Monday, February 23, 2009

Polar Plunge 2009

In previous posts I have discussed the craziness that is Madisonites and their obsession with ice fishing. Saturday however took it to a new level. Standing on ice and fishing is one thing, but actually going into the water is another. You have to have a great reason to jump into a frozen lake. Well, that is exactly what the Special Olympics of Madison was thinking. Saturday was the annual Special Olympics Polar Plunge.

I am proud to announce that the Wisconsin School of Business MBA Program raised over $10,000 and had 44 jumpers placing in the top 5 in the state. Fellow 1st year Brander Greg Arseneau headed up the MBA team as part of his role as the GBA Community Service Chair. Going into it this year, our goal was 30 jumpers and $6000 so we killed that. Not only was it a great cause, but it was a fun time. Now I did not jump, but I cheered on those that did and participated in the after plunge activities.

Below are some pictures from the event:

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

MBA or Reality TV?

So I know that many prospective students are trying to determine what to do with their lives right now? Do I give up two years of salary and pursue an MBA? Or do I throw caution to the wind and throw my hat into the reality TV mix?

It is a tough decision I know. One that I myself contemplated. For me it was between The Real World and Road Rules. I know what you are thinking--pick Road Rules so that you get on a better Guantlet or Duel team. Road Rulers are always better at those competitions. However, I have a weak stomach and have no desire to bungee jump so I would have chosen The Real World. While binge drinking, crowded hot tubs, and confessional rooms might be your scene, I ask you to look at the long-term prospects.

Six months following the show, you will be the hottest thing since slice bread. You will be invited to club openings and be doing random web spots on You will probably meet a couple of stars and get your picture in US Weekly or People, but then what? Funny you should ask. Two groups of 2nd year Brand students were visiting a local Trek bicycle store for their product design class and asked the clerk for help. Low and behold if it was not Madison's local reality TV star--Landon Lueck from The Real World Philadelphia.

Landon is third from the left

While we might not have crowded hot tubs (unless you count the ones at Polar Plunge) and crazy club openings, we do offer fantastic full-time employment opportunities in brand management. You can get your picture in the Grainger Squire and you can meet stars of the marketing world like Tom O'Guinn, Jan Heide, and Deb Mitchell.

We just completed the Brand Guantlet (doesn't quite have the same panache as people in swimsuits in Tahiti)--8 companies, 15+ interviews, 5 days. It was a tough five days, but something I wouldn't trade for my last six years of work experience. I still have more second round interviews this week so it is not fully over, but it will be soon enough.

So when you are thinking about what to do with your life, think about where you want to be in three years. Do you want to be a year into a job as a brand manager or greasing a chain at Trek?

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Warm Weather Wackiness

So Madison is suppose to be cold during February and for the first 6 days it held true to form. However, Saturday was an unexpected gift. The temperatures got into the 40s. Now I know that sounds cold and yes, in the majority of the country that constitutes a stay-at-home day, but not in Madison. The sun was out, the snow/ice was melting at an incredible rate, and people hit the streets. It sort of reminds me of a morning train ride into Grand Central in NYC. One moment the train platform in empty and quiet. Suddenly a train pulls up, opens its doors, and mass chaos ensues.

People were in shorts and t-shirts running around like it was 85 degrees. It almost felt like Turkey with the number of dogs I saw running around (side note, these dogs had leashes and owners, which is something Turkey should look into if only for Joe Worley's sake). I was actually excited to walk to the gym, which is something in itself. Downside was that I spent five hours rocking a little Cranberry case for operations, but my group blew it out and we are done.

Saturday night was even nice. A lot of people headed to the Kohl Center for the Rascal Flatts/Jessica Simpson concert. They are pleased to report that Jessica looks healthy, but not too healthy and she has retired the "Mom jeans." If you don't know what I am talking about, go buy an US Weekly or log into My fiancee and I chose to grill out, yes grill out. The snow is all gone from my porch and I could actually stand out there for more than two minutes at a time.

Mariah Kottke's 21st birthday (aren't all birthdays 21st birthdays from here on out) gave everybody a reason to congregate late night at Madhatters. It was nice to walk outside sans ear muffs or gloves. Great mix of both 1st and 2nd years and specialization centers. One drink turned into two, two into, well you get the idea. Next thing I know, it is 2:30 A.M. and we are standing in line at Ian's Pizza. Been to Ian's a ton of times and never had to wait more than three minutes. This time the line was out the door and all the way to the corner. That is how many people were out and about.

I am proud that I got to see Paul Robinson (Shannon's husband) partake in Ian's for his first time. He is from London and only recently moved to the States. He could not have had a more American experience than standing in line with a whole bunch of inebriated college kids clamoring Mac N Cheese Pizza or Hamburger and fry pizza. I also think we saw Steve Perry from Journey even though he is dead. Didn't realize that long, feathered hand was making a comeback.

This morning (Sunday) it is back to being cold so it looks like yesterday was a mere mirage, but was totally worth it. If it is warm where you are, enjoy it. If it is not, there is always chance it could be tomorrow so be ready.