During a recent conversation with RMI MBA alumnus Mike Mansell (’19), a theme easily emerged: connections among people.
Mike is a connector and has used those skills throughout his adult life. Those skills came in handy even as an undergraduate. Mike holds a bachelor’s of business administration degree from UW-Madison with majors in Risk Management and Insurance, and Real Estate. He completed two internships with Liberty Mutual and knew that he wanted to spend more time learning from the RMI professors with whom he had developed close relationships, yet understood that he would benefit from some work experience first. Therefore, he moved to Chicago for a risk management rotational program at GE Capital and was later employed by Kearney. Mike made a point to broaden his networks during those positions, which came in handy once he joined UW-Madison’s RMI MBA program.
Early in his MBA, Mike realized that he wanted to do cutting-edge work in insurance innovation. He researched American Family Ventures and was eager to do an internship there. After a successful summer internship, Mike was offered a full-time job doing exactly what he set out to accomplish.
In simple terms, Mike was hired by a venture capital investment firm focused on investing in startup companies that stand to impact the future of risk management and insurance. Mike explained, “the best part is that I get to meet and listen to really smart and ambitious people share innovations they want to build. It is a constant flow of ideas and concepts, many that are new to me and the insurance industry.” It is easy to see that while Mike put everything in place to obtain his specific career, he is humbled by not only his team members but also by the founders and executives from all over the country with whom he meets.
Mike stressed that his time in the MBA program went by quickly and that it is very important to connect with people at every opportunity. He suggested that students begin by networking with their classmates, including classes above and below theirs, as well as the vast alumni network eager to meet them. He said that though it is crucial to have a wide network, we should be sure to maintain close relationships with those that are most important to us.
When reflecting on his time in the program, Mike also mentioned how special it was to learn from Joan Schmit and the other faculty in the department. He said that Wisconsin’s program “attracts the kind of people you want to be around: down to earth, smart, high-quality. We’re all here for one another.” Indeed, Mike. Indeed.