by Kristin Branch

Kristen BranchGreetings from Wisconsin!

Hello alumni and friends. I hope this newsletter finds you well and perhaps you can take a moment to hear what we have been up to here at the A.C. Nielsen Center. Another school year has come to a close and it was a year of great highlights – the Summit, field trips to San Francisco, Cincinnati and Minneapolis and lots of learning in-between.


  • The Class of 2015 graduated on Saturday, May 15th and are off to great new adventures. Hiring companies include The Clorox Company, Dish Networks, General Mills, PepsiCo, Prophet, Walmart. One of our students decided to pursue his PhD and a few other students are still considering post-MBA options. If you know of companies looking to hire bright MBA students, please let us know.

  • Our Class of 2016 will all start their summer internships soon. Hiring companies include Eli Lilly, General Mills, Orbitz, PepsiCo, S.C. Johnson, Walmart, and Wrigley.

  • We are expecting one of the largest incoming group of students for the Class of 2017, which is very exciting. Admissions has not yet closed so we are not ready to share the final number but I can tell you already it is a wonderful mix of backgrounds and interests – they will be a delight to teach!

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by Fiona Severson

Fiona SeversonEvery winter break the MBA program takes a week long international trip to apply and develop our business skills in an intercultural context. This year, the destination was Santiago, Chile. I’ve never been to South America, so I was excited for the opportunity to explore a new area of the world with my classmates.

Before flights are even booked, the program is hard at work identifying companies with business problems that our cross-functional teams of students can tackle. Every team has a very unique experience on the global trip. Our team worked with GE Mining on a market development project that expanded my knowledge of the industry and added a unique perspective to my time in Chile. Did you know that Chile is the world’s number 1 exporter of copper?

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by Xiaofei Li

Xiaofei LiHave you ever heard about experiment relating wine and social security numbers? Subjects were asked to write down the last two digits of their social security number. Then they were asked if they would pay a specified amount (say $79 or $12) for a bottle of Côtes du Rhône 1998 and a bottle of 1996 Hermitage Jaboulet La Chapelle. The subjects were not wine experts but the lower their social security digits, the lower the price they were willing to pay for the wine. 

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by Kelly Goldthorpe

Kelly Goldthorpe

This year the A.C. Nielsen Center enjoyed its 25th Anniversary with more than 160 alumni, board members, and industry guests who came back to celebrate!

The Summit kicked off with our Executive Advisory Board meeting and dinner, where Gil Churchill, Bob Drane, and Janet Christopher gave a presentation on the history of the center. Current Nielsen students already knew Bob and Janet, but we only knew Gil Churchill as the man who, literally, wrote the book on marketing research. 

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We asked current students to summarize their takeaways from the 2015 Summit sessions they attended.

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by TR Snyder

TR Snyder

Reminiscing. It’s a common thing. We all do it. I don’t have the data on hand to prove it, so you’ll just have to take my word on this one. As I’ve finished up my time here at the A.C. Nielsen Center, this has been a very common theme in my conversations. From talking about favorite TAPS experiences to hilarious (and not-so-hilarious) classroom moments, the last two years has been on everybody’s mind lately. They’ve gone by impossibly fast, and as we prepare for the next step, we look back at what we’ve accomplished as we sprint down the path ahead.

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by David Gailey

David GaileyOver spring break this semester I was able to take part in the AC Nielsen Center trip to Silicon Valley. It was, by far, the best experience of my semester. We left a temperate Wisconsin April to brave the California heat to uncover what the world of market research was like in the tech industry. Much of the experience we take part in during the school year is centered on CPG, so getting this different perspective was beyond exciting. We had four jam-packed days I’d love to tell everything about, but due to the space constraints of this post I’ll just give a small taste for now.

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Please Welcome our New Alumni Reps:

Cherie LeonardCherie Leonard
Class of 2012
“I have strong passion for the A.C. Nielsen Center and am interested in giving back to the program by serving as an alumni rep on the Executive Advisory Board. The EAB is a key advantage of the Nielsen Center experience, helping set it apart from other MBA programs. The Board provides a unique opportunity for students and alumni to forge relationships with market research industry leaders, and I'd like to help facilitate that relationship. I look forward to doing so as your alumni rep!”

David ShepherdDavid Shepherd
Class of 2011
“Thank you for the nomination!  I cherish the opportunity to give back to the Nielsen Center community as an Alumni Rep.  The Center has provided so many lifelong friends, mentors and opportunities… not to mention wonderful memories.  My post-MBA experience on both the supplier and client side presents a well-rounded perspective to broadly represent my fellow alumni and to effectively collaborate with the Board.  It is an honor to serve as your representative.  On Wisconsin!"

Personal Updates:

  • Andrew Kennelly – Andrew and his wife completed the adoption of their daughter, Anna, from Ukraine in October 2014.

  • Katie Lusch – Katie and her husband, Mark welcomed their daughter, Hannah, into the world on November 14, 2014

Professional Updates:

  • Mike Hostetler- Joined Kellogg’s in October 2013, Sr. Manager Insights & Planning

  • Marina J Maller – Started job as Sr. Associate Design Researcher at SC Johnson in September 2014

  • Meghan Ludvigsen – Meghan moved to J&J as a Manager, Global Strategic Insights

  • Valla Roth – is now Director of Marketing Insights - CPG; Frank Magid Associates, Minneapolis

  • Eric Dolan – CMK Manager, Procter & Gamble

  • Matt Inman – Moved to MaritzCX in the past year. Matt’s new role is as Sr. Director of CX Strategy & Design Consulting

  • Dennis Hull – Promoted to Group Manager, Wrigley CMI

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This year we are proud to have a number students who have received awards and participated in intense competitions. To see what the students have been up to and where our first years are interning and our second years are placed for full time please click below.

View the student awards and placements »

Thank you to all of our students for creating such a wonderful community in the A.C. Nielsen Center. Special thanks to Zach Smith and Kelly Goldthorpe for bringing together students throughout the year for gatherings and celebrations to build that A.C. Nielsen Center community.

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Please consider the University of Wisconsin School Of Business and the A.C. Nielsen Center in your gift planning.  The current resource allocation process at the School of Business does not require you to designate funds specifically to the A.C. Nielsen Center, as resources are allocated centrally to each one of the centers, taking into consideration specifically designated financial gifts that each center has received.  However, if you feel strongly, you certainly are free to designate your gift to the A.C. Nielsen Center.  If you do not already have a contact at the University of Wisconsin Foundation and would like to correspond with someone to answer your questions and/or help you with your planning, please contact Jared Meyer at

Just as you are proud to be a Badger, we are proud to have you as part of our team and want to showcase your news and accomplishments.  Suggested content can include, but is not limited to: promotions, new employment, personal news (engagements, marriages, births, etc.). 

If you have any news that you would like to share with us, please send it to Sarah Kervin at