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Alumni in Action

Business Casual: July 2020

By Alumni Relations

July 28, 2020

An informal but informative newsletter for WSB alumni and friends

The Briefing

Icons of interconnected people and circles

Professor Polman: Consumers still figuring out the new normal

Are you spending a lot of time worrying about what other people are doing these days? That’s perfectly normal, says Evan Polman, associate professor of marketing, in a UW Now Livestream conversation about how COVID-19 impacts consumer behavior. When there is uncertainty, consumers look to others to determine their own behavior as we all form new habits. Some habits are likely to stick around and only time will tell which ones will hold. On the business side, Polman believes some of the new approaches of more cashless and contactless service will likely endure.

illustration of Grainger Hall

New professional MBA program to provide flexibility

Flexibility and convenience are what many potential MBA students want most, and a new part-time graduate degree program will provide them. The Wisconsin Professional MBA, launching in Fall 2021, blends 50% in-person and 50% online instruction. WSB designed the degree to meet the needs of working professionals with an innovative badge format that can be customized and serve as a foundation for alumni lifelong learning.

light bulb

Alumni in Action: Joe Loehnis keeps a summer tradition going

In Madison, summer means Concerts on the Square at the State Capitol…or it would if this were a typical summer. Instead, CEO Joe Loehnis (MBA ’18) is leading the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra at a time when its signature event had to be reimagined in order to stay relevant. “Our season was just starting,” he says. “We just kept going.”

Outline of a check list

Tip Sheet

As the country wrestles with issues of racial injustice, employers are committing to create more equitable workplaces and review their practices. Binnu Palta Hill, WSB assistant dean for diversity and inclusion, recommends a summary of research insights from Stanford and Cambridge University scholars who examined the role of organizations in perpetuating inequalities. Their findings, published in The Organizational Reproduction of Inequality, discuss five organizational practices that promote inequality. Thoughtful consideration in each of these areas could lead to a more equitable workplace and society.

  1. Hiring: Using cultural similarity and informal networks to evaluate and screen candidates often excludes minorities.
  2. Promotion: Networks that seek familiarity create advancement challenges for ethnic minorities and women.
  3. Role allocation: Perception of who is appropriate for which roles holds some back.
  4. Compensation: Differences exist despite similarities in performance evaluations.
  5. Organizational structuring: Internal values and interests can prioritize some groups over others despite an attempt at neutrality.

Outline of a backpack

Back to School

What is ‘intrapreneurship’ and why is it emerging in the business world?

No, that’s not a typo. Intrapreneurship takes the principle of entrepreneurship—finding an opportunity and creating a solution—and applies it to a large organization.

It’s not a new concept, says Adam J. Bock (MBA ’99), a WSB lecturer who teaches entrepreneurship and innovation. But interest in intrapreneurship has gained traction recently due to rapid change. That’s not something large organizations are always good at, Bock says, because organizations succeed in part with their specialized, efficient approaches.

“Now these rates of change are rewarding organizations that retain the ability to do different things more quickly,” Bock says. “Large organizations want to learn to become more innovative.”

That doesn’t mean opening a Department of Intrapreneurship, Bock says. It’s a mindset, and not one in search of a “eureka!” moment. Instead, organizations can facilitate intrapreneurial thinking with managed processes that encourage employees to be aware of change and take calculated risks.

“It’s not just putting people in a room and telling them to be creative,” he says.

To learn more, watch WSB’s Alumni Webinar “Empowering Intrapreneurship.”

Alumni Opportunities

Aug. 20: Alumni Webinar: Designing a Personal Brand to Grow Your Career

Aug. 26: Badger Executive Talks: Tom Westrick (BBA ’90), Chief Quality Officer, GE Healthcare

Past events: Watch previous Alumni Webinars or Badger Executive Talks

Job search resources: Online tools and videos to help plan a career move now or in the future

About Business Casual

Every other month, alumni and friends of the Wisconsin School of Business will receive insider updates with news about our alumni, faculty, students, and programs. If you want to share Business Casual with friends, they can join our mailing list


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