University of Wisconsin–Madison, Wisconsin School of Business
MBA Graduation Year: 2019
Specialization: Operations and Technology Management
Hometown: Lawrence, Kansas
Internship: Product Manager MBA Intern; Boston Scientific; Minneapolis, Minnesota
Position: Global Operations Program Manager, Microsoft; Seattle, Washington
I wanted to make a major career pivot from managing task-oriented engineering and architectural projects to leading strategically in an operations and tech field. I needed in-depth knowledge to break into such a specialized industry successfully. The specialization model at Wisconsin allowed me to take very specific classes that are giving me the expertise I will need from day one.
I wanted to be in a position to steer an organization, since my prior career in project management was largely reactive. I knew earning an MBA would be the most efficient way to gain the skills to lead effectively.
Small, intimate class sizes at the Wisconsin School of Business, backed by the resources of one of the biggest and best universities in the country, attracted me here. This program is more like a family than other programs I looked into. I have gained friendships and a professional network that will last forever.
In my first year we had a roundtable discussion with the second-year students about their internship experiences at prestigious companies. It was incredibly motivating. At that point I didn’t know what to expect in my own internship, but I knew then if I applied myself it was going to lead to some great growth and opportunities.
The Wisconsin MBA provided many opportunities in my first year to practice the soft skills employers are looking for. This proved invaluable during my internship at Boston Scientific. At my internship, I was presenting to senior leaders multiple times a week and presented my summer project to people from across the company. Without my MBA I wouldn’t have known how to approach presentations effectively.
Experience with big data is now a common requirement for positions that require an MBA. Greg DeCroix’s analytics class helped me understand the breadth of big data and how to use it to make informed business decisions. Learning tools like R and Tableau and applying them to real life business problems will serve me well in my career. And as a plus—Greg peppered his lectures with a pretty solid library of Dad jokes.
My MBA peers have been a key source of inspiration and learning. Since the specialization model requires students to have some focus on their particular interest area, you are around students who really know what they want to do next. It allows for a much deeper level of classroom conversation. Because everyone comes from such diverse backgrounds and experiences, interactions are always compelling.
The Wisconsin MBA launches ideal careers year after year—at top companies around the country and the world.