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RMI MBA Orientation: Informative, Motivating, and Fun

By Caroline McCloskey

September 8, 2023

RMI MBA students, alumni, and faculty on the Memorial Union Terrace

The incoming MBA class of 2025 had a fun-filled orientation week getting to know not only one another but all of what the Wisconsin School of Business has to offer. What sets Wisconsin apart from other MBA programs is the opportunity to specialize in a specific field of business and similar to the other specializations, the first-year RMI MBA students had a day of orientation dedicated to hearing more about this incredible specialization. The chance to connect with career coaches, faculty, second-year RMI MBAs, and alumni was a great way to kick off the school year and get us excited for the journey that lies ahead.

Caroline McCloskey
Caroline McCloskey

The day started with insight on how to network and market yourself as an MBA student, as well as how to give an elevator pitch. The awkward silence on an elevator may be acceptable sometimes, but imagine you’re on an elevator (or in any small interaction) with your dream employer or mentor. Would you know how to sell yourself in a quick yet professional manner? With the help of Laura Berkan from Career Services and Joan Schmit, we learned there is an art to an elevator pitch—it tells a story and it will consistently change throughout our careers. Though classes had not yet started, the discussions around prepping for internships and careers were motivating and to have such supportive faculty working with us early on confirmed I chose the right school and specialization.

Following some tips on networking, we met the extremely experienced faculty who lead the RMI program here at UW-Madison. Rest assured that if there is an area within the RMI industry you’re interested in, there is bound to be a faculty or staff member with a connection to that area. We then left Grainger Hall and ventured to the Fluno Center for an enjoyable lunch with first-year RMI MBAs, second-year RMI MBAs, and faculty. Second-year MBAs shared their backgrounds and internship experiences which facilitated discussions between all of us about our interests and backgrounds. With each person’s story, I learned how diverse the RMI industry is, yet how small it is too.

Though we are surrounded by faculty with a myriad of experiences, we also had the privilege to hear from those working in the RMI industry who are alumni of the program. Similar to our lunch discussions, the alumni shared their varying experiences as well as how their MBA set them up for success in their current roles. For example, Gwen Ezell graduated from the RMI MBA program and now works as a risk management professional for the University of Wisconsin. She’s been able to identify her transferable skills and use them to be successful from company to company. Qian Xia credits her MBA in RMI for putting her in a strategic data-driven role at TruStage and is now able to contribute greatly to her organization’s success. Alumni Colin Lane, Anne Judd, and Josh Berman also discussed their varying experiences and once again, I was reassured I’d chosen the right school and specialization.

The day ended with a casual get-together on the Terrace at Memorial Union. I enjoyed the more informal discussions with alumni and was able to converse about my personal experience in the industry. The RMI orientation was informative, motivating, and fun, and the shared excitement for the next two years could be felt by all who attended.