It has been a crazy journey, but one that I have never regretted starting on. I have spent the past two years in the full-time MBA program at the Wisconsin School of Business and in the A.C. Nielsen Center for Marketing Research. As I think back on my experiences, I can’t help the surge of emotions that envelop me. Coming to the MBA has truly changed my life: it allowed me to grow as a researcher, it offered career opportunities I couldn’t have dreamed of, and it introduced me to a network of friends who have truly become family.

Academically, I couldn’t have asked for a more rigorous program. The core classes gave me a deeper understanding of business and the specialization courses allowed me to deep dive into the subjects that interested me. I believe the broader business knowledge and the marketing research expertise helped me to grow as a market researcher and will make me a more valuable asset to organizations throughout my career.

Speaking of career options, the MBA experience has opened more doors than I thought possible. Coming into the program straight out of undergrad, I wasn’t completely confident that I would be viewed as a valuable addition to the companies that came to recruit. I thought my lack of professional, full-time work would hinder me from achieving the same level of success as my more experienced classmates. However, being in the program quickly changed my mind. Interview prep helped me gain confidence in my own skills and my ability to communicate the value of my experiences to employers. Coursework and side projects helped me hone my research abilities and gave me additional stories to show my own skillset and the contribution I could make to a company. The opportunities I was exposed to and the assistance I received to help me make full use of those opportunities was invaluable and truly speaks to what the MBA program can do for its students.

Finally, the biggest piece of my MBA experience, and the one that I’ll keep with me forever, was undoubtedly the people I met along the way. Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “Many people will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends will leave footprints in your heart.” This sentiment rings true with the friends and relationships I have made here. My classmates and fellow Nielsenites are some of the most incredible people I have met and I count them as some of my closet friends. Together, we have weathered the bad times and celebrated the good; we have told the hard truths, provided a shoulder to cry on when needed, and formed a web of support that can outlast even the most demanding challenges. Ultimately, my MBA friends have become my MBA family and I consider myself lucky to be a part of that network. I have gained much during my MBA experience and am so thankful for the part it has played in my life. It will not be easy to say goodbye in a few short days, but armed with the skills I learned and honed and with my Nielsen and MBA family behind, I know that I’m well set to start the next leg of my journey.

Vamos a Cuba