David GaileyOf all the things I have experienced as a Badger, the alumni from the A.C. Nielsen Center have been the highlight. In fact, my journey to UW – Madison started because of the helpful influence of a Center alumnus. From mock interviews to recruiting events to class panels to job decisions, former Nielsenites have been the keystone to success during my MBA.

One of the strongest examples came in my first semester. While in the throes of internship decisions, it was hard to keep track of all the questions to ask and pieces to consider. In this time of trouble, I reached out to several alumni and was beyond pleased with the interaction. Each, without exception, responded quickly and were more than willing to help. Further, during our conversations I was always assured the alumni were speaking to me “as a badger” and not “as a recruiter.” I never felt pressured to make a decision. The alumni cared most about me making the best decision for me.

Another shining moment was during my internship this past summer. I was assigned a mentor who was a recent alumna of the A.C. Nielsen Center. Even before I started, she reached out to introduce herself and begin our mentoring relationship. Her attention didn’t end there. She set up weekly chats for us to talk about anything and everything. It was a safe space for me and a source of continual support throughout my summer. I attribute much of my ability to navigate my internship to that relationship.

What has been most surprising, and delightful, is that this quality of honest help and support is ubiquitous among alumni. In every conversation with prospective students, this is the topic of which I am most passionate. During my search for graduate school, I spoke with alumni from every potential program – not unlike many other prospective students. But I was consistently impressed most by former badgers. So candid, so real, so honest, so excited – a combination I didn’t find in alumni from other schools. It was these conversations that sold me on attending the A.C. Nielsen Center.

As I look back on all the positive memories I have of Center alumni, I cannot wait to join their ranks! What a wonderful opportunity it will be to pay forward all the help I have received. I was beyond excited to become a badger, but I’m even more thrilled to remain one. On Wisconsin! And On A.C. Nielsen Center!