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Umesh Khadaria

Finance and Fun in Madison, WI

by Umesh Khadaria Thursday, October 17, 2013

While I have many highlights from my internship, there is one event that stands out above all; getting the opportunity to stay in Madison for the summer. Madison is an eclectic mix of cultures, from college town to capitol and getting a chance to spend my summer in Madison made my internship experience much more memorable. I was a Business Process Management intern with State of Wisconsin Investment Board (SWIB) here in Madison, Wisconsin.

My main project this summer was to leverage the knowledge of process improvement to enhance SWIB’s current business process management system. Although my projects were not completely defined on day one, it had been a satisfying journey to watch the projects evolve and grow as I collaborated with key stakeholders throughout the company. From week one, it became evident that in order to succeed in my new role, I had to gain deep knowledge of our existing business processes and truly understand the gaps in order to generate reasonable solutions. From improving my knowledge of investment industry to process improvement initiatives, I had been privileged to experience hands-on learning that expanded my understanding of working in truly cross-functional teams to achieve a common objective. 

Working as the Business development intern was like performing the role of an expert consultant to drive the organizations strategic goals. Because of this, I used virtually all of the skills I added to my toolkit in my first year at the Wisconsin School of Business. Apart from the center specific courses which truly helped me in understanding the investment industry and its products, the knowledge gathered in the core courses of Business Strategy and Operations Management proved an integral part in my success at SWIB. In addition, the opportunities provided by the business school in terms of managing real life projects helped me to take the lead on projects right away and to not be afraid to give my input and challenge the way the things are done particularly when you work with the key stakeholders in the organization. I also had to collaborate with a couple of third party consultants which SWIB had hired to help drive the initiatives, thereby leveraging the use of facilitation skills I developed during my first year studies.

One of the key challenges of working at SWIB was to match up with the same level of expectations as long tenure professionals. Interns at SWIB are given real projects with real implications. Being a part of the Project Management office, I was able to have a look at the direct cost/benefit implications of my work here at SWIB. It gave a sense of achievement and something tangible to look at my accomplishments. I enhanced my managerial and facilitation skills, which would help me considerably not only in my second year at the Wisconsin School of Business but also in my career as well. Also, collaborating to develop a long term strategic plan for SWIB had given me the opportunity to refine my business acumen and enhance the strategic knowledge which I gathered in first year core classes.

Apart from all the professional experiences I gained during my internship, I was able to truly enjoy life as a Madison resident.  In addition to boasting natural beauty and outdoor recreation, Madison plays host to stimulating cultural offerings, distinctive restaurants, excellent music venues, and unique shopping, creating a destination that enriches both residents and visitors alike. Whether it was watching a movie at the terrace or a play in the woods, going sailing or wind surfing on the lakes, or watching concert at the square - the experience of Madison in the summer was beyond compare.