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Dean's Corner

My Thoughts on the Best Business Jobs

A note to business students on careers, values, and finding your passion

By Vallabh Sambamurthy

January 18, 2022

WSB alum Sennai Atsbeha represents the Trusted to Lead campaign
WSB’s Trusted to Lead platform showcases alumni who have made their own way in business.

As we start 2022, I’ve seen a few reports on the best business jobs, the best companies, and a lot of coverage about “the great resignation” or reevaluation.

Attitudes toward work and careers are clearly changing. How could they not given the significant disruptions that we are seeing all around us?

Some reports list specific roles as the “best business jobs.” (According to U.S. News & World Report, financial manager is #2 and market research analyst is #4—areas where the Wisconsin School of Business excels and places a lot of students). However, I want to offer some expanded perspective on business careers.

It’s not about the job, the company, or the skills—it’s about you. I hope that you’ve learned through our business programs that, beyond your knowledge and skills, your values and passion will be the essential drivers of your long-term career success. If not, let me emphasize their criticality.

Yes, that first job or internship experience is a jumping-off point that opens up significant possibilities. However, if you find what truly motivates you, you’ll have the power to affect meaningful change for the rest of your career. So, as you start this semester, as you meet with your advisor, or consider your next career move—don’t look past what innately drives you; listen to that inner voice.

You are at the Wisconsin School of Business because you have significant potential. We are here to help you find those possibilities, develop your confidence, and highlight how your values can match up with essential business skills to have an impact beyond yourself.

At Wisconsin, business and leadership preparation are more than a set of courses. It’s about discovering the unique set of skills and values that can change the world for good. It’s about being trusted to lead.

We’ve seen grit, humility, and hard work propel careers more than anything else. We know our Midwest values and global mindset take us far.

Change is constant, and while we’ll provide you with the right set of technical skills, your ability to constantly learn, adjust, work with others, and make sound decisions will be your greatest assets.

This month, we launched a platform to share the stories of WSB alumni who made their own way in business. I encourage you to read about their journeys and find inspiration in the possibilities.

Of course, there’s no magical solution to finding your place in business. It doesn’t come instantaneously. In the stories of these six individuals, you’ll see that each one of them had a unique path.

You might pursue your areas of specialization throughout your career like Cynthia Chu (BBA ’99), who double majored in finance and marketing and now leads these two functions for Audible. Or, your career might take some twists and turns before you find a place of purpose. Kyle Nakatsuji (MBA ’11) started as a football player, then a lawyer, and now is the CEO of a tech startup.

You might already have a passion that you want to pursue like Sennai Atsbeha (MBA ’09), who uses his understanding of culture to lead brand marketing at Gymshark. Or, it may take time to find the best way to harness your passion, like Reena Vokoun (BBA ’98) who started her own wellness company after having worked at Google and Reebok for over 10 years.

You might realize that you have a unique ability to thrive in a specific environment, like Jim Wuthrich (BBA ’86) who has been an intrapreneur within one of the world’s most-watched entertainment brands. Or, it could very well be a specific moment that inspires an entire career based on service, like Jake Wood (BBA ‘05) who founded Team Rubicon and Groundswell.

No matter how you define yourself, we offer many opportunities to set you up for career success. The Career Forward program for undergraduate students lets you explore career paths and develop a customized approach. Our master’s and MBA degree programs position you to advance your career as a specialized expert or general business leader. However, only you can make your career come to life in a way that’s uniquely your own journey.

So, do keep an eye on your grades, your internship, global opportunities, or your job after graduation. But, know that there’s a bigger driver fueling your passions, shaped by your values and uniqueness. Use those to find your place in business, to see where you specifically can make the biggest impact.

It’s clearly not one-size-fits-all, and there is no “best business job.” But there is a best business job for you. And at WSB, we’re committed to helping you find it.