With customizable curriculum and career paths to meet the ever-evolving demand for innovative business solutions, the Wisconsin School of Business (WSB) at the University of Wisconsin–Madison is educating the next generation of business leaders. To highlight the range of paths and new possibilities in business, the school launched a campaign showcasing over 20 emerging leaders, each driven by different purposes, values, and backgrounds, but with one common identifier—they are all trusted to lead.
Business is changing. An increasingly digital economy requires business education to be innovative and agile while redefining the purpose of business to focus beyond profits on the greater good. These changes support and champion the disruption to business-as-usual that the next generation is demanding, both as consumers and working professionals.
With passions for a healthier, more sustainable, and more equitable world, today’s students are flipping the career paradigm to redefine the possibilities in business.
“I really want to look for a company that is working toward things that I personally value,” says Michelle Yang (BBA ’25), a marketing and finance student featured in the campaign. “I’m looking for a company that will push me to grow.”
The Trusted to Lead campaign features students from all WSB programs—from undergraduate to PhD —and showcases a variety of backgrounds, experiences, and values to reiterate that there is no one path to business. Communicating through stories and video, these students are clear that they want more from their business careers than the next promotion. They want to have a real-world impact on the communities and customers they serve. And they want to be prepared with the skills and experience necessary to lead in today’s digital economy.
WSB’s flexible approach meets demand from industry and students
At WSB, every student’s path is as unique as the background they bring to it. The school recently launched new tracks in many of its one-year master’s programs; developed new tracks in the full-time MBA to prepare students for tech careers; rebuilt its professional MBA with a modular badge platform focusing on business analytics, customer insight, financial insight, international business, strategic innovation, strategic growth, and business responsibility; and introduced more than 40 new career pathways in its undergraduate program.
“With a more flexible approach to our curriculum and career development, we can provide access to more individualized career paths that mirror both disruptions in business and new demands from students,” says Vallabh “Samba” Sambamurthy, WSB’s Albert O. Nicholas Dean.
Customizations from the undergraduate to the executive MBA level allow the school’s more than 4,300 students to personalize their classroom and co-curricular experiences. By leveraging a more flexible platform for course development and career training, the school is also creating customization at scale, keeping all WSB programs nimble in their delivery as business evolves.
The next generation of business leaders
The students featured in the Trusted to Lead campaign exemplify the future of work and what it means to forge their own paths into business.
The campaign tells the stories of more than 20 WSB students across multiple degree programs. These next-generation leaders include:
Changemakers who are using their skills to create positive change in business and beyond. First-generation student Avi Gomez (MBA ’23) pivoted from tech to human resources to uplift women and minorities.
“[I try] to encourage others to pursue their goals because it can seem hard at first. But I’ve been able to do it. So I want to show others that they can too.”
Business builders who are making their business ideas a reality—from Nigerian snacks to streetwear. Global food entrepreneur Oyindamola Owolabi (MS ’23) is using business analytics to connect Nigerians to their roots.
“I am building a business to learn how to navigate through life. We live in a world where everything is changing so quickly.”
Community impactors who are on a mission to make every professional win a win for their community—from affordable housing in the U.S. to the economic health of Egypt. International student Ebraham Wahba (MBA ’23) has a vision for more effective investing in Egypt and believes he can make it happen.
“We need someone with a good background and great experience that comes in and knows how to actually get a return on the investment. I’m not talking about the money, but actual social return. When you see other people’s lives changing, this is the return I’m looking for.”
Boundary breakers who are combining other disciplines—like public health and the arts—with business for greater impact. Charles Forbes (BBA ’23) is bringing a new type of critical thinking to the political and finance industries.
“Understanding what’s going on in the world and how different events all connect is an overarching passion of mine. I have a curiosity about the world and how things work.”
Value-driven leaders who are ready to lead in the workplace—no matter where they find themselves on the org chart. Olivia Osare (BBA ’24) dreams of someday owning a business driven by passion with a wide-reaching impact.
“Everything is a business. I figured, if you can find a passion, there’s a way to intertwine it into your life. In the business school, there are people who are on that wavelength, helping you figure that out.”
This new campaign follows the school’s first brand campaign released last year featuring six alumni working at companies like Audible, WarnerBros, and Gymshark along with entrepreneurs reinventing industries.