Mike Kottmer

University of Wisconsin–Madison, Wisconsin School of Business
MBA Graduation Year: 2020
Current Job: IT Program Manager, Milwaukee Division; Federal Bureau of Investigation


My MBA is strengthening my professional résumé and adding credibility and relatability to my significant life and work experiences. When the ideal position becomes available, I want to be sure that my academic and professional backgrounds make me the most qualified and desirable candidate. I am gaining the knowledge and confidence to succeed in a myriad of business environments and will be well prepared when I am ready to pursue my dream of creating a nonprofit that supports the veteran community.

As I was beginning to consider advancement opportunities, a mentor and friend who helped me transition professionally from the military encouraged me to pursue a business education. I began reviewing MBA program options and found the best fit in the Wisconsin Executive MBA. The alternate-weeks format of the program limits the number of days I am away from my office. This is important because in my role within the public safety sector, we may have to go anywhere in the state to respond to a crisis at a moment’s notice.

The quality of the instruction in this program is amazing. All the classes are excellent, but I especially enjoyed the breadth and quality of information in my Organizational Behavior class. It helped me identify behavioral goals and ways to influence behavior within my organization and has made me a more effective leader. Applying expanded quantitative skills in the government workspace can be challenging, but my new focus on finance has helped me have quality discussions with my finance manager when I need money for program support.

The breadth and quality of the information in my Organizational Behavior class helped me identify behavioral goals and ways to influence behavior within my organization and has made me a more effective leader.

—Mike Kottmer (MBA ’20)

The diversity of skills, thought, ethnicity, and backgrounds in our class has helped me be more considerate of alternative solutions. Honest, thoughtful and productive peer discussions over the course of the program have built a foundation of trust in the cohort. Learning alongside amazingly talented people has helped me improve my skills—I am a better collaborator and better at accepting feedback. And I produce higher quality work than I ever imagined. I have also improved my listening and time management skills.

The career services team helped me produce a cleaner, more competitive résumé. They also worked with me on a leadership skills inventory that has taught me how to manage to my strengths and find ways to strengthen my weaknesses.

The program is very manageable with the support I get from my family and my team. The full schedule is laid out in advance, which helps balance any competing priorities. And the two-week gap between classes gives me flexibility to spread out coursework to keep everything in balance. Leveraging technology has really helped me succeed in class, such as using Virtual Bookshelf to listen to my readings on my daily commute.


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