Bailey Hackbarth (MBA ’20)

University of Wisconsin–Madison, Wisconsin School of Business
MBA Graduation Year: 2020
Specialization: Brand and Product Management with added certificate in business analytics
Hometown: Cedarburg, Wisconsin
Internship: Assistant Brand Manager MBA Intern, Procter & Gamble; Mason, Ohio
Position: Associate Brand Manager, General Mills; Minneapolis, Minnesota


Financial markets, brands, and the business world always fascinated me. I wanted a way to get my foot in the door, but with a liberal arts degree and a military background, I knew I would need a top-ranked MBA to open those doors. I wanted a program that would both enhance my analytical skill set from day one and help me stand out in a crowded MBA job market. Wisconsin was the perfect solution.

The Wisconsin MBA Program offers it all. It is among the leading programs for ROI nationally, which means little or no debt at graduation. I particularly enjoy the collaborative culture and small class sizes that promote strong relationships, both in my specialization and across the School. An extensive and engaged alumni network adds substantial value that I will continue to enjoy long after graduation. I was able to land an internship with Procter & Gamble and am excited to be heading to General Mills after graduation—opportunities that would never have been possible without this program.

As part of the New Product Development course, I had a hands-on consulting project for a local chocolate brand with national distribution. My challenge was to assess the landscape for entry into a new product category, recommend flavors and forms, and develop a go-to-market strategy for the brand. It was a deep dive into consumer insights, market viability—and, of course, chocolate!—that ultimately led to actionable recommendations for the company’s director of marketing. The project was great preparation for my internship.

Our global trip (to China and Hong Kong) was an incredible way to experience and learn from top marketers in another country about the unique growth in the region and geopolitical and social trends of the Chinese consumer.

Bailey Hackbarth

The classroom experiences are equally outstanding. In the Strategy course taught by Professor Hart Posen, I came away from every class smarter about executive-level decision-making in business. Hart made every case study come alive like a piece of performance art. I’ve never met a smarter business mind. I referenced the lessons from the course throughout my internship and in other classes.

Alumni engagement with the program is accessible and substantial. I had the good fortune of meeting one-on-one with Wisconsin alumnus Brandon Shields (MBA ’17), a fellow military veteran and father, during my pre-MBA visit to Wisconsin. His passion for the program, down-to-earth attitude, and friendly persona made a major impact on my decision to accept my offer at UW. He continues to inspire me to this day!

Our trip to China and Hong Kong ranks as my best experience here so far. The global trip was an incredible way to experience and learn from top marketers in another country about the unique growth in the region and geopolitical and social trends of the Chinese consumer.

The Wisconsin culture is really special. I feel a sense of belonging here that was missing at other top programs I considered. In a word, it’s a family. We are inclusive, collaborative, and driven professionals. My peers have challenged me to explore interest areas outside my comfort zone. They have been a sounding board for career advice, as well as the occasional shoulder to cry on.

There are many opportunities to get leadership experience outside the classroom. I co-lead our MBA Veterans and Joint Venture Clubs, which has given me the opportunity to expand awareness of the MBA military community within Madison and provide support to spouses, partners, and other parents in the MBA student body.