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On, Wisconsin Weekend Warmly Welcomes!

By Ty Day

April 23, 2024

Ty Day

It was a rainy day in 2018 when I walked the halls of Grainger for the first time. My oldest brother, the person I have been trying to emulate my whole life, was graduating with his MBA from the Wisconsin School of Business, University of Wisconsin-Madison. I remember walking with him from Grainger Hall to Camp Randall as friends and faculty, all dressed in graduation robes, offered their congratulations for his success. I was so proud to be his brother. “What if you went to Wisconsin?”, I thought to myself during the “Jump Around” portion of the graduation ceremony. It seemed like an unlikely dream then. Yet, here we are. As I walked into the doors of Grainger Hall for the 2024 “On, Wisconsin” Welcome Weekend, I took time for a moment of reflection because that dream had become a reality. For me, being accepted to the University of Wisconsin’s Strategic Human Resource MBA program was not simply going to a college to get a degree. No, for me, this program, this school, symbolized a second chance. The chance to do things professionally I thought I would never be able to do.

I was thrilled to be in Madison again and to have the privilege of participating in the weekend’s events, but was also somewhat apprehensive. Could the Wisconsin School of Business, its MBA program, and particularly the SHR Center, live up to all the hype I’d built in my mind? Well, not only did it live up to the hype, it completely blew me away.

At a high level, this weekend can be summarized by three main categories: networking, academics, and career-focus and readiness. Each focus area felt intentionally offered as a unique and enriching experience that left me even more excited about the journey ahead.


The weekend kicked off with a networking event, Trivia Night, that brought together incoming classmates, current students, and faculty and staff; it also included a visit from Bucky Badger. Everyone was exceptionally kind and welcoming, which helped to ease any initial nerves. Plus, my team, chosen randomly by sitting with other incoming students who we met during the pre-trivia mingling event, took 4th place; so, I was pretty excited!

What stood out most to me throughout the weekend was the impressive talent and diversity among the people I met. My fellow incoming classmates come from various backgrounds and lived experiences, all bringing unique perspectives to our program. Our SHR student cohort originates from across the country, with various industry experience; my new peers have worked in sales, marketing, management, and human resources. This is certain to enhance our collective learning experience. I also had the chance to chat with several faculty and staff members; their passion for teaching and dedication to their students shone through in every conversation. They were as approachable as they were knowledgeable.

During the entirety of the weekend, I felt a strong sense of community that was truly heartwarming; it reassured me that I had made the right choice in coming to Wisconsin. Especially, I felt a strong bond quickly form with my fellow SHR students: Adam, Ja’Nieka, Megan, Sam, David, Calli, Laura, Tara, and Hannah. Often, me telling someone I was an incoming SHR student, was met with an “Oh wow, there are a lot of you this year!”


One of the weekend’s highlights was a classroom experience with Professor Jan Heide, the Michael E. Lehman Distinguished Chair in Business. We engaged in a thought-provoking breakdown of a case study which allowed us to apply critical thinking and analytical skills in real time. Professor Heide’s teaching style was both engaging and insightful; leaving me with no doubt that the classes at Wisconsin are set up to help us succeed rather than to see us fail.

This experience not only confirmed my confidence in the quality of the academic program but also in the faculty’s ability to guide us through our MBA journey. I’m eagerly looking forward to the opportunity to learn from such esteemed professors.

Career Focus and Readiness

Friday afternoon we had the chance to spend time with the Career Services team; this, too, was incredibly beneficial. Career professionals taught us about personal branding, optimizing our LinkedIn presence, and crafting a noticeable resume. This guidance will undoubtedly play a crucial role in our future job searches and career development.

As someone who seeks to pursue a career in talent management, listening to Peter Faricy (the former Chairman and CEO of SunPower) speak on Friday evening during the Weikel Speaker Series ignited something inside of me that I hope to foster every day during my time in the program. He spoke about “mission focused leadership” and the importance of finding the right talent to perpetuate your organization’s mission statement. He drove home that a mission statement cannot be something you simply put on your hallways in your office; it has to be something you live. This was music to my HR ears.

Saturday’s alumni panel gave us a real perspective on what the MBA program can do for our careers going forward. Their stories of professional and personal success and advice on navigating the professional world were truly inspiring. The strong culture of the University was evident as each of the four alumni was a “Double Badger,” meaning they also went to undergrad at the University of Wisconsin. Two of the four panelists were former SHR MBA students as well. This further proved that the SHR specialization is amongst the strongest on campus. I have every belief that this program will set me up for a long and successful career.

Here’s to What Is Ahead

My experience at the “On, Wisconsin” Welcome Weekend left me excited and grateful to be a part of the Wisconsin School of Business SHR Center. The incredible people within the SHR Center, including the faculty, current students, and my fellow incoming classmates, have already made me feel at home. And as if everything I just wrote wasn’t enough… the Madison Farmers Market, which a group of us visited on Saturday morning, was as close to a heavenly experience as I’ve had. The food, the colors and smells, the energy from the vendors, it was all so intoxicating.

Any fears or apprehensions I initially had are now completely gone. Instead, I’m filled with excitement for the journey ahead and the opportunities it holds. You know it was a successful weekend when you hear multiple people say: “I wish I didn’t have to leave.”

On, Wisconsin!