Monday, August 31, 2009

And scene on the summer....

Hard to believe a year ago I was starting my first year of b-school. Today is the last day of summer as 2nd year reorientation and MBAs with a Heart are tomorrow and classes start Wednesday (well I only have the GBA meeting as my Wed. class was cancelled). It has only been a year, which took about six weeks, but feels like I have been here for four. Tough to explain how much different I feel after only one year. I remember talking to a 2nd year during week one last year and he said that the amount of stuff you know after year one is amazing. At the time I couldn't imagine that only one year of school would really do that much, but I stand corrected.

I spent the summer at SC Johnson based in Racine, but lived in Milwaukee. The internship was good, stressful, but good. 12 weeks flew by, but it was a great experience. I made some great friends and got a taste of what brand management really was. The only downside of an internship is that there is no summer, but I guess that is what happens in the real world. It is funny to think that I didn't have "summer" for the six years prior to school, but just assumed since I was back in school I would have it.

Soon enough you will have a new blogger for the year who will bring a different perspective on the life of a CBPMer. Just know that everybody has a different experience, but they are all rich. I haven't talked to a single person that regrets the decision of pursuing an MBA at Wisconsin.

One year down, one to go. Go Badgers!

Monday, June 08, 2009

What I know now that I wish I knew then…

So reflecting back on my first year, I have put pen to paper or finger to key on a couple of thoughts to make year one a little easier.

Buy a warm jacket…now. Especially if you are in a warm climate where jackets are on sale. It will be your best friend by November. While you are at it, buy gloves and ear muffs (180s are good) too. Better to be safe than cold.

Start reading GMA Smart Brief and other marketing blogs now. I didn’t learn about these until the second week of school and I felt behind. Interview prep will start before you know it and you will be asked for good brand/brand stuff or give me an example of this. Smart Brief is a good, quick snapshot of the happenings of the CPG world.

Don't panic about money. You will blow your budget by October, but that is normal and why they invented banks and credit cards.

Discontinue Tivo for the summer. I love Tivo and DVRs as much as the next person, but it prevents you from watching ads. While ads can be boring, they are also fodder for class. Just watch and remember.

Call your family and friends a lot this summer. Come Fall, you won’t talk to them. Not because you don’t want to, but because you don’t have time. If you have a significant other in another locale, just start apologizing now.

If you see Brian Ward put a magazine back on the table, don’t pick it up.

Hang out with the 2nd years sooner rather than later. I didn’t start hanging out with the 2nd years until we got back from Turkey in February. Before I knew it, they were gone and I regret not getting to spend more time with them.

Buy an iPod or music listening device as you will walk everywhere and good music is essential. Is it a 15 block walk or three really good songs? You pick.

Be a yes man or woman. While saying no might be easier, it is not as fun. Lets try an example: Would you like to go sit on a frozen lake, drink beer, and look at a hole in the ice? Yes, it is called ice fishing and I would love to. Seriously, you are coming to grad school for two years so stretch yourself a little and do a couple of things that you normally wouldn’t do.

Go to TAPS early in the semester. It is a great chance to meet both the 1st and 2nd years. Also, come November you will be slammed with projects and won’t feel like it.

Join a club or three. We tend to get pretty Brand Center focused so joining clubs is a great way to meet other 1st year students.

Eat your vegetables. I guess that is just a general life lesson and something good to do.

Go to a football game. Even if you don’t like football or have never been, Wisconsin games are a whole different experience. Jump around at the end of the third quarter and stay for the fifth quarter. It is worth it.

Go someplace warm for Spring Break. Even pale kids need sun too.

Don’t overdo the Nitty Gritty. I think we went there once a week for the first 10 weeks celebrating birthdays and haven’t been back since.

Finance is going to be tough and you are going to get a low grade on the mid-term, but that is normal. Take pride in your 44, I know I do.

Most importantly…have fun. You are in school for two years. It will go fast and you will work hard, but this is the last time in your life that you get to do this. Go out to the bars. Make some poor decisions. Don’t study on Saturdays. Choose a good conversation over skimming another reading. Make this investment in your life worth it and something you will remember.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

CBPM Class of 2009 Graduation

So it is hard to believe that the semester is over and even more hard to believe that the second years are now officially alumni of the Wisconsin School of Business and the Center for Brand and Product Management. I have to say graduation to me is met with mixed emotions. While the school part can get old, the life of a student is incredible. Even though I still have another year, I know that this time next year I will be ready to be done with classes, but not ready to leave my friends for the real world again.

The CBPM Class of 2009 is the largest graduating class in the history of our program, but that title will be short-lived. They have set the bar high for our class and all future classes and will be missed greatly. I do regret not getting to know them better until this semester. With everything going on first semester I was just trying to keep my head above water, but the trip to Turkey was a great opportunity to get to know them better and it only continued through the spring. I will miss their friendships next semester.
Congrats to the Class of 2009!

The Role of Touch in Consumer Purchasing

Marketing professor Joann Peck has recently been recognized for her ground-breaking research on the impact on touch in consumer purchasing. Click on the title of this post to read an about her work.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Mifflin Street Block Party

So Madison has its fair amount of craziness, but the Mifflin Street Block Party was unreal. Four blocks of Mifflin Street west of the Capitol were sealed off and the street turned into Madison's version of Mardi Gras minus the parades and beads. Lucky for us, Shannon and Paul Robinson have a house on Mifflin and decided they were up for throwing a party. It turned into a great time as 1st and 2nd years from all of the different centers showed up and hung out together.
Below are some pictures from the Fiesta.

View from Shannon and Paul's

GBA Spring Ball '09--Partied like it was 1999

Some called it Prom, others Spring Ball, but either way it was a blast. Everybody got decked out in their finest adult attire and enjoyed a night of drinking and dancing. I would say dining, but I don't really remember eating any food even though I know it was there. Attendance was the highest ever, which made it even more fun as it was one of the few events that 1st years, 2nd years, significant others, faculty, and staff all attended together. While an Indian dance troop performance, speeches by Dean Knetter and Coach K, and MBA Superlatives award ceremony were highlights, the real fun didn't start until we hit the dance floor.

I know it was a good time simply because my legs were incredibly sore the next morning from the dancing. It was fun to see a different side of many of the students because they seem to be so serious in class, but you put on a little Bon Jovi and well, they can't help themselves. Post-Prom took us to Brocach for what was supposed to be a quick drink, but $2 High Lifes and a rousing game of quarters turned into a debauchery. All I know is that a crowd ended up at my apartment for pizza and Old School and didn't leave until 4:00 A.M. Quote of the night--"Greg, did you order the pizza man?"--unnamed prospective student not in the Brand Center.

Here are some pictures (that are usable) from the evening courtesy of Jess Worley.

Brian Ward, his lady friend, Joe, Jon Jones, the Pragers, and Paul Robinson (Shannon's husband).

Sam (Katie's boyfriend), Katie Daggett, the Worleys, and the Digmans (well soon-to-be).

Greg Arseneau and his admirers. Wish we had a picture of his doing the Worm, yes, I said it, the Worm.