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Full-Time MBA Student Spotlights

Alumni Connections Advance Career Transition

Brian Cleary

Brian Cleary

University of Wisconsin–Madison, Wisconsin School of Business
MBA Graduation Year: 2019
Specialization: Real Estate and Urban Land Economics
Hometown: Arlington Heights, Illinois (Chicago suburbs)
Internship: Real Estate Intern, Equus Capital Partners

Brian Cleary is getting his Wisconsin MBA to switch from engineering to real estate to work in acquisitions and development. Drawn here by the reputation of the real estate program, Brian is gaining a strong financial background, an extensive network, and comprehensive real estate expertise.

I knew I’d need to earn an MBA to strengthen my business skills. Working as a consulting mechanical engineer and construction manager inspired me to transition to real estate. During my undergraduate engineering degree, I took very few business and finance classes. The Wisconsin specialization model allowed me to get exposure to core business classes and immerse myself in real estate from day one. The deep-dive curriculum in our first year has positioned me to join the industry at the level I want.

Alumni support of the MBA program and students is second to none. We have extensive interaction with alumni and other top real estate professionals who are dedicated supporters of the program. Alumni are always willing to advise us on the industry and career opportunities. In our very first week, we had the opportunity to network and meet several of our alumni at the Wisconsin Real Estate Alumni Association meeting.

The deep-dive curriculum in our first year has positioned me to join the industry at the level I want.

—Brian Cleary

The culture here is highly collaborative and we all challenge each other. With just 100 students in my class, I am getting to know many on a personal level. The environment is one of respect, collaboration, and constructive competition, whether we are in class, grabbing lunch, or grabbing a beer.

Each student selects an alumni mentor, which is an extremely valuable resource throughout the program. My mentor is an alum who works for a very large, publicly traded company. We talk once a month about interviews and jobs, updates in the real estate industry, and the UW Badgers teams. He always makes himself accessible and helps in any way he can.

The Real Estate Club has provided many opportunities to learn about different markets and interact with alumni. The club sponsors field trips and events with top industry speakers. It is one of the largest student clubs at UW–Madison, and one of the oldest real estate clubs in the country. It is also one of the only clubs that includes both graduates and undergraduates, which further expands our network.