Picking the right school for your MBA is a confusing and challenging process. There are different trains of thought, everyone has different advice, and certain career paths may have different routes. As I collected advice from my network and gathered information from articles, I knew I needed to distill my thoughts into the things that were most important to me in a program. I realized those things were: 1) solid recruitment partners and job placement statistics, 2) a strong alumni network, and 3) a supportive and friendly culture that would make my experience enjoyable. Throughout my time in the A.C. Nielsen Center, I’ve realized that in addition to these elements, I got lucky because there were other factors that I wasn’t thinking about at the time that make the A.C. Nielsen Center a unique and special place. Below are the top 5 reasons why I picked the A.C. Nielsen Center and why I’m glad I did.
- Recruitment partnerships: While much of the reason I was going back to school was because I wanted to learn, many of us also go back to school to propel our careers forward and land the job we want. I knew I wanted a school that had strong career placement and recruitment partnerships. Throughout my time exploring MBA programs, all A.C. Nielsen Center alumni assured me that the Center had strong industry partners who were eager to hire A.C. Nielsen Center students. Now as a student, I can say that this is definitely the case. If you want to go into marketing analytics or marketing insights, this is the place for you.
- Alumni network: The Wisconsin School of Business (WSB) has a smaller class size than many other programs I was exploring. Because of this, I was initially skeptical of the WSB alumni network. Throughout my time exploring programs, Kristin Branch, the Director of the A.C. Nielsen Center, connected me to several alumni across the country so I could hear their experiences and decide if it was the right fit for me. It was through this experience that I learned how strong and tightknit the community of alumni is. Although it may be smaller than other schools, everyone is so willing to help, and the size seems to make people more engaged in the community.
- Friendly/supportive culture: The Midwest culture and the small class size create a community of students that is ambitious without being competitive. I have met new best friends in the program that I will keep in touch with for the rest of my life. The culture has definitely contributed to my happiness throughout the program, and I am grateful for that.
- External advisory board: The External Advisory Board (EAB) is something I didn’t fully understand the value of before I started my MBA experience. The EAB is a group of 50 industry executives and experts who bring their expertise to advise Center staff regarding the direction of the Center. Each semester, students participate in their board meetings, where we get to network with, seek advice from, and listen to the conversations of these industry experts. This is truly an invaluable experience, and you can read more about my experience with the EAB in another blog post here.
- Applied learning: Our applied learning class is something I was aware of while I was applying, but I didn’t know about all of the applied learning experiences I would get. It’s no secret that what you learn in the classroom is conceptually helpful, but can be hard to translate to your career once you’re in the field. The variety of applied learning experiences we get in the A.C. Nielsen Center helps bridge that gap. In addition to a weekly applied learning class where we have an industry guest, we have a variety of trips, consulting projects, case competitions, and other opportunities to apply what we’re learning in the classroom so that when we get to our jobs, it’s not our first time trying to apply what we’ve learned. I feel confident these experiences will help us all in our jobs after graduation.