2016 MBAs To Watch: Stephanie Penny, University of Wisconsin

Stephanie Penny-Wisconsin-PoetsAndQuants_MBAsToWatch2016

Stephanie Penny


Wisconsin School of Business, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Age: 29

Hometown: Lima, Peru

Undergraduate School and Degree: Universidad de Lima, Bachelor of Law

Where did you work before enrolling in business school? Rimac Seguros y Reaseguros, Property and Liability Complex Claims Analyst

Where did you intern during the summer of 2015? Cuna Mutual Group, Madison, WI

Where will you be working after graduation? Not defined yet

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School: Vice President of the International Business Association; Board member of the Graduate Business Association; Team leader of MBAs with a Heart; Team member of the Commencement Campaign

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? Because of my hard work, when I finished my summer internship I was offered an opportunity to continue working for Cuna Mutual Group. I have been working and studying during my second year in the Full-Time MBA and it has been challenging but also a very rewarding experience. My progress this past year is extraordinary.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? My MBA. In a few weeks, I will graduate from the MBA program and when I started I had no business background. The first time I saw probabilities was when I was preparing for the GMAT. When I took my very first statistics, finance, and accounting classes in the first semester of the MBA, everything was new and different. But today, after almost two years of hard work, I am a better professional, much wiser and experienced. I have grown up so much in this time and I can’t be more proud of the decision I made and the challenges I overcame, and grateful for the opportunities I received.

Who is your favorite professor? Jim Swanke; he was my professor in Sustainability, Environmental and Social Risk Management. He was passionate about his classes and transmitted that passion to us. The engagement and debate of the classes was fascinating. The lessons and the awareness he has created for me are what I most appreciate.

Favorite MBA Courses? Business Strategy

Why did you choose this business school? I chose Wisconsin for the risk management and insurance specialization.

What did you enjoy most about business school? The outstanding guests that the director of the Risk Management and Insurance Program, Joan Schmit, invited to meet with us and share their experiences and perspectives

What is the biggest lesson you gained from business school? Not to be afraid to speak up and give my point of view.

What was the most surprising thing about business school? The incredible amount of opportunities that you are offered to build your career and network

What was the hardest part of business school? Risk modeling

I knew I wanted to go to business school when… I realized that in order to go further in my career I needed to build business skills.”

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be… running my family’s insurance broker in Peru.”

Which executive or entrepreneur do you most admire? Bill Gates: He truly changed the world with Microsoft. What I most admire is the incredible amount of philanthropic work that he and his foundation have done. He is focused on helping others with such admirable humility.

What are your long-term professional goals? In 10 years, I want to go back to Peru with a solid experience in the insurance industry of developed nations and work for the Superintendencia de Banca y Seguros, the Peruvian insurance regulatory entity. I want to help build the insurance industry of my country and of Latin America.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? My father. He has always supported my decisions. When in doubt he gave me the confidence to go forward.

Fun fact about yourself: I am a yoga instructor.

Favorite book: One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Favorite movie: The Lion King

Favorite musical performer: Bob Marley

Favorite television show: “How I Met Your Mother”

Favorite vacation spot: The beach

Hobbies? Yoga, biking, paddle boarding, snowboarding, and reading

What made Stephanie such an invaluable addition to the class of 2016?

“Stephanie is an impressive individual who joined us in 2014 with a law degree and insurance experience from Peru. Her goal, then and now, has been to learn how insurance works in a developed market so that she can help people in her native land who suffer from devastating events, such as earthquakes. Working with Dan Kaiser as a TA for his evening MBA course, Principles of Risk Management, she generated such a positive impression that he invited Stephanie to join him on a new venture in CUNA Mutual Group, designed to keep people out of poverty. What began as an internship resulted in a year-round project assistantship where Stephanie continues to grow and develop, and contribute notably to the CUNA Mutual team.

As a student leader, Stephanie has shown tremendous energy and creativity, especially this past academic year. Stephanie has created several successful social events for the MBA program as social chair of the Graduate Business Association, generating strong links among students across specializations. She is inclusive, welcoming, and thoughtful. The foundation of a successful MBA program is comprised of students like Stephanie who build and strengthen the social fabric of the entire group. We are fortunate that she decided to join the Wisconsin MBA.”

Joan Schmit

Professor of Risk and Insurance

Wisconsin MBA, University of Wisconsin-Madison



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