Letter from the Director  

Happy New Year from your friends at the A.C. Nielsen Center

Fall was an unusually busy semester, at least for us staff members. I have been helping the Center for Brand & Product Management as their interim director as they go through a staffing transition. Additionally, with Jen Shea's decision to return home to Boston, we were extremely lucky to convince Janet Christopher to return from her retirement to help us through the transition. Our new team member, Caitlin Seifert, joined us this month and we are looking forward to her being a part of our A.C. Nielsen Center family moving forward. Welcome, Caitlin, and thanks, again, to Janet and Jen!

Our students had a great semester filled with new professors, new classes and new employment opportunities. The marketing department... Read More »


EAB Meeting Summary

On October 3-4, 2013, the External Advisory Board met for lunch on Thursday and provided the opportunity for the 12 incoming students to meet their mentors.

Kristin Branch discussed the Class of 2014's internships and celebrated 4 new marketing faculty joining the UW team. They included:

External Advisory Board Chair Merrill Dubrow thanked Diane Surette for leading the board the previous year. Also attending the meeting were two guests invited... Read More »


Current Topics Articles

2 Months In And Look How Far We Have Come!

By Kyle Naff, Class of 2015

Student perspective from early October

It seems hard to believe that my classmates and I are nearly two months into our journey as first-year MBA students. It feels like yesterday that we arrived for the MBA Experience, excited and anxious about the road ahead. We made it through the two weeks of orientation of academic and co-curricular activities designed to prepare for the insanity that was upon us. We finished our first class nearly a month ago, started our seventh last week, and survived our first Introduction to Financial Management exam relatively unscathed. We've settled into a routine of classes, group meetings, homework, reading, and the general life of students... Read More »


The Nielsen Company Lunch and Learn

By Fiona Severson, Class of 2015

The A.C. Nielsen Center hosts a lunch and learn every month during our Current Topics in Marketing Research class. I got a little nostalgic when a couple of colleagues from my summer internship at The Nielsen Company came to Madison to present. Having that blast from the past (okay, so it was a few months ago) put a lot of perspective on where I am today.

The lunch and learn covered concepts I spent my entire summer familiarizing myself with, as well as some new topics that are currently in development— mainly social and cross-platform measurement. It was great to get to share some of my summer experience with my classmates, and really exciting to see how interested... Read More »


Data to Decisions: Teaching Critical Skills

By Stephen Griffiths, Class of 2015

One of the reasons I decided to pursue an MBA was to broaden my understanding of analytics. Data to Decisions, a required course for all MBA students, has surpassed my expectations by giving me an overview of statistics, better familiarity with Excel, and more opportunities to effectively find and present insights.

As an analyst at a forecasting organization before the MBA, I was continually amazed at how good statistical understanding could make a difference. Dee Brogan, our Data to Decisions (known as "D2D" by students) instructor, has given me that statistical understanding this semester. Through lectures and Excel exercises, I learned... Read More »


Milwaukee Field Trip

By Jenny Ulvestad, Class of 2015

Many MBA programs will point to their industry connections as a point of differentiation. In my experience, most emphasized a couple professors that currently or previously worked in your desired industry and the alumni network. Of course, we have both of those at the A.C. Nielsen Center, but we also have two things that give us a closer connection to industry than any other program. 1) An External Advisory Board with approximately 30 companies and individuals that work across our industry and actively serve as resources in our job search, recruit from the program, and make sure our curriculum is relevant. 2) The Current Topics seminar where we learn about industry trends, prepare for the job search, and gain hands-on knowledge. As part of the Current Topics seminar this semester, we took a field trip to Milwaukee where we learned about marketing research at two companies.

First, we learned about the marketing research behind design services for retailers from a previous EAB... Read More »

 Thanksgiving Potluck  


Neeraj and Leigh Arora invited the students to a holiday get-together at their home on November 24th for Thanksgiving. There was great food from many cultures and lots of entertainment by the students and Neeraj's family. A great time was had by all!

 Student News  

Students Serving in Organizations:

The following students are currently serving in the positions below:
Bruce Courtney: Communication Chair, MBA Food and Wine Club
Tracy Dion: Co-President, Graduate Women in Business
Kelly Goldthorpe: First-Year Representative, Graduate Business Association; Co-President, Graduate Women in Business
Justin Hawkins: Consortium Liaison and Community Service Chair, Diversity in Business Organization
Kyle Naff: Technology Communications Chair,GBA; Co-President, Out for Business
Bonnie Putnam: Second-Year Representative, Graduate Business Association
Fiona Severson: Director of Enthusiasm, Net Impact
Zach Smith: First-Year Representative, Honor Board; Treasurer, GMN
Eliza Swedenberg: Communications Chair, Net Impact
TR Snyder: Director of Engagement, Net Impact; Co-President, GMN
Joanna Weiss: Vice President, GBA; Food & Wine Club

First-year students enjoy pizza in Chicago

Xiaofei Li, Jenny Ulvestad, Kelly Goldthorpe, and Fiona Severson enjoyed pizza in Chicago and taunted second years with a photo that was titled "Too Bad You're Not a First-Year"!

 With Fond Memories  

By Janet Christopher

This comes with my REAL retirement from the A. C. Nielsen Center for Marketing Research as of December 20, 2013. While I have mixed emotions about really retiring, I am excited to see what the future has to hold for both the center and myself personally. It has been a great 36-year run, not to mention my 10th time retiring, and waiting with much admiration to see the way the center is heading. Since Gil Churchill, Leah Leighty and I started the organization of the center, it has grown immensely. We had one student graduating that first year followed by more in the years to come. I watched the center go from an MS degree program where you could waive... Read More »

 Alumni News  

Congratulations to all alumni with career updates and additions to their families. They include:

Caryn Ross Akons (1992), the very first Nielsen alum, is still with Citi. Three years ago, she moved into a true consumer insights role in their retail services division working with Macy's, The Home Depot, and other notable retailers. She is the proud mother of a spunky five-year-old daughter!

Kate Krier Alvarado (2004) and her husband, Dave, happily announce the birth of their first child, Keira Alexis Alvarado, born in August.

Ed Dobbles (1994) has actively participated in several marathons recently, making the November 3, 2013, run one of the most awesome thus far. This run included people from all over the world. He is currently scheduled for his 6th marathon in Los Angeles in March 2014.

Eric Dolan (2011) was promoted to CMK manager at Procter & Gamble and is now helping start a new shared services function within the company to help create more integrated data solutions for CMK. Eric is enjoying Cincinnati with his wife, Smita, and two sons, Kiran and Rohan.

Bethany Foresman (2006) and her husband welcomed a son, Neal Marcus Samer Foresman, on May 1, 2013. To quote his mother, "He's wonderful in every way."

Mike Hostetler (2006) joined Kellogg as a senior manager working in the Morning Foods Division on mom brands.

Darien Hickman (1995) started his own company, Deep Data Divers, in September. The company focuses on predictive modeling and other advanced analytics. Website: Congratulations, Darien!

Dennis Hull (2009) remains at Wrigley after more than 4 years, and has a baby girl, with a second baby expected in December 2013.

Veronica Kehoss (2010) still works for Burke, Inc, as an analyst. However, she now works remotely from home in Milwaukee instead of from their home office in Cincinnati.

Stephen Knighten (2011) was promoted to senior manager, marketing performance at Nielsen.

Elizabeth Knox (2006) and her husband Travis welcomed their baby, Isabella Olga, on November 30, 2012.

Tom Krause (1992) returned to Gongos Research as VP of client service.

Karlis Nollendorfs (1996) joined TNS as the VP, Senior account executive.

Chato Patterson (2004) is now the marketing manager, industrial insulation at Knauf Insulation in Shelbyville, Indiana. Additionally, he just completed his first half-marathon in a time of 1:59:36. It was the monumental marathon in Indianapolis on November 2, 2013.

Dan Pickerel (2007) happily announced the birth of his first child. Nicholas Connor Pickerel was born in New York City on May 8, 2013.

Heather Sass (2010) welcomed a baby girl, Payton, on September 28, 2013.

 Alumni & Friends Summit - Spring 2015  

Theme: The New Marketing Research Frontier: Emerging Methodologies and Changing Technologies. Alumni Representatives Karen Ba and Kyle Nel have been working hard to coordinate the activity surrounding the 2014 Alumni Summit. At the recent board meeting they engaged the board in a brainstorming event that assisted in the planning stage. The following individuals signed up to be on the planning committee:


  • Bill Bean- EAB
  • Diane Surette- EAB
  • Tanya Schooley- EAB+Alum
  • Dave Guenthner- EAB+Alum
  • Lisa Gudding- EAB
  • Claudia Klug- Alum
  • Tara Naz- Alum
  • Rill Hodari- Alum

Please watch the website for updates:

 Gifts to the Center  

Thank you to the alumni, friends of the center, and board members for giving to the Center the past few months. Donors include:

  • Ann Dencker, Alum and board member
  • Gayle Fuguitt, Alum and past board member
  • Rosanna Gage, Alum
  • Boryana Georgieva, Alum
  • Katherine Hankes, Alum
  • Dennis Hull, Alum
  • Michael Kirk, Alum
  • Mimi Li, Alum
  • Meghan Ludvigsen, Alum
  • Jay Luttrell, Alum
  • Katie Metzinger, Alum
  • John Peters, Friend of the Center
  • Elizabeth Remorenko, Alum
  • Jenny Turner, Alum
  • Barry Whalen, Alum
  • Michal Zarnecki, Alum

These gifts are greatly appreciated and necessary to support the program. To discuss having one of the students help you with a research project, please email If you would like to pledge your support, please go to

Please let us know if you made a gift and we missed including your name. Sorry!



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