I knew after taking my first steps on campus, that the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater was the place for me. As a senior, looking back on my college career, I was able to have the ultimate college experience pursuing my degree as a supply chain and operations management/project management emphasis major at the College of Business and Economics. Although I wish I could share all my learning experiences throughout my four years I will sum it up with one word: Opportunity. Opportunities to succeed through great instructors, group involvement, learning communities, and on-campus jobs helped me become the lifelong learner and accomplished employee I am today.
Instructors: At the College of Business and Economics the instructors are here for the students. They willingly meet with students outside of the classroom, making themselves available after normal business hours; they reach out to their personal contacts to assist students with their questions whether those questions are about class content, career direction, or professional advice--these are the divine qualities the faculty possess. With their dedication to me as a student, I am proud to have them stand behind me, their undergraduate.
Group Involvement: Each student has the opportunity to get involved anywhere and everywhere on campus. For me, DECA was my forte. DECA was able to give me the opportunity to connect with other students and faculty on campus I worked with the community through volunteering opportunities; I raised financial support and awareness for community service projects. I competed in DECA business competitions. As a freshmen and sophomore, I actively participated in the DECA Whitewater Chapter where I gained skills such as written and oral communication, business etiquette, and the ability to work in a team and achieve group goals. But what I learned most from DECA was how to be an effective leader serving as DECA’s Vice President of Marketing Relations. All skills for self-development can be achieved through getting involved in any organization here at UW-Whitewater; the hard part is choosing the one that best fits you!
Learning Communities: Hands down, one of the best decisions I made was joining a business learning community. As a freshman, each student has the option to join a learning community. We lived together and took three general education courses with a group of twenty students. My learning community, “Everybody’s Business,” gave me the opportunity to connect and become familiar with students in my residence hall and in the classroom. The learning community enabled me to form a study group with other students in my classes to discuss course material. The course taught me the skills of how to become an active student, to break down the barriers and challenges of meeting friends in college, and to create study groups throughout the rest of my college career.
On Campus Jobs: Before entering my career, my experiences here gave me cross-campus connections that allowed me to work in three different departments throughout my college education. Working on campus gave me the chance to apply and transform my classroom learning to skills on the job and increased my communication skills, problem solving abilities, and overall work experience engaging with many faculty in different departments and assisting students with a variety of needs.
The opportunities to create student excellence at the College of Business and Economics are endless. I am proud to have the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater behind me on my way to a great career!
After finishing my BBA in financial management in China, I came to UW-Whitewater last September to begin my MPA (Master of Professional Accountancy) degree. It surprised me when the customs officer at the Chicago airport told me that UW-Whitewater is a good school. That’s just the start; every friend I met in Wisconsin told me the same thing. I have heard that “ratings can be manipulated, but a reputation must be earned.” I was curious about how UW-Whitewater achieved such a high quality reputation for business degrees.
It did not take long time to get my answer. The faculty here are the best! They are super helpful! My favorite accounting professor is strict but fair. You can tell he’s an expert in accounting after a few conversations. He can always understand the point I’m making and can help solve my problem even when I thought I didn’t express my questions in English well enough. This professor is clear and organized. He makes me want to be an accountant like he is. My favorite advisor is not only my mentor but also cares for me as a person. She has helped me from the application process and towards proceeding to completing my degree. She cares about both my study and my life in Whitewater. I also found my new best friend in an accounting class. She’s from Indonesia, and she’s smart.
My first semester was tough as an international student, but thanks to all of the nice people’s help, I did an excellent job. Now I am used to life in Whitewater and enjoy it a lot!
But I suppose you are wondering how I came to be at UW-Whitewater. My life is full of accidents. Coming to Whitewater was a beautiful accident in my life. I had a world map, but I had never thought I would point my finger to the North-Central United States. Four years ago, when I was a freshman in college, I attended a work and travel US internship program during summer break. I was attracted by the nice brochure of a happy Mickey Mouse, and I thought the program would be sending me to Disneyland. Well, they sent me to the resort area of the Wisconsin Dells. It’s a small town but it’s the place I met my first American friend. When that summer ended, I went back to China, but she and I still kept in touch. Two years later, she told me she was going to pursue an MPA degree at UW-Whitewater, and she asked me to come and be her roommate! I replied, “Why not?” At that time, I had never heard about UW-Whitewater and I could not find it on my world map. I knew nothing about Whitewater but I trusted my friend when she said it was a good school. UW-Whitewater was the only graduate school to which I applied.
The new semester is coming and there are so many exiting things in store. I’ll start to work as a graduate assistant and I’ll live with my new Indonesian friend. Hopefully we will travel to South America during the winter break together. I still have a year to graduate, but I have already started to miss UW-Whitewater.
I pursued a Master’s Degree in Business from University of Wisconsin - Whitewater because they had the highest accreditation and they offered a concentration is Supply Side and Logistics. I really started taking courses that I thought would be beneficial in my new assignment as the Plant Manager at Hercules Drawn Steel. I already had a Masters Degree in Finance so I did not start this program with the need to complete it but to acquire additional knowledge to help me in my new capacity. My company paid for the classes so my investment was the time to complete them. I am now just two credits shy of fulfilling the graduation requirements and these will be completed by May 2014. I have used material from all the classes to assist me in my role as Plant Manager and am highlighting those classes where the contribution of the class material is most noteworthy.
The classes I took through the online program mirrored my immediate needs at the plant. Sometimes I took courses out of order from program's recommended coursework. I did so to better prepare me for an immediate need. I took Management 768 Operations Strategy in the Summer of 2010 which coincided with my new appointment. This class required a final paper in Strategic Planning. This paper helped lay the groundwork for our 1 to 3 year strategy at the plant. This course was well timed and helped move us closer to becoming one of the best cold drawn facilities in North America.
In the Spring of 2012, I took the Managerial Economics (ECON 737) course. I looked at the course description and it seemed to represent some content that could assist me on a day-to-day basis. In the textbook for the class there was a quote that stated that the "Manager's role in guiding the production process was to: maximize the possible outputs with the given inputs" I was struggling at the time with trying to determine the optimal level of employees to retain on staff. Another way of looking at this scenario was by asking the question, "when should we use overtime to meet short and long-term needs before making a decision to hire a permanent employee?" This final paper forced me to look at the data on the use of overtime in a manufacturing environment and to look at our benefit costs and then develop an appropriate model that describes at what point to hire a new employee. This paper also examined the choice of running different jobs on two different lines to determine the optimal product mix.
Two recent classes, ITSCM 745 Strategic Technology and Innovation Management and Management 753 Training and Development, have been leveraged to establish two new initiatives at this facility. I wrote a paper for the Training and Development class that utilized the Training Process Model to develop the training process for one of our machine lines. As a result of this paper, I am completing an independent study for two other segments on two of our machine lines utilizing the same methodology. We are in the process of contracting with an outside company to perform an extensive job analysis for two entire lines and then we will be using the Training Process Model to deliver training in a more systematic manner. All of this emanated from the taking of Jon Werner's class in Training and Development. The second class ITSCM 745 had a final paper requirement to write on a Strategic Innovation. Again, I used a need at the plant to write a paper on Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition for the shop floor. This paper effectively looked at taking all the data sources from our Machine lines and collecting data from them in real time to better evaluate our day-to-day performance. We currently have a Capital Project to continue from what was started from this paper and purchase the necessary software, hardware and contract for the installation of this system. I have repeatedly used the Capital Budgeting model that was learned from FNBSLW 770 Capital Budgeting class to examine investment alternatives for the plant.
In summary, my classes through University of Wisconsin - Whitewater have served me well in my current capacity as the Plant Manager at Hercules Drawn Steel. Many of the assignments especially the final projects have been invaluable to better assess and address my current circumstances and future needs. I believe this education has given me the additional skills and knowledge to make me more valuable as an employee.
The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater was not where I expected to commence my tertiary education upon completing high school back in Jamaica. My thoughts of college included a school located in the warm Caribbean close to a beach or a city in the southernmost state of the continental USA. I did not envision myself in the Midwest region of the US braving the frigid Wisconsin winters that begin in September and go until May! My father clearly had other plans for me as he had discovered the resilience one learns coming here from a tropical climate, during his time as a UW-Whitewater student.
Upon beginning my time here in Whitewater, I quickly realized that the weather aside, there are some of the warmest people here. Professors and advisors alike took an interest in helping a young man far away from home. I also learned the meaning of diversity as I acquired a second family with the International Students’ Association (ISA) here on campus. Being involved with the ISA truly helped me to discover that the world is indeed flat and that I could accumulate many friends from all over the world. My experiences here had such a profound impression on me during my undergraduate studies (as a Finance major) that I decided to complete my MBA degree here too. This education path is a stark contrast to the teenager who could not picture a single winter in Wisconsin. My experiences here in Whitewater have led me to become more inclined to be a global thinker, hence my passion to pursue International Business as one of my emphases in my graduate program.
When I complete my studies, I know that my experiences here in Whitewater will definitely help me in all my endeavors in life, wherever in the world that I end up. I will forever cherish all that I have learned here, both academic and otherwise as UW-Whitewater has helped shape me into a knowledgeable, confident young man who is ready and able to take on the world armed with the qualifications and drive necessary to be a successful business professional.
Upon my graduation from my Master’s program, wherever in the world that I end up, I will be proud to say that I am a Warhawk and a very proud graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater!