By Kaitlyn Wilchynski, Class of 2020.
It really wasn’t that bad; the waiting to jump into the frozen water in Lake Monona was the worst part. Fortunately for me, many of my classmates were taking part in the Polar Plunge as well so I was not alone in my last-minute doubts. This year, the Wisconsin MBA program surpassed our goal of $10,000 and raised over $13,000 for Special Olympics Wisconsin – third in the state. I am not sure if other MBA programs participate in similar spectacles, but the Wisconsin MBA community cooperating to raise money for charity is very fitting.
What sets the Wisconsin School of Business’s Full-Time MBA program apart? I know personally, when I was deciding on business schools, one of the reasons I singled out the Wisconsin School of Business as my first choice was the sense of community I felt when I visited. This sentiment is echoed by current and prospective students.
“Together Forward” may be a slogan, but it is very tied to the way we do things here. We challenge each other to take risks, push fellow classmates to be their best and we compete. In this case, we challenged one another to jump in a freezing lake and we competed between specialization centers to raise the most money. All of this builds a sense of community. Wisconsin does community well and it seems natural for those in the program to support each other in all activities: during group projects, exam time and jumping into freezing water.
One thing that makes the Wisconsin MBA experience exceptional is the people: the professors who organize and jump with students, the students who donate to their peers and show up early on Saturday to cheer them on, and those who dress in ridiculous costumes to jump in a freezing lake to raise money for Special Olympics. I became very much aware of The Wisconsin Idea – that philosophy that university research should be applied to solve problems and improve health, quality of life, the environment, and agriculture for all citizens of the state – when I arrived on campus.
Truth be told, initially I did not pay a lot of attention to it but slowly began to realize that it really is the foundation of the University of Wisconsin – Madison; the Polar Plunge is just one way I see it exemplified. As my classmates posted (hilarious) photos of the event, many of wrote how they had “gone full Wisconsin” by participating in the Polar Plunge; I couldn’t agree more.