - Professional Experience in Business.

To learn more about eligibility, course policies, authorization, enrollment verification, and essay assignments, click here.

Please contact Amanda Truppe (atruppe@bus.wisc.edu) with questions.

Credit for Extended Internship Experience (Gen Bus 451)

A business student may earn credit for professional extended experiences in business acquired through internship positions that last for six to eight months. To receive credit for an internship, a student must set up a meeting with the course administrators to be given permission to enroll in the class. Contact Amanda Truppe (atruppe@bus.wisc.edu) with questions.

A student may not receive credit for an internship by enrolling for an Independent Study or Readings and Research course. 

To learn more about eligibility, course policies, authorization, enrollment verification, and essay assignments, click here.


Applying to Graduate School

Approximately 15% of Wisconsin School of Business graduates attend graduate school directly after graduation and nearly 50% of graduates expect to pursue an advanced degree program within 5 years of graduation. 

Attending graduate school is a big commitment and needs careful consideration. Unlike undergraduate education, graduate school is a specialized, in-depth education within your chosen discipline. Graduate level education may or may not be the best option for you.

Things to Consider:

  • Is an MBA Right for Me?
  • Research Programs
  • Testing
  • The Application
  • The Essay
  • Letters of Recommendation
  • Financial Aid

Is an MBA right for me?

Although MBA programs vary, most require candidates to have 3-5 years of professional full-time work experience before applying.  Learn more about MBA degree programs:

Official MBA Guide
Bloomberg Businessweek B-School News

Research Programs

Take the time to learn about which program is right for you.  Meet with faculty and current students. Tour the campus if possible.  Ask for information about what graduates of their program go on to do after graduation.  Understand what material you will be learning in the class room.  Research the length and cost of the program as well as available financial assistance. Understand the reputation of the program and faculty. Begin your research at MBA.com, GradSchools.com and Peterson’s.


Most graduate and professional schools require test scores for admission. MBA programs usually require the Graduate Management Admission Test GMAT. The Graduate Record Exam GRE is required by many academic programs (master and doctoral degree programs). Other tests are required in specialized fields such as the LSAT for law school and the MCAT for medical school.  The TOEFL English proficiency test is for international students.

The Application

Candidates must complete an application form and will have to submit official transcripts from all institutions attended.  Remember, there is usually an application fee you must pay to each school to apply to.

The Essay

As part of your application, most graduate schools give you an opportunity to elaborate on your background in a personal essay. The content of your essay will be defined by the guidelines outlined on the application. Some programs will provide little structure, allowing you to choose the aspects of your background you wish to highlight. For others you may be asked to respond to specific questions. The essay is your chance to elaborate on your understanding of the discipline, your academic endeavors, and ideas for future career directions.

Letters of Recommendation

Letters of recommendation are required for almost every graduate school application. Although it can vary, generally, you will be asked for three letters.  The best letter writers are those who know you well and can provide an evaluation of your ability to perform and succeed at the graduate level.  It is best to request letters when your work habits, skills and interests are fresh in the writer’s mind.

Financial Aid

Financial aid is available for many graduate programs.  Common types of financial aid include company tuition reimbursement programs (companies pay for part of tuition costs if employee stays with organization for certain length of time), assistantships (receive reduced tuition fee for campus-affiliated work assignment), fellowships (awarded for research projects), loans (available through government programs and private sources) and scholarships (awarded based on merit, financial need, area of study, etc.)

Interviews & Landing the Job

Tips to Prepare for Your Interview

  • Sample Interview Questions
  • Behavioral-Based Interviews
  • B-A-R Method for Behavioral Based Questions
  • Interviewers Are Looking For...
  • Mock Interviews
  • Late Cancellation/No-Show Policy

Sample Interview Questions

You may be asked many different types of questions during job interviews (click here for Fair Employment Law information). Below are sample questions to help you begin preparing for your next interview.

Company or Position-Specific Questions

  • What made you decide to interview with our company?
  • What is the most appealing aspect of our company and this particular career opportunity?  Least appealing?
  • Why do you want to join our company?
  • What do you know about our company?

Educational Background

  • Why did you select your major?
  • Where do you see yourself in 3-5 years?
  • What was the most interesting class you took?  Least interesting?
  • Tell me about the most significant decision you have made regarding your education.


  • How would you describe the role finance plays in an organization?
  • What are the basic financial statements?
  • What Excel functions do you know?
  • What types of industry software have you used?
  • Please provide a specific example of a time when you conducted P & L or income statement analysis.


  • Tell me about a time you took a leadership role
  • Give an example of a problem you solved and the process you used to arrive at the solution.  
  • Describe a situation in which you had to work with a “very difficult” person.
  • Read more about behavioral-based interviews

Questions to Ask Employers

  • What is the company culture like?
  • Why did you join the company?  What has your career path been like?
  • What significant change has the company experience in the last few years and how would that affect the person hired for this role?
  • What makes an employee successful in your company?
  • What type of training would be provided for the person hired into this role?

Questions You SHOULD NOT Ask

  • Can you tell me what this position is all about?
  • How much money will I be making?
  • How much is the average bonus for a first year employee?
  • What benefits do you offer?
  • What does your compay do?

Behavioral-Based Interviews

Behavioral-based interviews are the most commonly used interviewing format.  Employers feel that past behavior predicts future behavior so rather than asking a candidate, “Are you a motivated individual?” the interviewer will ask, “Tell me about a time when a project could not have been completed without your assistance.”  The interviewer wants to hear about a time you have actually used the skill they value. See sample questions below.


  • Give me an example of a time when you went above and beyond the call of duty.
  • Describe a situation when you were able to have a positive influence on the action of others.

Decision-Making and Problem-Solving

  • Give me an example of a time when you had to make a decision but did not have enough information.
  • Give me an example of a time when you had to be quick when making a decision.
  • Describe a time when someone came to you to help solve a problem.
  • Sometimes it's easy to “get in over our heads”. Describe a situation in which you had to request help on one of your projects or assignments.
  • Tell me about a time when you successfully solved a problem because you took the time to look at the “whole” problem. What did you do? What happened?


  • What is the toughest group from which you have had to get cooperation?
  • Have you ever had difficulty getting others to accept your ideas? What was your approach? Did it work?


  • Tell me about a situation when you had to speak up (be assertive) in order to get a point across that was important to you.
  • Have you ever had to "sell" an idea to your co-workers or group? How did you do it? Did they "buy" it?

Interpersonal Skills

  • What have you done in the past to contribute toward a teamwork environment?
  • Describe a recent unpopular decision you made and what the result was.
  • Tell me about a time when you changed your interpersonal style midstream because something wasn't working?

Planning and Organization

  • What do you do when your schedule is suddenly interrupted? Give an example.
  • Tell me about a time when you made personal sacrifices to meet the demands of a job.

Customer Service

  • When was the last time someone lost you as a customer? Why?
  • Describe a time when you were irritated by a customer.  

Handling Ambiguity

  • Tell me about a time when you had a problem where you just didn't know what to do.
  • What did you do when someone important asked you a question you could not answer?
  • Tell me a time when you had to learn a new procedure/process in order to do your job successfully.


  • Tell me about a time when you had to deal with an arrogant, condescending person or one who made you angry.
  • Tell me about a time when someone pushed you to the limit.
  • Tell me about a time when your boss asked you to do something you didn't think was appropriate. How did you respond?

B-A-R Method for Behavioral Based Questions

When formulating responses to behavioral-based questions use the B-A-R method:


Give the interviewer just enough details about the situation you are describing so they understand the circumstances.

Question: Give me an example of a time when you motivated others.

Answer: I was captain of my intramural volleyball team that was playing for the all-campus championship. The team we were playing against had much taller players, and some were graduate students who had played on their college teams. Several of the players on our team thought we had no chance to win and even talked about forfeiting


Convey the actions you took, decisions you made and/or thought process behind your behavior in the situation

Question: Give me an example of a time when you motivated others.

Answer: I acknowledged how challenging the game would be. But I also talked to the players about how many tough matches we had won to get where we were. And as sort of a joke I offered to wash my teammates’ cars if we won.


Share the results of your actions, what you have learned and how it will help you in the future.

Question: Give me an example of a time when you motivated others.

Answer: We played really inspired volleyball and we barely lost to a much taller and more physically gifted team. We came together as a team during that match and everyone supported one another. On a number of occasions I was reminded about how many cars I’d be washing if we won. I learned how well people respond when you are willing to make a personal sacrifice to help the team succeed.

Interviewers Are Looking For...

For each position, employers will identify key skills and competencies required to perform the job well.  The employer will select interview questions that elicit detailed responses.  Examples of competencies employers look for include:

  • Analytical Ability
  • Decision-Making/ Problem Solving
  • Interpersonal Skills
  • Leadership
  • Teamwork
  • Self-Confidence
  • Inititative/ Motivation
  • Communication Skills
  • Ethical Behavior/ Professionalism/ Integrity
  • Cultural Adaptability
  • Composure
  • Planning/ Organization

Mock Interviews

The Wisconsin BBA program organizes employer mock interviews at the start of each semester. Log-in to BuckyNet and search for "mock" in the "Jobs" section of BuckyNet to find available practice interview opportunities.

Find out about mock interviews here (click on the Workshops & Mock Interviews tab).

Late Cancellation/No-Show Policy

Wisconsin BBA program on-campus interviews and mock interviews may be cancelled or changed online in BuckyNet before the sign-up end date without any penalty (the sign-up end date for each on-campus interview and mock interview is subject to change but is typically three business days before the interview). The deadline for cancelling or changing interviews is set by the employer and is publicized for each position in BuckyNet as the sign-up end date. Online changes or cancellations made before the sign-up end date may be made without notification to the employer or to the Wisconsin BBA Interview and Program Center (IPC), 3290 Grainger Hall.

Students requesting that interviews be cancelled after the sign-up end date or students who fail to report to an on-campus interview will:

  • Have their BuckyNet account blocked
  • Need to meet with their career advisor
  • Need to write an apology email to the company recruiter

Students requesting that interviews be cancelled after the specified sign-up end date (typically three business days before an interview) are required to contact the Wisconsin BBA Interview and Program Center.

A student's BuckyNet account will not be unblocked until all steps are completed and a determination is made about his/her interview status. Please contact the IPC at 608-262-2550 with questions regarding this policy. Please note that classes, current employment, group projects, or homework are not valid reasons to cancel interviews, as all interviews are scheduled in advance.


What to Research about Employers

Researching employers and positions is a crucial part of the internship and job search process. Sites like Glassdoor make it easy to take notes on different interviews and positions. Below is information about what to research about employers and where to find this information.

  • Organizational Profile
  • Organizational Culture
  • Organizational Performance
  • Where to Research Employers

Organizational Profile

  • Company history
  • Size/number of employees
  • Location – regional, national, multinational
  • Products and services
  • Competitors
  • Types of jobs available
  • Key executives
  • Employment benefits

Organizational Culture

  • Company philosophy
  • Goals and objectives
  • Reputation
  • Work environment
  • Inclusivity, diversity, community outreach
  • Average age of employees and average length of employment with the company
  • Union vs. non-union hires

Organizational Performance

  • Earnings
  • Company growth
  • Achievements and accolades
  • Initiatives – sustainability efforts, efficiency, outsourcing
  • International activity


Types of Interviews

Interviews are where you "go live." Practice and preparation definitely give you an advantage. You can stay on point by continuously learning and observing.

  • Telephone Interviews
  • Videoconference Interviews
  • Case Interviews
  • Site Interviews

Telephone Interviews

  • Schedule it for a time when you can give it 100 percent of your attention and take the call in a quiet place.
  • Jot down points you want to make, a list of your skills and accomplishments with examples, and questions to ask the employer.
  • Keep a copy of your resume and the job description near the phone.
  • Ask for clarification if necessary and think out your responses clearly before you answer.
  • Pay close attention.  You can’t count on clues from an interviewer’s body language, eye contact, or other such signs. Instead listen to their voice pattern, and you must use your own voice--simple, direct, enthusiastic responses--to keep the conversation interesting and easy to follow.
  • Don't speak just to fill space.  When you finish speaking there may be a pause as the interviewer finishes writing notes. 
  • Show enthusiasm for the position—be sure to smile—it can come through in your voice.  If you sit during the interview, sit up straight so your voice will project better.
  • Avoid saying “ah, er, um.” These non-words are more noticeable on the phone.
  • Make sure you get the name of the person who called.
  • Have your calendar in front of you to set up another interview.
  • Reaffirm your interest and say thank you.  Find out what happens next in the process.
  • Follow up with a thank-you note.  Your goal is to get face-to-face in the next round.

Phone Interviewing Success
Five Ways to Do Better in Phone Interviews

Videoconference Interviews

A videoconference interview may be conducted in order to save on travel costs. Some employers use Skype and others may set up a videoconference interview with the Wisconsin BBA Interview and Program Center, 3290 Grainger Hall. Here are tips for videoconference interviews:

  • Treat your video interview as seriously as any other interview. Be on time and prepared.
  • Conduct the videoconference interviews in a neutral, quiet room. The recruiter can see and hear everything that goes on in your room during the interview.
  • Dark clothing is best suited for a video interview. Avoid fabrics with busy patterns and do not wear solid white or red; these colors do not come across well.
  • Look into the camera while speaking instead of looking into the monitor showing the faces of the long-distance participants.
  • Speak clearly and slowly. You do not need to shout.  Allow the other party to finish speaking before beginning your response. There may be delays during the conversation.
  • Small gestures and nervous habits are magnified on camera, so necktie-flipping, hair smoothing, paper clip-twisting and pen-jiggling should be tamed.
  • Avoid commenting “on-air” before or after the interview. These comments will be broadcasted to your interviewers.
  • Smile during the interview
  • Relax and be yourself. Your personality and qualifications will come across well during the video interview.
  • Like any other type of interview…follow up with a thank you note!

Case Interviews

Case questions are especially common in business fields such as consulting, finance and accounting.  Here you can read more about case interviews and find resources to help you prepare for your upcoming case interview.

View Types of Case Interviews

Approach to Case Interviews

Employing a structured approach is a critical component of a successful case interview. The approach outlined in this diagram can be a good strategy to use during a case interview.

Sample Frameworks

These frameworks are suggested to help you structure your thoughts and recognize possible central issues in cases. Not all case interview questions require a framework and you should not try to force a framework on a problem. Use them to help you be creative when looking at a business problem.

Sample Framework


Vault Guide to the Case Interview
WetFeet Ace Your Case
McKinsey & Company Tips & Practice Cases
Case in Point (check out book from the Wisconsin BBA program Library)

Learn about site interviews on the next page.


Site Interviews

Once you’ve made it through the first (and second) round(s) of interviewing, the company is serious about you as a candidate. The next step is a site visit. Typically, the site interview may include interviews with several company employees. Take advantage of the site visit to compare the company culture and atmosphere with your personality and work preferences.

  • How to Prepare
  • What to Expect
  • What to Look For

How should I prepare?

  • Keep any receipts. Most medium and large sized companies will pay your expenses.
  • Research the company ahead of time. The employer will expect you to be very familiar with them.
  • Study the job description and know exactly what you are interviewing for and why you want the position.
  • Bring extra copies of your resume, transcripts, references, and all employer forms that you have been asked to complete.
  • Bring at least five questions to ask.  Develop lists of different questions tailored to who you are meeting with (e.g., you can ask a human resources representative questions about the company culture whereas you can ask a potential co-worker more detailed questions about job responsibilities).  While you don’t have to ask all of them different questions, remember that they will be discussing the interviews with one another so you want to have some variation.
  • Be prepared to answer the same question several times. During the day you might meet with several people: your potential supervisor, co-workers and a human resources representative. They may ask you the same questions. Be enthusiastic, honest, and consistent in your answers.
  • Since you have already had the initial interview you should be more familiar with the company and the position for which you are interviewing.  Take time to reflect on what went well in the first interview and what you need to improve on.
  • Remember that you are always being evaluated. In group activities and during meals, your ability to work with people and your “fit” in the organization is being observed.
  • Know what to do if you receive an offer on the spot. In most cases, it’s better to think about the offer before accepting or declining. If you do receive a verbal offer and are not ready to make a decision, ask for written confirmation and tell the company when you expect to make a decision. Maintain communication with the company.

What to Expect

How long do site interviews last?

Site interviews may last anywhere from a half day to three days (including travel time). The interview starts from the time you arrive. Generally you will be entertained at a dinner the evening before a full day of interviews, with anywhere from just one up to ten other people. A tour of the facilities is a common aspect of a site interview.  Remember that the social functions and tours are an essential part of the evaluation process; do not let your guard down. Be sure to be well rested, a full day is a long time to be “on,” don’t appear drained or unenthusiastic.

What should I wear?

You may have to dress business casual during travel in order to make a good first impression if someone is picking you up. If you are invited to a dinner the night before, business casual attire is appropriate unless otherwise indicated. For the day of the interview, wear professional attire. If the company tells you to wear business casual clothes to the interview, choose an outfit that is dressy and classy; instead of casual, such as khakis and polo shirts. It is better to be overdressed than underdressed.

Is there testing involved?

There is a lot of variation in site interviews, especially in regards to testing. Some employers will not have any testing, while others will have a variety of assessments or tests.  Common tests used by employers are: group discussions or tasks, personality and aptitude tests, quantitative tests, oral presentations, and written exercises. Click here to read more about each type of test.

What should I look for in a company and its employees during a site interview?

  • Do people seem happy?
  • Do people know each other’s names?
  • Are they enthusiastic about their work?
  • Are they friendly? Do they seem helpful?
  • Does this seem like a good place to work?
  • Do you feel comfortable with the people and the facilities?
  • Remember that the interview is a two-way street. Be observant. What is the atmosphere like? Are employees friendly?  Can you see yourself working there?
  • Remember to ask when you can expect to hear from the employer again. If the employer does not respond within that time, you may phone or email the person who interviewed you to ask about your status.
  • After your visit, send a thank you note within one or two days to all of the individuals who interviewed you.   You should mention what you appreciated from the day’s activities and your interests in both the job and the organization.


Business Attire

Here is a basic breakdown of what to wear to different business events. For more specific do's and don'ts, read on in the "Women's Business Attire" and "Men's Business Attire" links at the bottom of the page.

Business Professional — Interviews, Site Visits, Career Fairs, Mock Interviews

Business Casual — Employer Information Sessions, Etiquette Dinners ("Bite This")

Student Attire — Business Basics Seminars, Pinterest

  • Women's Business Attire Do's
  • Women's Business Attire Don'ts
  • Men's Business Attire Do's
  • Men's Business Attire Don'ts
  • Tips for First Impressions

Women's Business Professional Attire

Suit — A conservative skirt or pants suit in black, navy, gray, or brown is best.

Blouse — Neat, pressed, and clean traditional button-down, collared or simple round neckline shirt in conservative and basic colors such as white or light pastel.

Shoes — Clean and presentable dress shoe in an appropriate color matching your suit. Heels are not required but a classic pump is recommended for a professional look.

Hosiery — Choose a basic color in a sheer style that is appropriate with your suit color.

Accessories & Grooming — If carrying a purse, keep it small and in a matching color. Avoid distracting jewelry, make-up and fingernail polish. Be well-groomed and have freshly pressed clothes. Choose a mint over gum.

Women's Business Casual Attire

Pants — Conservative pressed dress pants in a dark color.

Blouse — Well-pressed button-down, collared dress shirt or blouse. Avoid anything revealing and stick to conservative colors.

Shoes — Clean and presentable dress shoe in an appropriate color matching your pants.

Accessories & Grooming — If carrying a purse, keep it small and in a matching color. Avoid distracting jewelry, make-up and fingernail polish. Choose a mint versus gum.

What Not To Wear

Tops —Tops Tank Tops, Cropped Tops, T-shirts with Slogans, Low-cut Necklines

Pants —Jeans, Leggings, Shorts/Short Skirts, Jogging Pants/Workout Clothes

Color —Bright Colors, Loud Prints, Gimmicky Styles, Outdated Fads, Faded Colors

Shoes —Sandals/Flip-flops, Sneakers, Hiking Boots/Uggs, Stiletto Heels

Accessories & Grooming —Strong, Over-Powering Perfume, Bright Colored Make-up/Nail Polish, Holes in Hosiery, Body/Facial Piercings, Visible Tattoos

Men's Business Professional

Suit — Conservative – black, navy, gray – suit is best. Jacket sleeves should extend to the hand. Suit pants should typically match the jacket.

Shirt — Pressed and clean long-sleeved button-down collared shirt in conservative and solid colors; avoid bright colors and patterns.

Tie — A quality tie (often silk) in a conservative color and/or pattern that is properly tied. Avoid wearing flashy/bold patterns that are distracting.

Shoes — Traditional black or brown dress shoes, coordinating with your suit. Wear dress socks in a coordinated color with your suit.

Accessories & Grooming — Have hair controlled and wear minimal cologne. Belts should always be worn and match your shoes. Watches should be conservative. Choose a mint versus gum.

Men’s Business Casual

Pants — Conservative pressed suit pants, Dockers, or khakis are typical.

Shirt — Button-down collared dress or polo shirt; in conservative colors.

Sports Coat & Tie — A tie can be appropriate but not necessary. A sports coat (suit jacket) can be appropriate for business casual. When wearing a two or three button suit jacket or sports coat, button either the top or top two buttons while standing leaving the bottom button undone; all buttons can be undone when seated.

Shoes — Traditional black or brown dress shoes, coordinating with your suit. Wear dress socks in a coordinated color with your suit.

Accessories & Grooming — Have hair controlled and wear minimal cologne. Belts should always be worn and match your shoes. Choose a mint versus gum.

What Not To Wear

Tops —Tank Tops/Muscle Shirts, Untucked Shirts, T-shirts w/ Logos & Slogans, Unpressed Shirts

Pants —Jeans, Sweatpants/Workout Clothes, Shorts, Sloppy & Oversized Pants

Color —Bright Colors, Loud Prints, Faded Colors, Outdated Trends

Shoes —Sandals/Flip-Flops, Athletic Tennis Shoes, Hiking Boots, Work Boots

Accessories & Grooming —Strong, Over-Powering Cologne, Messy, Uncontrolled Hair, Dirty Hands & Fingernails, Body/Facial Piercings, Visible Tattoos

General Tips

  • Always be well-groomed and keep your clothing well-maintained; when in doubt, always ere on the side of the more conservative and formal.
  • Dark colors compliment your shape and create the appearance of authority.
  • Be conscientious of the fit of your clothing.
  • Keep your shoes polished and in excellent condition.
  • Avoid gum chewing; it is not appropriate in the business arena.
  • Pay attention to the quality and condition of accessories such as pens, purses, etc.
  • Beware of distracting physical habits such as twirling hair, clicking pens, etc.
  • If given a name badge, place it on the right side of your body just below the collar bone.

Body Language

  • Be aware of your posture; good posture displays confidence.
  • When sitting, never slouch. Keep legs and feet still because continuous shifting will be interpreted as boredom or anxiety.
  • Never show the soles of your shoes when sitting, especially when interacting with individuals from other countries.
  • Do not look at your watch.


  • A handshake begins with eye contact; start and finish each interview with a handshake
  • Hands should always meet web to web and palm to palm, not palm to fingers.
  • Grip should be firm but not crushing; hold for about three seconds.
  • Hold your interview portfolio in your left hand in order to free your right hand for the handshake.
Provided by Susan Richardson, Etiquette Consultant, Etiquette Essentials LLC


Post-Interview Information

Here you will find information about post-interview protocol and decision-making.

  • Thank You Letter
  • Evaluating Job Offers
  • Deciding & Negotiating
  • Accepting & Declining

Thank You Letter

It is important to follow up with a thank you letter or thank you card after interviews, career fairs, networking events, upon receipt of a job offer, or other times when you receive assistance with your job or internship search. Though it is a small gesture, it shows you are enthusiastic and professional. A thank you letter helps you stand out from other interview candidates and in some cases, may be a deciding factor in whether or not you receive a job or internship offer.

Thank you letters or thank you cards should be brief and to the point. Their main purpose is to express gratitude. They may reiterate or stress something that was shared during an interview and/or provide additional, relevant information that was inadvertently omitted or unknown during an interview.

Click here to view a sample letter

Evaluating a Job Offer

When you receive an offer, get it in writing.  It should provide details including salary, start date, location of the assignment and any other special things discussed during the interview.  The employer will let you know if the offer is contingent upon passing a background check or drug screening.

Take the time to weigh the pros and cons of the position, the company, the management, and the details of the offer itself.  Consult with others whose opinion you value and are affected by your decision. Ask yourself why you want the position. Are you accepting the job to gain experience and skills or are you accepting the offer to just have a job? Only you can answer these questions but you should know ahead of time what you are getting in to and accept the job for the right reasons.

After receiving the offer it is important to review benefits information. You might have questions like, “When do the benefits start? What health insurance plans are offered? What kind of professional development opportunities are available?” etc.  Benefits might include: vacation, sick leave, health/dental/vision plans, disability insurance, life insurance, relocation/moving expenses, stock options, retirement, profit sharing, tuition reimbursement, professional development, health/fitness program, signing bonus and commission.

Can I Ask for More Time to Decide?

Companies will give you anywhere from a day to two months to make a decision on the offer (two weeks is the norm). If the date given to decide conflicts with other site interviews already scheduled, tell the company representative right away and ask for an extension. Extensions may or may not be given by companies. Most companies are open to it and understand it is a big decision and you may be interviewing with other organizations. Some companies have tighter deadlines and may not grant the extension. It is not acceptable to accept an offer and continue to interview with other companies since the company would not provide you an extension. Nor is it acceptable to renege on an offer because “a better one” came along.


Entry-level employees do not usually have a lot of latitude for negotiating salary.  If you conduct salary research and find that the offer for your position in a particular industry and geographic location is comparatively low, consult a BBA career advisor.

There are several other factors that entry-level employees may be able to negotiate.  These include the start date, date of first performance review, professional development opportunities and relocation expenses.

When a firm employment offer is received, you need to respond to the employer by the deadline provided. Call the employer with your answer whether you are accepting or rejecting the offer. Never e-mail or leave a voice mail message telling them of your decision. You will want to make sure you talk with the employer over the phone to explain your decision.

Accepting an Offer

Call the employer and accept the position.  Then, if you want, follow up with a confirmation email or letter to the recruiter.  Include the position, start date, salary and any recently negotiated items in your confirmation letter.

After accepting the offer, all interviewing stops. It is unprofessional to keep interviewing with other employers to see if something better comes along.

Finally, thank the individuals who served as references for you.  It is a thoughtful gesture and will be appreciated.

Declining an Offer

Over the phone, tactfully decline the offer.  Express your appreciation for the offer and the opportunity to interview. You may tell the employ why, although you are not required to do so.

A tactful and timely rejection e-mail or phone call after the phone call is a courtesy which is important for two reasons. First, it allows you to maintain a relationship with the employer, which is important since you may one day interview with this employer again. Second, it helps other students in that it enhances the professional image the employer has for the Wisconsin School of Business and its graduates.