University News

Future leaders emerge

February 14, 2024

Written by Chris Lindeke | Photos submitted

With a placement rate of 99 percent within six months of graduation, the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater’s College of Business and Economics continues to successfully work with employers in the state, region, and country to find suitable employment for its graduates.

Many of those students are hired before they walk across the stage.

Emma Hager.

Emma Hager, who will earn a BBA in marketing, will start a role working inside sales for Motorola Solutions in Chicago following graduation this May.

An Arlington Heights, Illinois, native, Hager chose to attend UW-Whitewater thanks to the business school, the proximity to her hometown, and the ability to compete for the Warhawk women’s soccer team.

“It really just checked all the boxes that I needed it to,” Hager said.

In addition to being a four-year student-athlete, Hager engaged in sales competitions through the college to hone her marketing and sales skills. She also increased her hands-on learning through working in the admissions office for one year, running the women’s soccer team’s Instagram page, and assisting CoBE’s marketing office with social media and other efforts.

Hager has enjoyed building the soft skills that go beyond what you learn in the classroom.

“I wouldn’t necessarily call myself a shy person, but I’m not really an outgoing person, so learning how to talk to people, spark conversations and keep those conversations going to create more connections … will get you further,” Hager said.

Alan Braatz earned his BBA in accounting in December and, the day after his last final exam, started his role as a staff accountant at Wipfli in Appleton.

Alan Braatz.

He was a part of the Honors Student Association and held leadership positions with UW-Whitewater’s Enactus chapter and the men’s club soccer team. He also was a part of the university’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, assisting taxpayers in the community with preparation and electronic filing of federal and state income tax returns.

In 2023, Braatz received the Wisconsin Institute of Certified Public Accountants (WICPA) Excellence Award for his high level of engagement and commitment to success in the accounting field.

“It means a lot to be recognized for all these different things, but it goes back to the people who helped me along the way,” Braatz said. “There’s no chance I would have gotten this at another school – they just don’t have the opportunities that UW-Whitewater has.”

As a high school student in Appleton, Braatz was steered to UW-Whitewater by his father, Richard Braatz, who earned a BBA in accounting in 1992. The business school and presence of a club men’s soccer team were also major factors in his decision.

During his undergraduate career, he was able to travel to India with Enactus, acquire real world experience through the VITA program, continue his passion of playing soccer, and surround himself with people who challenged him through the Honors Student Association.

“The biggest thing about UW-Whitewater for me was the insane number of opportunities outside of the classroom to further yourself as a business leader and person, and to gain new perspectives,” Braatz said. “I can’t recommend the accounting program enough at UW-Whitewater, but being a business professional goes a lot further than understanding the academic side.”