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TR Snyder

10 Things I Love about UW-Madison and the A.C. Nielsen Center

by TR Snyder Monday, January 26, 2015

 10. Regression Models 

I have a confession to make: I had no idea what the word regression meant before I started business school. I know that regress sounded an awful lot like the opposite of progress, which is what I came to school to make. Framed like that, it sounded like a dirty word. “Regression” became code for “Something I don’t understand.”

Over the course of last year, though, it took on a new meaning. Rather than being “Something I don’t understand,” it became, “A handy tool for answering certain types of questions!” What flavor is driving sales? Let me tell you about my friend, Regression…

 9. Meeting Consumers

So many people I’ve met in school and during my internship reference wanting to find a job where they get to meet people, which is what led them to consumer insights or marketing research. There are so many ways you get to meet people, from in-depth interviews to shop-a-longs to in-home ethnographies to protocept fairs… the list goes on. What’s truly amazing about it is how interesting something as basic as toothpaste can become when you’re hearing an entirely new perspective on this thing that you take for granted twice a day.

 8. International Travel

In less than one month I will be traveling to Santiago, Chile as part of the MBA Program’s International Business trip. In fact as I write this, I’ve just gotten off the phone with the company contact for my project. While traveling internationally is something you can always do on your own dime, getting a chance to work in a different country and learn about an entirely new culture from a work perspective is a fascinating challenge.

 7. Silliness with a Heart 

Over the course of the past year, I’ve had a ton of fun with my classmates, doing things from the silly and absurd (Polar Plunge dressed in a chicken costume) to the philanthropic (MBAs with a Heart). These events are by no means the only one, and indeed I could fill three lists with stories of all the great experiences I’ve had outside of the classroom. These are a great way to bond with classmates. I know that I’ll always be able to laugh with Dave Gailey and Mike Weber about our ridiculous moustaches that we grew this year for Movember.

 6. The Wisconsin Idea 

The Wisconsin Idea is the principle that the university should improve people’s lives beyond the classroom. It’s in this spirit that my classmates and I have grown passionate about The Hult Prize, an international social entrepreneurship competition that challenges participants to create a viable, profitable business plan that solves whatever challenge the Hult Prize Foundation establishes. This year, UW-Madison was fortunate enough to be selected to host a preliminary, qualifying round of the competition. I was fortunate enough to get to work with the team that put the event together, and it was a truly humbling experience to hear about the ideas that people put together. Special congratulations to the A.C. Nielsen Center’s very own Pushkar Raj and his team for winning the Hult Prize at Wisconsin!

 5. Current Topics 

All of the centers at the Wisconsin School of Business have a current topics or applied learning session on Fridays, and it is truly an opportunity to dive deep into your specialization. This past semester, we were lucky enough to get not just one, but two trips to major companies. We traveled to Cincinnati for a day of full-immersion with Procter & Gamble, and then we went to Minneapolis for a full day with General Mills. Both days were incredible—the CMO of General Mills gave us a special presentation, we interviewed consumers at both companies, and we learned a lot about what it’s like to work in a CPG right now. These were truly educational experiences that will help us feel even more prepared as we cross the threshold from student to graduate in a few short months.

 4. An Amazing Badger Network

Before I started at the Wisconsin School of Business, my family consisted of me, my wife, my dogs, parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, etc. A few dozen people, probably. Since starting, however, my family has grown to the thousands. This continues to surprise me, from the amazing outreach of support I got during my internship from those who were once in my shoes, to the alumni who opened themselves to me and answered certainly more questions than I could’ve ever expected regarding school, job-hunting, life planning, even sports. It’s an amazing feeling to be able to pick up the phone and call someone you’ve never met and know that they are completely on your side, that you are all a part of the amazing Badger family.

 3. The External Advisory Board

Many business schools have an advisory board. The difference with the A.C. Nielsen Center is that our advisory board is comprised of very experienced, very well connected people who are extremely successful in the marketing research industry, and there are actually more of them than there are students. That is unbelievable! There are 20 students between the first and second year classes in the A.C. Nielsen Center, and there are well over 20 board members for us to call upon for advice. In fact, the board has been crucial to my success as a student. Numerous board members have spent hours helping me talk through important points such as my resume, job selection, questions regarding school assignments to help me learn the material better, improving my LinkedIn profile—the assistance that the advisory board offers is truly unparalleled.

 2. Madison, WI

I have a friend who was born and raised in Canada, and has traveled all around the world for work, leisure, and all things in between. He spent a year living on a beach because why not? He and I were having a beer with our wives at the Terrace, and he said to us as the sun was setting over Lake Mendota, “I really can’t think of a more perfect place than The Terrace during the summer.” That really sums it up. There’s no better place during the summer than The Terrace. There’s no better place during the fall than Camp Randall Stadium on a Saturday afternoon between third and fourth quarter. There’s no better place during the winter than snowshoeing at The Arboretum. And there’s no better place during the spring than the first farmer’s market of the year. This is a truly magical city that you can’t help but fall in love with.

 1. The People

It used to bother me when I would ask, “What’s your favorite part about working at XYZ Co.?” and the response would be, “The people.” Now, having grown so close with my classmates and the staff at the A.C. Nielsen Center, I’ve become that guy. Yes, I love the curriculum. Yes, the free gum is great. But if you strip all of these favorite things about the Wisconsin School of Business down to their core, it almost always returns to the people. Kristin Branch does a fantastic job finding people who will not only be successful in their careers, but also be a strong member of this community. The community is the thing that I will most miss as I don the cap and gown and venture onward into the future. This is only just a minor concern, as the Badger family that I mentioned before is so strong that we will always be but a phone call away.

TR grew up in Ohio, and he received his Bachelor of Specialized Studies in Creative Writing with a focus on Poetry from Ohio University. TR Snyder comes to the A.C. Nielsen Center from Apple, where he worked as a specialist in Apple's retail stores. He is excited to expand his knowledge of qualitative consumer insights with experience in quantitative analytics and research. In his free time, TR enjoys cooking, going camping and hiking with his wife, and walking their two dogs, Walt and Swarley.