If you asked me a couple years ago, Wisconsin wouldn’t have been where I expected to end up. I’m from a small school in the East coast, I hate the winter, and I don’t think I would have been able to picture myself at a school in the Midwest. But from the moment I stepped on campus, I knew that, despite my worries, I had chosen the right place for me. And I believe UW-Madison and the Wisconsin School of Business can give that feeling to others. Though there are countless reasons to choose Wisconsin, I’ll outline the top ones here, the ones that make Wisconsin the place to be.
THE SPECIALIZATION MODEL
The first thing that jumped out about Wisconsin was the specialization model. As someone who was interested in an MBA but also had a very specific area of interest, the MBA program and its various specializations seemed like the perfect blend of general education and deep dive. Here, unlike other MBA programs, I can probe further, dive deeper, and learn more about the area that I’d like to work in – marketing research. Here, unlike MS programs, I am also able to get the broad business and general management knowledge of an MBA. Wisconsin gives you the skills to be both an organization-wide leader and an expert in your field.
THE SMALL PROGRAM SIZE
Another great thing about the MBA program here at Wisconsin? The small program size! Some programs I considered in my decision-making process have upwards of 500 students enrolled per class. While I don’t doubt that those schools, with their large classes, have a large pool of student experiences to share and learn from. However, for me, the small size of the program at Wisconsin was the way to go for me. Coming from a small undergraduate community, I preferred small class sizes and being able to foster close relationships with my classmates and professors. As a member of a class of 99 students, I feel confident that my knowledge of my classmates – their experiences, passions, and goals – is greater than if I was in a cohort of hundreds. The program feels more like a family, a close-knit community of quality people to learn from and grow with.
It wouldn’t be a comprehensive list without touching briefly on costs, would it? An average MBA can cost a person upwards of $150,000 for the two years. With tuition, program fees, books, and living expenses, costs can really add up. Add to that the loss of income someone could be earning during that time, cost is a huge factor. For the Wisconsin MBA, the cost conversation turns into a discussion about value. Wisconsin is the second most affordable MBA program in the top 35 and is one of the top programs for return on investment – just look on our website to see all the stats! Furthermore, financial aid to help ease the burden of paying for school is available for those with merit and those willing to work. In my one and a half years at Wisconsin, I have been incredibly fortunate to be at a school that dedicates itself to helping its students afford the cost of education. Teaching assistantships, project assistantships, and a variety of other opportunities make the Wisconsin MBA a stellar value.
Finally, the primary reason I advocate so heavily for the Wisconsin School of Business and would make this same decision all over again: the people. The people – students, staff, faculty, corporate partners, and alumni – are the largest asset for Wisconsin. My classmates are intelligent, driven, incredibly caring group of individuals and act, for all intents and purposes, as my second family in this home away from home. The professors are invested in their students and their understanding of their subjects and make going to class (even at 8am) worth it. The staff work their butts off to establish partnerships, run their specializations, and help students get the most out of their two years. Corporate partners provide a vital outside perspective and hands-on experiences to better prepare students for the workplace. And the alumni network – a community of over 40,000 – is a constant presence that are eager to support whenever they can. The people make this program the place to be.
There are numerous reasons to choose Wisconsin, ones that revealed themselves in time and others that were immediately obvious. Ultimately, I think the program at UW-Madison is exemplary and rich in benefits for those looking to get an MBA. Wisconsin truly is a family, and one I consider myself extremely grateful to be a part of. The question is not “Why Wisconsin?” The question becomes, “Why would I want to be anywhere else?”