Manish TewaniIt feels like yesterday when I bid adieu to my family in India and traveled halfway across the world to come to Madison amidst the beautiful August weather, and now I am at the homestretch of the first semester. This journey of 15 weeks has been more memorable than I could have ever imagined.

The tone for the semester was set right away with the two-week long MBA experience. Coming to Madison after having pursued my previous education in India, it was a pleasant surprise to see the diversity in the class. During the MBA experience, not only did I learn from all the speakers and facilitators, but also from my peers, who were coming from different parts of the world with varied experiences, skills and backgrounds. Every session during the experience gave me a chance to interact with different people over those couple of weeks and I realized very quickly that I was going to spend most of the next 2 years of my life with a group of very smart people.

The aspect of the Wisconsin MBA program that surprised me the most was the number of opportunities to connect with fellow classmates, professors, the MBA Program staff and guests from a plethora of industries in a social setting. The Graduate Business Association, the biggest student organization for graduate business students, made it a point to start hosting TAPS every Thursday even before the MBA experience started, which, in my opinion, has been the best platform for me to connect with my classmates and 2nd years who I don’t see as often during the normal school hours. A few other social events from the fall semester that I will always remember are the Weikel Leadership Series with Rebecca Ryan, because of how awesome she was; the Top Golf outing, where I met and played casual golf with representatives from some of the top firms in the country; the International night, which gave me an opportunity to dance and sing in front of over 100 attendees; and the 6 gameday Tailgates organized by the GBA, where I got a chance to connect with not only the classmates, but also a lot of alumni.

An interesting aspect of my classroom experience has been to learn from the core curriculum professors and to respond to their various teaching styles. Jan and Rick involved the students in discussions throughout the 75 minutes’ class on most days, while Bulent and Fabio talked more during the class to make sure that the students absorbed the technical details associated with the subject matter. I feel that the classes were conducted by these professors in the best possible way and I couldn’t have thought of a better way.

Joining the A.C. Nielsen Center for Marketing Research with 13 other brilliant people has been the best thing to happen to me over the past few years. In my opinion, Kristin and Sarah have already made the experience of all Nielsenites more rewarding than we could have ever hoped for. I was able to build on my expertise of the customer insights and marketing research roles in a unique way at each applied learning session. To take the applied learning experience one notch above, the Marketing Research and Brand & Product Management students traveled to the Target and General Mills headquarters in Minneapolis. In addition, I picked the brains of more than 15 board members during the Executive Advisory Board meeting towards the end of the recruitment season for the A.C. Nielsen Center. These conversations allowed me to understand the companies and the marketing research teams that the board members overlook.

The first semester of my MBA journey has already made a significant impact on my personality, skills and knowledge; and I hope for more of the same in the coming year and a half at the Wisconsin School of Business. On Wisconsin!

Students holding up painting of terrace chairs 

Students celebrating Thanksgiving