One of the benefits of being part of the A.C. Nielsen Center is access to industry leaders through our External Advisory Board. We’re assigned mentors when we first arrive and then get additional mentors in our second year. When I was first assigned my External Advisory Board (EAB) Mentor, I honestly didn’t expect very much from this relationship. I had anticipated that at Board Meetings we would grab a quick cup of coffee and do the standard networking procedures. I had no idea the added value this EAB Mentor relationship would bring. I didn’t expect that we would speak a few times semester on the phone.
I didn’t expect that she would reach out to me to check in and see how school, life, and career choices were going. I didn’t expect to consistently be using her as a sounding board and to get fantastic industry-based advice. I wasn’t expecting an actual relationship- and I’m so happy to be wrong.
Tara Marotti from Burke is a fantastic EAB Mentor and I consider myself very lucky to have built a long-standing relationship with her. Tara brings years of industry experience to the table in order to help give sound and educated advice on various business and academia-based situations. It isn’t uncommon for me to reach out on a random weekday and ask if she happens to have a few minutes to chat in the next few days to answer some questions. Of course, the response is always yes and Tara is usually giving up her lunch to be able to hop on the phone with me. I’ve asked for advice on everything across the board, including curriculum choices, industry predictions about techniques and trends, negotiation tactics, and more. Tara’s interest in both my success and the program’s success is evident and always present. I’m unsure if everyone in the program has this type of relationship with their mentor, but if Tara has taught me anything, it’s that you make the most of your own situations and opportunities. There’s no harm in reaching out, saying “hi,” and asking a few questions. At the minimum, you get a new perspective on a situation. At the maximum, you build a relationship and you expand your network. The EAB is there for the students and that’s what makes the Wisconsin MBA & the A.C. Nielsen combination so unique compared to other programs out there.