Tom Lea

Tom Lea

University of Wisconsin–Madison, Wisconsin School of Business

MBA Graduation Year: 2019

Current Job: Talent Acquisition Strategy and Operations Manager, American Family Insurance


I started my career with no business background. I was a sports reporter and covered Badger football and basketball. When I made the move to American Family Insurance and the corporate sector, I started in corporate communications. Working for a growing Fortune 315 organization has driven my interest in understanding more about the business side, like what makes a company profitable. The Wisconsin MBA is giving me the skills to understand business and has even recently opened the doors to a new leadership role within our human resources area.

The Wisconsin MBA is a prestigious credential. There are a lot of options available for pursuing your MBA, but few that elicit the respect you get when telling people you are a University of Wisconsin– Madison MBA candidate. I look forward to soon being able to say I’m a UW–Madison MBA alum.

The Wisconsin MBA is giving me the skills to understand business and has even recently opened the doors to a new leadership role within our human resources area.

—Tom Lea

It’s exciting to meet other professionals who are leading for the first time. The networking is invaluable—not only within your class, but with students who are in their second or third years of the Wisconsin Evening MBA Program. We constantly get the chance to learn from one another, and build off of each other’s experiences.

Financial Accounting has been my favorite class. Lacking a business background, I was surprised to find that learning about financial statements was really interesting to me. Getting introduced to new topics has been exciting, and I've found value in every class so far. It’s easy to take in class concepts and see direct applications within my every day work.

I was nervous about starting the program, but I’m enjoying the MBA environment. I thought I would be up till 2 or 3 a.m. every night trying to keep up. It hasn't been like that at all. I’ve found that with planning, I’m able to balance life, work, and school, and be able to grow and succeed. The program office is also extremely accommodating and always do their best to make your learning as easy as it can be. For instance, all course material will be preloaded onto a tablet for the incoming class. That’s a great benefit and makes learning even more accessible.

The skills I’ve gained in the program have absolutely impacted my career. I’ve recently been promoted into a higher leadership role at American Family. I credit a lot of my growing leadership confidence to the Organizational Psychology class we had during our first year. Without it, I don’t know that my newest opportunity would have taken shape.