MBA Careers Q&A: Wisconsin School of Business | TopMBA.com

MBA Careers Q&A: Wisconsin School of Business

By Mike Grill

Updated June 24, 2019 Updated June 24, 2019

Wisconsin School of Business at the University of Wisconsin–Madison might have a relatively small class size, but it has seen the amount of new companies recruiting from its ranks rise. The increase, “has come from the expansion of our alumni network; our graduates are infiltrating new companies and getting jobs, impressing their employers, and the employers are coming to us to source talent as a result,” according to Joe Protopapa, director of MBA career management at the school.   

Schools with smaller class sizes often point to the benefits of joining a tight-knit community and Wisconsin School of Business is seemingly no different in this respect. For example, Protopapa says its alumni network remains close to the school and active in both the admissions and recruitment processes. In helping students find the right job opportunities, he also says that members of the careers team, “don’t match students with companies but instead coach students on how to find good cultural fits for them.” Read on to learn more about the work of the careers center at Wisconsin School of Business.  

Joe Protopapa; Wisconsin School of Business
Does the Wisconsin career services team work with the MBA admissions team during applicant assessment? If so, how?

Yes, the career team works with the admissions team in a couple of ways: By meeting with prospective students who make a campus visit; by participating in some applicant interviews (usually where there are questions about career direction and/or other career-related issues); and by presenting career management information at all preview days held on campus. However, the only true way that takes place during the applicant assessment process would be the second point listed above.  

When do on-campus corporate recruitment events and interviews typically take place at Wisconsin School of Business?

Our fall (autumn) schedule begins in the second week of the fall semester (usually the second week of September) with company presentations/networking events. Interviews on campus then begin in the last week of September. Our fall semester recruitment cycle officially ends in early December, but most recruitment is completed before Thanksgiving (late November in the US). In the spring semester, we are open to recruitment events and on-campus interviews through to early May, but the vast majority of activity takes place in late January/early February.

Are there particular skills that career services helps students to accentuate during job fairs and recruiting?

Yes! We have a comprehensive career management preparatory program that includes (but is not limited to): Networking (including elevator pitch); interviewing (both behavioral based and case interviewing); navigating the interview process; navigating the job search; navigating a national career fair (National Black MBA, Prospanica, ROMBA, etc.); (job) offers and negotiation.

How does the careers team help MBA students prepare for recruitment events? In what ways does the careers center help match students with companies that will be a good cultural fit for them?

We have a relatively small MBA program (100 students per class) and we are a specialized program, so our career coaches specialize in functional areas. The coaches provide tailored individual advising but also provide tailored programming based on a student’s functional area (of interest). In addition, we have a workshop for attendees who are attending each of the national fairs. We don’t match students with companies but instead coach students on how to find good cultural fits for them.

Are there any new companies recruiting on campus? Have you seen a change in industries?

Yes, we’re bringing several new companies to campus this year. I haven’t seen a big change in industries represented. I think the increase has come from the expansion of our alumni network; our graduates are infiltrating new companies and getting jobs, impressing their employers, and the employers are coming to us to source talent as a result.

Are there any changes to the way in which companies are recruiting?

Not that I have seen. Our recruitment process is fairly simple to execute with the size of our program. If you find something that works, keep doing it!

What kind of contact does the Wisconsin School of Business careers center have with MBAs after they graduate?

We offer our career management services to all of our graduates regardless of how long they have been separated from the program. The only service we limit is an alum’s ability to participate in on-campus interviews (they can’t). In addition, we rely on our graduates to act as ambassadors and help with recruitment as company/employer representatives. In addition, our alumni are extremely active in career programming including mock interviewing, panel discussions, case competition judging, and applied learning/co-curricular activities that enhance the student experience. 

This article was originally published in September 2016 . It was last updated in June 2019

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Mike's remit covers content, SEO and blogger outreach. Outside of his work for TopMBA.com, he is an assistant coach for MLU outfit, the Portland Stags.

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