Jeff Koch

As a first-year candidate last year I was excited for the opportunity to meet our Center for Brand & Product Management (CBPM) advisory board at the fall meeting. I wanted to speak to as many members as I could and learn every bit of insight and advice they could give me toward having the most successful MBA experience possible. As a second-year candidate the excitement remained, however the ambition had changed to sharing with them how my experience has gone so far, how my internship experience had gone, and discussing future career plans. The relationship dynamic had changed.


The relationship changed in a good way, though. Over the last year, as we were able to get to know each other better through the fall and spring meetings, mock interviews, and other personal meetings or conversations over the phone, I felt as though we had gotten closer with board members. While still a great professional development and networking resource, we had also become stronger colleagues and even friends. During the fall meeting dinner one advisory board member and myself realized we were both “car guys” and after asking me “is it fair to assume you like to drive fast?” (uh, yes, yes I do) he offered to let me take his Tesla for a cruise when he’s back for our spring meeting.


Just because the relationship has grown beyond just professional development and networking doesn’t mean the support and resources are gone—that’s the great ongoing advantage our advisory board provides. During the opening dinner a board member was talking with a few of us about internship offers, acceptance, and who is still on the search. AB DinnerHe was asking because he wants to make sure we have every opportunity to find the right job and, most importantly, to connect us with any recruiters or managers they have a relationship with if it can help. Just then he received a text from a class of 2018 graduate who had worked with him in exactly that manner to help her find the right opportunity. She’s now happily living, and working, in New York.


At the beginning of my MBA experience I was excited to interact with our advisory board, and over time that excitement has grown into a great appreciation for the opportunity we have at the Wisconsin School of Business. Not all MBA programs give students this kind of access and exposure to high-level marketing leaders who are so invested in our success. I only have one formal meeting with the advisory board remaining before I graduate and I’m going to make every effort I can to take full advantage of that opportunity—or at least test drive a Tesla.