Letter from the Director
by Kristin Branch
Summer greetings from Madison Alumni & Friends
I always feel bad that our students are off doing internships as they don’t get to experience Madison’s wonderful summers. But they are having fantastic learning and career-enhancing experiences so it makes up for it, of course.
The Wisconsin School of Business is on an upward trajectory these days and that is very exciting. Our incoming Dean, Dr. Vallabh “Samba” Sambamurthy, while hasn’t officially started has certainly been around Grainger as he is starting to get to know us, our industry and alumni friends and start a strategic planning vision for the WSB. We’re all looking forward to having him here full time starting in August. Our graduating class of 2019 all made a donation pledge back to UW as a part of the graduation campaign. This is an incredible sign of the bright future they see for UW – a big Thank You to our Class of 2019 and we would encourage you to consider making a gift to share in the enthusiasm. Alumni and industry contributions end up making over 50% of our operating budget which means we can’t do all that we do without your help.
Speaking of all we do, this was another great full school year. We kicked off the year with the Summit in October 2018 – which was a phenomenal success. We hope you can mark your calendars for October 8-9, 2020 for the next Summit. Our Summit website will be updated as we have news to share. Our new Alumni Reps, David Gailey, Class of 2012 and Malcolm Thorne, Class of 1997, have already started thinking about how to make the next Summit even better.
We continued the recent tradition of going on a “Tech Trip” over spring break – this year traveling to Seattle. Rising second year student, David Koser, who is interning at Eli Lilly in Indianapolis wrote a great summary of the trip for this newsletter. Thanks David.
As you may have heard, the Wisconsin School of Business announced a new Masters in Business Analytics which will have its first cohort of students starting this fall. This new program is accompanied by eight new classes which the A.C. Nielsen Center is excited to announce that three of them will be a part of our required curriculum moving forward. We are thrilled to be able to update our curriculum to include more ‘Big Data’ analytical skills in addition to the quantitative and qualitative primary insight discovery tools we already teach. Our focus remains not only on the tools to find insights but also on the strategic implementation of those insights into marketing and business strategies, consistent with the MBA degree we offer. The three business analytic classes we added to the A.C. Nielsen Center MBA curriculum include: Data Technology, Data Visualization and Experimentation and Causal Analysis. I am helping the new Business Analytics initiative in addition to my role at the A.C. Nielsen Center so I am the person to contact if you have any questions about this new Masters. Exciting times!
As always, I see one of the reasons our program is so strong and well-respected, is because of the strong relationships we have with our alumni and industry friends. THANK YOU. Please let us know how you may want to get involved as we start to plan the next school year and as always, let us know if there is anything we can do for you.
All my best & On, Wisconsin!
Seattle Tech Industry Trek
by David Koser, Class of 2020
In March 2019, the A.C. Nielsen Center for Marketing Research teamed with the Center for Brand and Product Management to visit technology companies in the Seattle area for the Spring Break Technology Trip. We visited Expedia, Zillow, Microsoft, Amazon, and Starbucks. The University of Wisconsin in general, and the A.C. Nielsen Center in particular, has alumni or External Advisory Board (EAB) members at each company, which allowed for a personalized experience. These discussions gave us insights into the company cultures and the skills we would need to develop to work there. Read more about the Seattle Tech Trip »
A Global Perspective from China
by Emily Litvak, Class of 2020
The global trip to China provided the opportunity to visit nine different companies during our two-week stay. To be completely honest, at the beginning of the trip, I thought visiting nine companies was going to become somewhat redundant. That said, when it was all said and done, I was very thankful for the depth and breadth of the exposure, as it enabled me to hone in on the trends that seemed to be impacting Chinese businesses the most, both generally and within specific industries. Continue reading about the China Trip »
by Rick Cardenas, Class of 2020
The Leadership Symposium is just one of many resources available to students that assist us in developing our leadership skills and push us to discover how we can make an impact in the world. This three day event is packed with entrepreneurial speakers, personal development workshops, and other practical sessions that help lay a foundation for a successful career.
This Spring, we had the pleasure of kicking off the Symposium with a workshop session led by Deanna Singh, the Founder of Flying Elephant Foundation. Read about Deanna’s workshop and the full Leadership Symposium»
Spring 2019 External Advisory Board Meeting
by Stew Slipher, Class of 2019
Every semester, the students and staff of the A.C. Nielsen Center for Marketing Research have the tremendous opportunity to interact, learn, and grow in partnership with its External Advisory Board here on the University of Wisconsin campus. As a student, I felt that these meetings have been one of the most-value added experiences that extended my passion for the marketing research profession far beyond the classrooms at Grainger Hall. Read the entire story »
by Trevor Spranger, Class of 2019
In addition to all the academic rigor and generous resources of the A.C. Nielsen Center, last Spring I also was accepted into the Weinert Center Entrepreneurship Fellowship. I am incredibly grateful for this opportunity to study entrepreneurship at the Wisconsin School of Business and to further hone my marketing research skills through approaching new markets and dealing with ambiguity. Read about Trevor’s Weinert Fellowship »
Becoming an MBA: A Second Year Reflection
by Kathryn Elenius, Class of 2019
A mere 21 months ago, I joined the A.C. Nielsen Center with 10 highly accomplished classmates. I had dreamed of being in marketing insights since my undergrad and I was nervous. I was in some ways the odd one out with a nontraditional background in entrepreneurship. While I already knew I could accomplish anything I set my mind to, I did not yet know how to communicate that confidence in the corporate setting. I was excited to learn how to take the leap into the marketing insights industry. Read Kathryn’s full reflection on becoming an MBA »
Full Time & Internships: Where are our Students Headed?
by Rodrigo Stabio, Class of 2019
The decision to get an MBA for me was simple: Absolutely. The tough part was choosing the right schools to apply to. In thinking about my future career, I was certain that I wanted to be in marketing. Whether that was Marketing Research and being the voice of the consumer, or a marketing role closer to sales, I wasn’t quite sure. Find out where our students are headed »
Alumni Spotlight: Jackie Hillback
by Emily Litvak, Class of 2020
With nearly two decades of insights experience under her belt, Jackie reflected on her time at UW and how it helped shape her into a highly successful leader at top insights companies like Pepsi, SC Johnson and Beam Suntory.
As is the case with many of us, Jackie stumbled upon the career path to some degree when she was moved into a product manager role at a bank and found herself enjoying the process of understanding the full business model and answering questions with consumers at the forefront. Read the entire story »
Faculty Spotlight: Evan Polman
by Ammad Amin, Class of 2019
Evan’s journey to becoming an academic is somewhat unique. While interning at a very prestigious bank as an undergrad he realized he wanted to explore all possible career paths before committing to a career in the corporate world. He had taken a class in creativity and already worked with his professor on some research which really appealed to him. After carefully weighing his options he decided to apply to graduate schools where faculty was researching creativity in groups. He ended up in Cornell University with an advisor who was a perfect fit for his research interests. Read the entire story »
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