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Anna Strand

It Takes a Village

by Anna Strand Monday, April 22, 2019

With less than a month until graduation, I’ve been reflecting on what the Wisconsin MBA experience has meant to me. A full-time MBA program is an intensive process for any candidate, but the past two years have been a particularly wild ride for me as I became a mom while earning my MBA.

There is a well-known saying about raising children that, “It takes a village.” I’ve come to understand the meaning of this phrase in my first year of motherhood and have found that the same is true of MBAs. Nothing about the Wisconsin MBA experience is individual, as collaborative learning and team work is central to the program. Some of my most enriching experiences have been on core teams comprised of members from vastly different personal and professional backgrounds. When I took a short mid-semester maternity leave, my teammates and professors were incredibly supportive while still holding me to high expectations. Our success as MBAs is never ours alone, but rather the product of strong cross-functional teams. The greatest strength of the Wisconsin MBA is an environment that prioritizes collaboration over competition.

I am already using my MBA experience along with my specialized training from the Bolz Center for Arts Administration, at Madison Children’s Museum. I started with the children’s museum as a project assistant in my second year of the MBA program and will continue post-graduation as Associate Development Director. I will manage the museum’s corporate partnerships using the skills I’ve gained at the Wisconsin School of Business to bridge the arts and corporate communities. My MBA has given me the perspective to lead in a sector that needs to incorporate best practices from for-profit businesses to increase the reach, accountability, and impact of organizations that, when properly managed, have the power to change lives, communities, and the world.

The past two years have taught me that with a supportive network around you, you are capable of more than you can imagine. The Wisconsin MBA is a model of an organization where expectations and empathy are equally high. As our class leaves Grainger, I hope we bring expectations and empathy that are equally high to the industries and geographies we will disburse across. The strongest leaders know that it takes a village to succeed. Or maybe, it is as simple as the motto of the Wisconsin School of Business, Together forward.