Building business badgers is not an easy task. With a multitude of backgrounds and experiences, how can a program ensure that they are sending well-rounded businesspeople into the workforce? By requiring a set of core classes from various specializations, the Wisconsin School of Business has succeeded at turning students into adaptable and prepared employees.
The first semester in the FTMBA program consists predominately of these core courses. Ranging from leadership building, like Leading and Working in Teams, to technical skill building, such as Financial Management, these courses provide an understanding for different areas within future workplaces. These classes build confidence to work in cross-functional teams during our summer internships and push our projects further by lowering the learning curves of different departments. For CBPM students, we consistently hear that a brand manager is the “hub of the wheel,” and these classes allow for easier communication with our “spokes” and better understanding of what is feasible. The first semester also brought to life the idea that in many business settings, there is not one single right answer. The Business Strategy class allowed students to be comfortable not having the right answer, while also making many analytical thinkers comfortable with the gray areas that many business solutions fall in.
The second semester core courses follow a similar trend to the first, but now also allow students to take what they learned in the core courses and apply it to a semester-long project. The Consulting Practicum course has its students use factors from every core course in a real-life issue for a sponsor company. Taking what we learned from the past year, MBA students bring together a solution for the company’s problem. While the end goal for the course is to be one of the four teams selected to present to the sponsor company, many students will win much more. Learning how to set achievable deadlines and working on interdisciplinary steps within the project, this course will mimic our future careers.
Along with the core courses, the core teams are at the heart of building business badgers. Having a team of 4-5 members with differing backgrounds and specializations provides room to grow through storming phases as well as provides many moments to take the lead on an assignment. With multiple group projects in the various courses, each core team member can work on their ability to lead the project, whether it be in their field of interest or one they are not comfortable in.
Core courses create the foundation to being a good manager. They help students develop the skills necessary to work in and lead teams, and they provide the understanding that everyone has different workstyles and interests. Without these courses, many students may choose classes that interest them, but would not push them outside of their comfort zone. With the different perspectives taken from these courses, each MBA student has a unique foundation that will provide more learning opportunities for their classmates in the future. Moving forward, although in predominately specialization courses, second year students will continue to grow through group projects with other students and the chance to learn from one another.