Brandon Jankowski worked in management at a direct marketing firm after college, then moved on to an entry‑level finance position at JP Morgan, followed by a sales position at Oppenheimer Funds. He soon recognized that he would prefer investment research over sales. He researched MBA programs and identified the Wisconsin MBA in Applied Security Analysis Program (ASAP) as the one that would give him the very best chance to get the career he wanted. The hands‑on experience offered in year one and the fact that students manage an actual investment portfolio of nearly $9 million throughout the second year are providing Brandon the experience to qualify for a great investment research job after graduation.
Wisconsin’s first‑year curriculum prepares you well for internship interviews. We qualify with the best; my only competition was students from top ten schools. I knew exactly what I wanted to do with my MBA, so Wisconsin was the clear choice. I am changing careers, so I needed investment experience to qualify for the positions I wanted. I looked at several top programs. At Wisconsin I knew I could do actual investment analysis in my first year. In some other leading schools there’s no guarantee you’ll even get into the investment program. Here we’re running our own investment money, managing a real investment portfolio throughout the second year. I will have done the actual work for a year and a half before I even go to an employer.
We’re running our own investment money, managing a real $50 million investment portfolio throughout the second year.
The general management base in the Wisconsin MBA provides strong basic tools for the job. And the specialization in applied security analysis takes me much further. I’m learning that investment research is more of an art than a science and at Wisconsin we get exceptional preparation across the board. I am gaining deep expertise as well as essential communication skills. You have to be able to communicate ideas to a portfolio manager or the manager who is running the money to make them confident about your investment recommendations.
At Wisconsin we have very specialized alumni and a huge alumni base within key firms, who help set us up with the right firms based on our goals. We gain many critical skills through our exposure to ASAP alumni and in our applied learning opportunities. ASAP also does an annual trip to New York and Boston over the semester break. The trip gives us exposure to big firms we’d love a job with. I made some great connections.
Many of our teachers have direct industry connections. One of my favorite classes is the application course taught by Dan Pickett. He owns an asset management firm, so he knows the industry firsthand. We research a company and pitch it to the class, just like we would do in a research analyst job. Dan researches each company as well, so we all get his careful review. That is a huge advantage of having 13 students in my second year ASAP class instead of 150 students in the investment programs at larger schools. We get real‑world experience, investing and running portfolios together.
As an added benefit, the return on investment you get from Wisconsin is going to be extremely high compared to a top 10 school. When I was considering the top schools I assumed I’d come out a couple hundred thousand dollars in debt. At Wisconsin, low tuition means my debt will be miniscule. Based on ASAP grads’ placement data, my salary will quickly erase my debt.