I grew up in Idaho. My wife grew up in Utah. Before business school we lived in Connecticut and I worked in New York City. When I told people that I was pursuing my MBA at the Wisconsin School of Business, they seemed confused.
Friends: “Oh, do you have family in Wisconsin?”
Friends: “Have you ever been to Wisconsin?”
Friends: “So why did you choose Wisconsin?”
Me: “For so many reasons!”
The Wisconsin School of Business has been a hidden gem for those willing to look for some time. However, many more are paying closer attention to all the business school has to offer as it continues to climb the MBA program rankings. There are many reasons students choose to attend the Wisconsin School of Business. For me, the three primary drivers in my decision were (1) the unique specialization model, (2) the extensive alumni and advisory board, and (3) the intimate class size.
Prior to business school I had worked in the world of international tax consulting. I served several CPG clients and was exposed to brand management through the review of my client’s operations. After further research, I knew I wanted to pursue a career in marketing, specifically brand management. My search for business schools with strong marketing programs led me to the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I found a program that offers specialized curriculum for various career, including brand and product management. The Wisconsin School of Business is the only MBA program in the US that requires you to apply to a career specialization prior to starting school. I applied to the Center of Brand and Product Management (CBPM). As a career switcher I have benefited greatly from the customized curriculum offered through the CPBM. In my first year I was able to take courses such as New Product Development and Marketing Analytics. Those in the CPBM also have weekly “applied learning” classes where corporate sponsors come to campus and teach us different marketing skills. The unique specialization model is perfect for those students who know exactly what they want to do after they graduate business school.
Once I started at the Wisconsin School of Business, I was blown away by the incredible number of people who seemed personally invested in my success. During my first semester I found myself connecting with several alumni each week. These alumni wanted to know my story and learn how they could help me get to where I wanted to go. Many volunteered time to perform mock interviews and were always willing to connect me with others as I explored various companies. In addition to the extensive alumni network, the CBPM also benefits from an engaged advisory board. The advisory board is comprised of top executives from the finest brand and product management companies in the world. Twice a year we as students have the opportunity to spend a weekend with our advisory board members. It is amazing to learn from their experience and receive advice on how to navigate our careers. In addition to counseling, the advisory board is willing to help us (students) make connections with companies or industries of which we are most interested.
This summer I interned with several MBA students from various programs. There were five students from one school. I was surprised to learn that not all of those students from the same school knew each other. Their class size was so big that some of them hadn’t even met! I strongly believe that relatively small class size at the Wisconsin School of Business is a huge advantage over other MBA programs. The average class size is a little over 100 students. This intimate class size has given me an opportunity to build strong relationships with each of my fellow classmates. There is a strong feeling of unity and pride among the Wisconsin MBA students. We want everyone to succeed and do our best to help each other find the opportunities we seek.
I had a lot to say when people asked me why I chose the Wisconsin School of Business prior to my arrival. Now that I am in my second year of the program, I could speak for hours about the benefits of this program. I am extremely satisfied with my decision and am happy to share my experience with anyone interested.