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Badgers in Finance | Chicago

Tuesday, June 11 | 6:00pm 9:00pm

Badgers in Finance | Chicago

Join UW–Madison and fellow Badgers in Finance on June 11 for this year’s exclusive program in Chicago. During this engaging discussion, you’ll hear from featured speakers in the finance and real estate industries, as well as Vallabh “Samba” Sambamurthy, Albert O. Nicholas Dean of the Wisconsin School of Business.

We hope you will join us!

Space is limited and RSVP is required. There is no cost to attend this event.


6–7 p.m.: Cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, and networking

7–8 p.m.: Program with Q&A

8–9 p.m.: Dessert and networking


1200 W. Randolph Street
Chicago, Wisconsin 60607 United States
+ Google Map

Event Speakers

Bennett Cole

Bennett Cole

Bennett Cole is a faculty member and the finance program director at the Wisconsin School of Business (WSB) where he is responsible for providing course instruction, managing the finance department’s Career Forward initiative aimed at maximizing student career outcomes across various finance pathways, and developing/managing relationships with corporate and institutional partners.

Outside of WSB, Cole serves as a general partner at Emerging Ventures Capital, a Los Angeles-based venture capital firm focused on early-stage equity investments in emerging technology companies across the U.S., Canada, and Israel.  From 2005–2021, he was the chief executive officer of FalconBridge Capital Markets, a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and SEC-registered investment banking organization based in Charlotte, North Carolina. Prior to forming FalconBridge, Cole served as group head of middle market investing and lending at CSG Investments, Inc., a $13 billion investment manager located in Dallas.

Before joining CSG, Cole was a managing director and head of global fixed income investment banking and debt capital markets at Raymond James & Associates, where he sat on several management committees, including the Fixed Income Commitments Committee, the Fixed Income Derivatives Transaction Review Committee, and the Fixed Income Management Committee. Prior to Raymond James & Associates, Cole was a managing director and head of the consumer, esoteric, and mortgage assets structured finance groups at Wells Fargo Securities. Cole was previously a director in the Global Commercial and Investment Banking Group at Bank of America Securities, where he specialized in structured finance and asset securitization.

Cole received his undergraduate degree from the Kenan Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and earned his MBA from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University. During his banking career, he was a registered principal with FINRA and held Series 7, 63, 24, 28, and 79 licenses.

Dan Drexler

Dan Drexler (BBA ’96)

Drexler currently works at Longview Asset Management, the in-house investment vehicle for the Crown Family of Chicago, as chief investment officer of public securities. Drexler is responsible for constructing portfolios and analyzing public investments, and shares responsibility for overseeing an internal fund of funds. 

Drexler also serves as a senior advisor to Right Line Industries, a diversified industrial holding company. Additionally, Drexler serves on the board of directors of Albany Bank & Trust of Albany Park, IL, and the advisory boards of Timber Hill Group and Seven Isles Capital. 

Drexler received his undergraduate degree in accounting from the Wisconsin School of Business at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Drexler is married with three children and resides in Highland Park, IL.

Tyler Holland

Tyler Holland (BBA ’10)

Tyler R. Holland is the director of real estate development at East Lake Management & Development Corp. Holland is involved in all aspects of the company’s development business, including design/planning, financing, entitlements, project management, and leasing. Property types include affordable, market-rate, mixed-income senior and family residential, and commercial, retail, and mixed-use.

Prior to East Lake Management & Development Corp., Holland was an investment advisor at J.P. Morgan Private Bank, where he partnered with a team of professionals to provide investment, lending, and wealth advisory services to wealthy families and family offices. Holland was responsible for advising clients on their investment portfolios and implementing investment strategies across public equities, fixed income, and a range of alternative assets including private equity, hedge funds, and real estate.

Holland is involved in several industry organizations and local nonprofits. He is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and a member of the CFA Institute and CFA Society of Chicago. He serves as a commissioner for Special Service Area #32 for the Auburn Gresham neighborhood in Chicago. He is also an advisory board member of the Urban Land Institute (ULI) of Chicago. He previously served as treasurer on the board of Chicago Votes, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization focused on building a more inclusive democracy.

Holland graduated from the Wisconsin School of Business at the University of Wisconsin–Madison with an undergraduate degree in finance and real estate. He currently resides in Glenview, Illinois, a city north of Chicago, with his wife and two daughters, Anne, Amelia, and Natalie.

Dean Samba

Vallabh (Samba) Sambamurthy

Vallabh (Samba) Sambamurthy is the Albert O. Nicholas Dean of the Wisconsin School of Business. Recognized as an impactful administrator, attentive leader, and preeminent scholar in the areas of innovation and digital strategy, Sambamurthy brings extensive experience to the dean position.

Prior to his current role, Sambamurthy served as Eli Broad Professor and associate dean of the MBA and professional master’s programs at the Broad College of Business at Michigan State University. He previously served as the school’s associate dean for outreach and engagement and chair of the accounting department, leading the launch of the top-10 MS program in business analytics. He previously held faculty appointments at the University of Maryland and Florida State University.

A leading expert on how businesses compete in the digital economy, Sambamurthy’s work has been featured in leading academic journals. Several Fortune 500 firms have engaged him as a consultant. Working with executive clients and academic colleagues in China, Taiwan, Singapore, India, and Hong Kong, he has focused on digital business transformations, strategic alignment, governance, and innovation. He has co-authored several books on digital transformation.

Sambamurthy has been recognized for his contributions to teaching, research, outreach, and mentoring. The Association of Information Systems honored him with the LEO Lifetime Achievement award. He was selected as distinguished fellow of the Information Systems Society at INFORMS, and he received the William Beal Distinguished Faculty Award, the highest honor accorded by Michigan State University.

Sambamurthy received his PhD from the University of Minnesota, his MBA from the Indian Institute of Management, and his BE from the National Institute of Technology (Tiruchirappalli, India).

Sam Spitz

Sam Spitz

Former Badger football player Sam Spitz’s multi-faceted career embodies the truism: life isn’t linear. Initially charting a path as a documentary filmmaker, historian, and activist, Spitz first trained his lens on affordable housing in Chicago. With his first film, Sam traveled alongside his co-producer to universities across the U.S. and U.K., where he led conversations about race, place, and identity amidst the changing landscape of urban America. He was twice featured on CNN as part of the Chicagoland series in 2014. For Spitz, the experience illustrated the power of narrative to move people, but also highlighted the limitations for impact without capital. Inspired to marry the two, Spitz shifted focus to an emerging enterprise: the software as a service (SaaS) industry, where he’d use data to tell stories for a different audience—corporate America. 

After helping a local Chicago human resources tech startup triple its revenue by creating a bigger vision for the customer base, Spitz was recruited away in 2019 by the startup’s most strategic customer, Workday, an industry leading SaaS company that was creating a customer base sales motion of their own. 

Today, Spitz uses storytelling and advocacy to inspire Workday’s Fortune 50 health insurance customers to drive digital transformation, advises Workday Ventures’ portfolio companies on how to tell bigger stories through joint go-to-market strategy, and invests in early-stage SaaS companies. By embracing career pivots, Spitz has been able to author the next chapter of his affordable housing story as well, this time as a housing provider. He uses capital from corporate America to fund his vision of providing great people with safe, happy, and healthy homes on the South Side of Chicago, where he currently resides.