2016 MBAs To Watch: Tim Annis, University of Wisconsin

Tim Annis-Wisconsin-PoetsAndQuants_MBAsToWatch2016

Tim Annis


Wisconsin School of Business, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Age: 28

Hometown: Sheboygan, WI

Undergraduate School and Degree: University of Wisconsin – Political Science, Social Welfare, American Indian Studies

Where did you work before enrolling in business school? University of Wisconsin, PEOPLE Program – Statewide Outreach Coordinator

Where did you intern during the summer of 2015? Procter & Gamble, Cincinnati, OH – Brand Management

Where will you be working after graduation? Kraft Heinz Company

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School: Wallace L. Jones Fellowship Award, Assistant to the Director of Diversity and Inclusion at the School of Business

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I’m most proud of the development and growth of the Diversity and Inclusion programming at the Wisconsin School of Business. In collaboration with Binnu Palta-Hill, the director of Diversity & Inclusion, we have created, promoted, and facilitated events that have engaged the school in important conversations to enhance our community’s inclusivity. In particular, our monthly Lunch and Learn events have grown into packed-house affairs and have been extremely well received by students, staff, and faculty.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? In my former career, I was tasked with guiding first-generation, low-income, and minority high school students to higher education, specifically to the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I am most proud of all the students that I get to see now walk around UW-Madison’s campus. Developing people is something I am really passionate about. Having observed these students’ personal journeys and knowing their goals, it is very rewarding to see them now accomplish and exceed their expectations. Those students are now leaders across campus and I feel very grateful to have worked with them and their families.

Who is your favorite professor? Marketing Professor Jan Heide. I really appreciate the energy and passion that he teaches his classes with. For me, his excitement was infectious and had me really engaged in learning from him. I aspire to carry and spread that same enthusiasm as a leader in my career.

Favorite MBA Courses? Business Strategy with Professor Hart Posen; and Brand Strategy with Professor Tom O’Guinn

Why did you choose this business school? For me, the major selling point was the specialization model at the Wisconsin School of Business. The opportunity to have an immersive, career-focused program from the beginning was what I wanted as I transitioned to my career in marketing.

What did you enjoy most about business school? It was getting to know an amazing group of individuals from all different walks of life. Team work is essential at Wisconsin. From day one, you are pinned as the “expert” in your specialization working on a cross-functional team throughout your core classes. I have very fond memories of working late nights with my team on our big end-of-semester project and gelling together as a group. Those experiences encouraged a lot of my personal and professional development throughout my MBA program.

What is the biggest lesson you gained from business school? I learned to not let the fear of not knowing or making a mistake get in the way of my success. As a career switcher, there were moments I was hyper-aware of what I didn’t know and I wouldn’t want to offer my perspective. I found, instead, that I learned a lot more by being wrong and saying it out loud to get that feedback. I also realized how much I had to contribute coming from a different professional background. Those moments of discomfort provided the best learning for me. I look forward to taking that confidence and approach with me throughout my career.  

What was the most surprising thing about business school? The generosity and the level of interest from alumni and community partners in my personal success. It’s been one of the most influential and positive experiences I have had during my MBA experience at Wisconsin. From mock interviews to applied learnings — and even meeting with and receiving feedback during my internship at Procter & Gamble — I was overwhelmingly impressed by the Badger Alumni network.

What was the hardest part of business school? For me, the most difficult part was finding time to balance all of the opportunities that I got during my MBA education. There are so many things to be involved in: coursework, team projects, clubs, my project assistantship, case competitions, projects with local companies, social events, and trying to find an internship/job. I also got engaged during B-school and have been planning a wedding, so it was really busy at times.

What’s your best advice to an applicant to your school? Be prepared to communicate your passion and specific aspirations for your post-MBA career. Wisconsin has the specialization model that requires students to commit to a career focus in the application process, which is ideal for students who know specifically what career function they want to work in.

“I knew I wanted to go to business school when… I was facilitating a career exposure event for high school students featuring a panel of entrepreneurs. I was drawn to their stories and excited by the process of identifying opportunities and putting in the work to build and develop the business. That moment inspired me to learn more about business and find my passion in Brand and Product Management.”

“If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be… working to solve problems in educational outcomes for under-resourced communities.”

Which executive or entrepreneur do you most admire? Scott Cook (co-founder of Intuit) who, along with his wife Signe, founded the Center for Brand and Product Management at the Wisconsin School of Business. I admire how he is always looking to learn from others and approach problems from different perspectives. I am impressed by how he has built rapid learning through experimentation into the fiber of his company. Every time he has come to Wisconsin to speak, I feel like I’ve taken away something new.

What are your long-term professional goals? I want to be an entrepreneur and build a successful company or companies.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? Mercile J. Lee, former assistant vice chancellor and director of the Chancellor’s Scholarship Program, who challenged me to think critically and bigger in my personal aspirations.

Fun fact about Yourself: I work for a craft brewery. I am a craft beer enthusiast and have had the pleasure of working with Capital Brewery as a social media and marketing consultant for a little over a year now.

Favorite book: Reservation Blues by Sherman Alexie

Favorite movie: Godfather, Part II

Favorite musical performer: J. Cole

Favorite television show: “Breaking Bad” and “House of Cards”

Favorite vacation spot: Ixtapa, Mexico

Hobbies? Singing with Native American drum, soccer, and cooking

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

“I have been Tim’s supervisor for the past two years. Tim embodies all of the qualities of an inclusive leader. He is the consummate learner. He approaches his studies, work, and interactions with others in an inquisitive manner where he strives to maximize his learning. He is passionate about diversity issues and deliberately seeks out experiences and perspectives that are different than his own. I have seen him work collaboratively with peers whose values and perspectives are very different from his own. He handles adversity and conflict with compassion and looks for win-win outcomes. His extraordinary people skills, along with his passion for learning, have been a remarkable combination in advancing our diversity and inclusion efforts.

“Tim is an excellent listener and makes thoughtful decisions. He often steps out of his comfort zone to maximize his learning, especially in areas that are unfamiliar to him. I am confident that Tim’s intellectual ability, empathetic approach to differences, and curious-mindedness will help him excel in any job he holds. He has my highest recommendation.”

Binnu Palta Hill

Director of Diversity and Inclusion

Wisconsin School of Business, University of Wisconsin-Madison




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