University of Wisconsin–Madison, Wisconsin School of Business
MBA Graduation Year: 2021
Current Job: Chief Operating Officer, EnsoData, Inc.
Having an opportunity to complement the high-stakes experience of leading a startup with an executive MBA program takes my career to the next level. My classes have paid off directly in the boardroom and when answering questions from investors. I have a better awareness of why they ask the questions they ask, and I know how to respond thoughtfully. The program also provides dozens of mentors and colleagues who give me valuable perspectives and help me solve problems. Most of the people in the program have lots of experience. This approach promotes growth for a group of individuals who have already accomplished a lot.
My company is growing quickly. My MBA experience bolsters that growth. The context I get from my courses and classmates really solidifies my understanding of business. I spoke to several people who had received MBAs about timing, and the point I’m at with my company and career was definitely the right time for me to earn my MBA.
Two things that are really important to me as part of the MBA experience are:
- The network and ability to learn from those around you—an executive MBA program brings a wealth of experience together.
- The ability to contribute meaningfully to the classroom conversation and program overall.
Both of these are amplified by the fact that my classmates and I are putting the concepts into practice at work and then bringing back learnings to discuss in person. I also can think of several occasions where I talked about something during class and people came up to me during a break, lunch, or event and offered more insights or asked me deeper questions.
The program takes away your worries about logistics. Being in class and being engaged and focused on learning is the priority. Tablet computers are part of the program, you get a parking pass without having to submit requests and jump through hoops, fantastic lunch is provided, and communication is clear and consistent. They know everyone is a busy student, a busy professional, and also most have families at home, so they go an extra mile to take care of the peripheral things so we can focus on what’s important.
We had a group presentation where we worked together to break down real challenges we face at work. We analyzed the challenges, made recommendations, and presented paths for moving forward. It was impactful for three reasons: It really highlighted the team-based structure of the program, there were valuable insights from all of the presentations, and it was incredible how people put themselves and the issues they faced out there and how the class thoughtfully responded with analysis and ideas for moving forward.
Classes on leadership and management have helped me as a leader to better manage and motivate employees. I’ve gained a more well-rounded and diverse perspective to offer solutions to problems my company faces.
My job is an all-in, any-hour-of-day type job. I also have a 1.5-year-old and my wife is a high-achieving professional. The every-other-weekend format of the Wisconsin Executive MBA Program is huge in this respect.
The Wisconsin School of Business is a world-class, highly recognized institution with well-respected programs. It’s clear that the School is growing and investing in programs across the board to continue to grow its reputation and relevance. MBA programs are an investment, but I think Wisconsin delivers enormous bang for your buck.