Project Assistantship Background
While I was a first year MBA student in the A.C. Nielsen Center for Marketing Analytics and Insights, many of my second years had project assistantships (PA) with organizations throughout the university. Their opportunities ranged from working for Discovery to Product, a group that helps people create new businesses, to being employed by the Wisconsin School of Business to analyze the marketing efforts. I was able to connect my professional experiences as a water resources engineer and my educational pursuits at the MBA program as the project assistant for Water@UW-Madison. Water@UW-Madison is a community building organization within the Aquatics Science Center.
As the project assistant, I organize research and social events, publish a weekly newsletter, maintain a website and social media accounts, and work to bring together people from Madison’s diverse water community. Users of Water@UW-Madison are from local, state, and federal agencies, various departments within the university, nonprofits, private companies, and concerned citizens.
Connection with my MBA Education
Being a PA for a community building organization allowed me to utilize my MBA education in several ways. My MBA curriculum included courses in Project Management, Marketing Analytics, Qualitative Consumer Insights, and Strategy. I was able to connect these courses to my PA responsibilities. I created consumer analytics reports for the newsletter and website to optimizing design and features. I conducted in-depth interviews with community members to create new programming. I also gained project management and problem-solving experiences while organizing events, maintaining timelines, managing budgets, and communicating with diverse stakeholders across the University of Wisconsin System.
Benefits of a PA
There are several benefits to being a PA. PA positions oftentimes relate directly to a student’s chosen career field, providing relevant professional experience while in school. One classmate of mine in the Strategic Human Resource Management specialization has a PA with the HR department of the College of Engineering. Another classmate in the A.C. Nielsen Center is developing a consumer insights-based marketing strategy for the Wisconsin School of Business before he will do the same at a major food company. Although my role is not as a consumer insights or data analytics researcher, I have been able to relate my coursework and future career to my current responsibilities. Additionally, the PA offers financial incentives ideal for a graduate student. I receive tuition reimbursement, a stipend, and health insurance benefits.
My PA experience is also just a really good time. I work with world-class researchers and enthusiastic community members. We all care about our water-related fields and making the university and our community a better place. My PA is a significant amount of work, about 20 hours a week, but I have enjoyed all of them and I look forward to wrapping up the semester with high-quality offerings for our members.