University of Wisconsin–Madison, Wisconsin School of Business
MBA Graduation Year: 2019
Specialization: Risk Management and Insurance
Hometown: Centerville, Iowa
Internship: Summer Intern–Financial Lines, AIG, Minneapolis, MN
Position: Senior Risk and Compliance Specialist, A.T. Kearney, Chicago
Recognition: Poets&Quants MBAs to Watch 2019
I initially explored Wisconsin because of its MBA program specializations. I knew I wanted to be a leader in risk and insurance given their roles in the economy. Wisconsin is widely recognized for producing stellar graduates and industry leaders in those fields. When I visited with Professor Joan Schmit and some students in the program, they described all the ways the UW–Madison program could help me pursue my interest in the field. But they also considered how I could integrate my additional interest in tech and analytics. It was a very different approach from other schools, where those passions were considered ancillary to the core curriculum.
Wisconsin offered so much more than other strong schools. For one thing, after meeting Joan Schmit it was very difficult to imagine myself at another school! In addition to her passion and energy, UW–Madison overall emerged as more forward-thinking in the industry with courses such as Risk Analytics and Sustainability Risk Management. It was clear Wisconsin was for me.
Heather Stelzer in the Career Services office has been a wonderful asset. Her experience in finance enables her to bridge the divide between academia and industry. Heather uses data, provides well-informed advice, and offers actionable steps, all of which bolster student confidence going into interviews and negotiations.
Our Current Topics specialization course involves a semester-long consulting project with an actual company. We “hire” undergraduates to work with us and deliver a value-add product the company can implement. An additional leadership development project and a strong curriculum round out a very comprehensive educational experience. These are true manifestations of the specialized MBA because we’re working on industry-specific problems and we’re also practicing hiring and management skills.
The Badger Alumni Network is very strong. Our specialization has its own advisory board of risk and insurance professionals. I’ve had one-on-one mentoring conversations with at least half of our board members. In addition, over the summer, I had informational interviews with alumni, who provided excellent career advice and connected me with colleagues to give me greater access to information and job options.
My favorite experience in the program was when the second-year students surprised us with a celebration after our first exams. It reinforced our welcome into a family of 200+ peers who were all rooting for us to do well. After weeks of intense work, it was also a reminder that Wisconsin values a whole person, not just a test score.
Student organization leadership has allowed me to practice the kind of community involvement I hope to engage in as a professional. For the past year, I have been on the forefront of business and social issues as a co-president of Graduate Women in Business, bringing timely and relevant learning experiences to my peers, including helping introduce the national women’s leadership group Forté to the School. My overall work with the GWB executive board, identifying learning opportunities, and connecting with industry leaders has been tremendous for my leadership development.
Jenna has been recognized by Poets&Quants as one of the top 100 MBAs to Watch from the Class of 2019.