Gain practical expertise in corporate finance and investment banking that will differentiate you in the eyes of employers. Our students hit the ground running faster due to our unique applied learning opportunities.

The program is specifically designed to link textbook theory to practice in a way that gives you a competitive advantage. You will proactively confront real-world problems to get the full benefit of a transformational MBA experience.

Consulting Projects Built Into the Curriculum

In your second year, you will engage with challenging, real-world problems through consulting projects during both the fall and spring semesters. Consulting projects are sourced directly from key decision-makers—CEOs, CFOs, or our board of advisors—and analyzed by a student team led by our director. Students deliver recommendations directly to the client. We have built a reputation for delivering first-class consulting advice to our clients. These projects provide invaluable experience analyzing strategic business problems.

Recent consulting projects include:

  • Amazon: developed an original analysis to quantify the impact of the proposed Chinese tariffs on Amazon’s U.S. retail platform
  • 3M: performed a comprehensive review of the U.S. debt capital markets and potential vulnerabilities
  • Procter & Gamble: quantified the benefits of economies of scale in the CPG industry
  • Rothschild: analyzed and developed a recommendation on M&A targets for a large cap health care company

The Nicholas Center Speaker Series

Engage with key business leaders on industry-defining transactions and trends through our Nicholas Center Speaker Series. Each year we host approximately 20 speakers on campus on a variety of finance topics. Past events include:

Jim Chanos (founder and president of Kynikos Associates)  and Nicholas Center Director, Brad Chandler during a Q&A session

New York City and Chicago Trips

Every year our MBA students travel to New York City and Chicago to meet with influential alumni and employers and visit important institutions. A recent New York City trip included:

  • A visit to the New York Stock Exchange for an opening-bell ceremony
  • A private tour of the New York Federal Reserve
  • Touring a trading floor of Goldman Sachs and meetings at Ernst & Young and FTI Consulting
  • A meeting with influential alumni in the hedge fund and investment banking community
  • A visit to an iconic WeWork building in Bryant Park and a walking tour of the historic Wall Street area

Case Competitions

You will participate in case competitions, important building blocks of an MBA experience that hone analytical skills, presentation skills, and teamwork. You will have an opportunity to participate in an ACG Cup Case Competition in the spring semester and are encouraged to participate in national case competitions. A team from the Nicholas Center recently reached the finals of the National Investment Banking Competition, the largest international banking case competition in the world with over 2,000 competitors from 200+ universities worldwide.

Full-Time MBA students at the National Investment Banking Competition and Conference, standing next to a banner sign

Student Contributions Tailored to Career Interests

Contribute to the Nicholas Center’s thought-leadership mission by developing original content closely aligned with your career interest. For example, if you are interested in mergers and acquisitions, you might develop a thought-leadership publication on the topic that will contribute to the Nicholas Center while furthering your career goals. Recent contributions include analyses of:

  • Autonomous driving technology
  • The changing international tax landscape and its implications for CFOs
  • The recent tax law changes and their implications for financial modeling
Michael Hilfiker 

“Our class consulted with Amazon on how to value recently enacted U.S. tariffs vis-à-vis Amazon’s value chain. I developed a proprietary model in R and Excel that informed our strategic recommendation. There were no other publicly available models or reports that could provide a comparable level of detail and analysis. Amazon later pursued the model for in-house use.”

—Michael Hilfiker, MBA ’19
Poets & Quants 2019 Best & Brightest MBAs
Associate at Cornerstone Research

Melanie McEwen 

“In my first semester, our cross-functional team performed an integrated company analysis (ICA) on a publicly traded company. Our task: recommend a new product or service to enhance or support the company’s brand, operating performance, and share value. We gained proficiency to understand business strategy and learned a framework to explore new product and/or service ideas for any organization.”

—Melanie McEwen, MBA ’16
Senior Director/Principal-Distribution Performance at Northwestern Mutual

Emma Ebert 

“The caliber of the School’s corporate project partners is one reason I chose Wisconsin. As a first-year MBA student, we worked with medical device company Medtronic on a way to advance diabetes care in sub-Saharan Africa. It provided an exceptional opportunity to integrate things we learned in several of our core classes—including Strategy, Marketing, Corporate Finance and Operations, and Technology Management—and apply them to a real-word business challenge.”

—Emma Ebert, MBA ’19
Associate Manager Procurement Finance at SC Johnson

Industry Executives Share Their Perspectives

“The notion of practical and real-world application of classroom learning is an awesome idea. There is a real divide between the purity of the theory of finance and the murkiness of its application. The attempt to try to bridge that is genius. I've been lucky to have a couple of consulting projects done by Wisconsin MBA students in corporate finance and investment banking and they have been great.”

—Doug Baird
Chairman, Equity Capital Markets, Citigroup

“The corporate finance and investment banking specialization in the Wisconsin MBA Program takes finance theory and puts it into practical application. You learn to work with companies to solve real problems. For finance professionals, one of the key determiners of your ability to progress is, first, to be able to use theory and analytics to help companies become more valuable to their shareholders, and second, to be able to take those ideas and package and communicate them in a way that people can understand. This is something that is best learned from experience.”

—Mindy Mount
Business Advisor

“The project completed by the corporate finance and investment banking students helped us determine a more accurate way to evaluate the profitability of key business areas. The result was a more informed process for capital investment and business strategy. Our team enjoyed working with the Wisconsin MBA students and would highly recommend participation to other companies.”

—Paul Shain, MBA ’86
President & CEO, Singlewire Software

The Corporate Finance and Investment Banking Experience

Every semester, corporate finance and investment banking students receive hands-on training using advice from senior executives. These applied learning sessions prepare our graduates to tackle some of the industry's most pressing challenges.

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