Peter “PJ” Hopkins
University of Wisconsin–Madison, Wisconsin School of Business
MBA Graduation Year: 2019
Specialization: Corporate Finance and Investment Banking
Hometown: Williams Bay, Wisconsin
Internship: Investment Banking Associate, Livingstone Partners in Chicago, Illinois
The collaborative culture at Wisconsin is evident at all levels. Classmates really want to help each other succeed. It is the norm here to congratulate and be genuinely happy for peers, even if they get the job or internship you had your sights set on. I know of other MBA programs that have a culture dominated by competition. Wisconsin prepares us to be competitive in the marketplace while also reinforcing the kind of collaboration we will need to excel in our careers.
In a semester-long, first-year class we analyzed Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods. In the process, our center director, Brad Chandler—an experienced investment banker—guided us through the merger-and-acquisition process. That project—along with specialized knowledge and a foundation of business strategy, financial analysis, and business writing in my first semester—fully prepared me to succeed in my investment banking internship.
Alumni with investment banking expertise are always willing to support me. Their help with informational interviews and mock interviews was extremely helpful to prepare me for internship recruiting. These are tough interviews that would be especially difficult to prepare for without the expertise of people who have direct experience with the investment industry. The combination of the Wisconsin culture, specialized learning, and amazing support from staff and alumni keeps exceeding my expectations. It has paved the way for me to move into my dream career right after graduation.
The broad prior work experience of my classmates can be very illuminating. The problem-solving perspective of somebody who specialized in marketing before pursuing an MBA may differ from that of somebody who specialized in supply chain. The rich discussions fill gaps in my own experience. In addition, the wide variety of passions adds depth to participation in campus clubs and student organizations.