Jennifer Lane21 short months ago, on the first day of MBA orientation, I entered Grainger Hall for the very first time. I had applied to the Center of Brand and Product Management, and made the decision to get my MBA here, without ever having visited campus. As I drove from Boston, MA to Madison, WI in August of 2015, I had little idea what to expect, but had a good feeling about the adventure I was going to endure.

Now I can confidently say that the decision to come to the Wisconsin School of Business was the best I’ve ever made. I’ve built lifelong friendships, grown personally and professionally, and learned an immense amount about subjects that I had previously written off as being outside of my skillset. It’s bittersweet to be leaving the Center for Brand and Product Management, as I’m very excited for what lies ahead, but sad to leave behind the community that has been my home for the past two years. It would be impossible to detail the roller coaster that is the MBA experience, but I’m excited to share my favorite highlights of the past two years!

Traveling to China: This was without a doubt a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that would not have been possible without the CBPM. I have never traveled to a place so far away before, and learned endless amounts while doing so. International travel always present learning opportunities, but our company meetings in China went above and beyond. It was fascinating to learn about the Chinese consumer, the country’s business practices, and effects the government has on, well, everything. It was also great to fit in some cultural tours along the way!

CBPM at China

Case Competitions: I was fortunate to compete in two different case competitions during my business school career, and to help host an additional one. While I was not lucky enough to take home a trophy in either instance, I firmly believe the experience of analyzing a business case, presenting a recommendation, and welcoming feedback is an incredibly insightful experience. I was able to fine-tune my presentation and critical thinking skills all while enjoying the company of my teammates.

CBPM case competitions

Company Visits & Applied Learnings: The CBPM does an outstanding job of giving its students great exposure to different companies all across the country. During my time here, I was able to visit three corporate headquarters, five international offices, and attend countless learning sessions hosted by big name CPG companies and tech companies alike. Learning the differences between company priorities, cultures, decision-making techniques, and meeting company employees firsthand was such a unique opportunity that I cannot imagine I would have received at any other business school.

Class of 2017 Social Events: The hands-down best part of my Wisconsin MBA experience has been the people I’ve shared it with. I am so honored to have spent the past two years alongside such a talented and dynamic peer set. In addition to challenging each other in class and supporting each other through stressful interview season, we’ve also done a great job enjoying each other’s company. I’ll miss afternoons at the Terrace, late nights in Grainger, having a weekly commitment to TAPS, and all the other time I’ve spent getting to know these impressive people I can call my classmates.

CBPM social event

I have been so pleased with the learning experiences and opportunities that I’ve had at the Wisconsin School of Business, and am jealous of the incoming first-years who are just starting their MBA journey. My advice to new students would be to take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way, and enjoy the ride!