2020 MBAs To Watch: Alexandra Paisley-Lasso, University of Wisconsin

Alexandra Paisley-Lasso

The Wisconsin School of Business

“A life-long learner passionate about growing others and making the world a better place.”

Hometown: St. Petersburg, FL

Fun fact about yourself: I skipped the third grade!

Undergraduate School and Degree: University of Miami, B.S. Biology & Psychology

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? I worked at Epic, a healthcare software company, as a Project Manager. In this role, I partnered with world-renowned healthcare organizations across the globe to implement our product, and I discovered my passion for business and management here.

Where did you intern during the summer of 2019? Hach (a Danaher company), Loveland, Colorado.

Where will you be working after graduation? I will be joining Danaher’s General Management Development Program and will complete my first position back at Hach.

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School: I was the 2019 Graduate Business Association Vice President, as well as the Vice President of Out for Business and Diversity in Business student organizations. In addition, I have served as a Consortium Liaison for the Wisconsin School of Business, as well as an MBA Student Ambassador helping with student recruitment. Another meaningful role I held was being a course instructor for Personal and Professional Foundations of Business, a BBA course for first-year business students teaching them both basic interviewing and resume skills, as well as encouraging them to explore their identities, inclusive leadership, strengths, values, and more.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? While it is very hard to choose, I am most proud of my time as the GBA Vice President. One of the key components of my role was working with the presidents of the MBA student organizations, and it was humbling to work with so many leaders with great ideas. It was really important to me to have these groups collaborating to their fullest potential and not having events in silos. These leaders rose to the challenge and created incredible co-sponsored events that highlighted the intersectionality between the many identities and interest areas of our students. Additionally, with the support of our executive board and development chair, our board’s legacy was making sure all student organizations were in a financially sound position moving forward so that personal financial status would not be a barrier for student participation in these organizations.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? What I am most proud of thus far in my professional career would have to be my first Epic implementation, working with South Shore Hospital in Weymouth, MA. I was staffed to the project within my first few weeks at Epic and my team didn’t have any EMR experience. However, we rose to the occasion as we learned together how to configure the system. I was the lead for all end-user training, which happened at the same time as they were implementing a new learning management system. It ended up failing while we were trying to start training. At the same time, Meaningful Use underwent a change by the government into MIPS/MACRA right as we were about to go-live. That doesn’t count all of the outpatient clinical specialties.

My analyst team really took ownership of the project and watching them grow throughout the course of the install was so meaningful. Additionally, despite being a smaller one-hospital system, I implemented a Specialists Training Specialists (physicians training physicians) training model and their leadership team and I conducted a webinar after our success story to guide other Epic hospitals to use in their implementations. I poured my heart and soul into that project, as did my team, and they went live smoothly and met their KPIs within weeks before the go-live. I still keep in touch with that team today!

Who was your favorite MBA professor? My favorite professor was Jan Heide, who taught Marketing Management. When I came into business school, especially with my focus in technology, I was skeptical about the idea of marketing. Jan is incredibly passionate about the subject and it’s infectious. Even when doing a case about showerheads, we were totally engaged in our discussions. He really cared about our grasp of the material and went above and beyond to help us connect with it and think outside the box. My internship was partially focused on strategic marketing this past summer and he was gracious enough to brainstorm some ideas with me and sent me additional content to review. Overall, his class was fantastic and made me love a new area I wasn’t sure I would ever like!

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? As a Consortium fellow, my favorite tradition is OP Bootcamp and the Consortium OP Conference. Wisconsin goes above and beyond to engage with Consortium fellows during their admitted students weekend, planning an entire day of career prep training for them the day before the weekend starts. I think that really sets Wisconsin apart because they are investing in students nearly half a year before they arrive on campus! Additionally, at the Consortium Conference, Wisconsin has many traditions including alumni visiting the day before the career fair portion of the conference to help do mock interviews and get students psyched up. They even hold a team dinner with a “swag bag” to feel really invested in the Wisconsin MBA culture and support system. Overall, it’s a significant tradition and way to see the commitment to students that Wisconsin engages in!

Why did you choose this business school? I chose Wisconsin for a multitude of reasons, but three key ones were the size, the specialization, and the community. Wisconsin’s program is not huge, and to me this was ideal. You get to know everyone well, and everyone is invested in your success. The career coaches know exactly what your professional goals are and can send jobs your way or connect you with specific alumni who might be in your area of interest. If I was going to invest my time and energy into going back to school, I wanted it to be in a place where I felt supported personally and not just like a small fish in a big pond.

Wisconsin’s specialization model really attracted me as well – I knew from my time at Epic that I was passionate about technology and how that interplayed with business. By choosing an MBA focused in Operations & Technology Management, I have not only gotten the broad business base that I need, but targeted content on exactly what I’m interested in – something that has set me apart in interviews. Finally, the community feel at Wisconsin is unparalleled. The alumni network is strong and absolutely eager to give back to the newest class. I so greatly appreciated doing mock interviews and getting company insight with people who had been in my shoes once before. Staff, professors, and other classmates all care about your well-being and make it feel like one big family – and I felt that from my first time on campus.

What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? Wisconsin really values the whole person. It’s not just about who has the highest test scores or GPA or the most experience. To the school, it is equally important who you are as a person, what your goals are, and what you can contribute to your classmates. It might seem basic but know your “why” – why your MBA, why Wisconsin, why now – and be yourself!

What is the biggest myth about your school? I think one myth about being at a large, well-known, Midwestern university is that everyone only drinks beer, eats cheese curds, and parties a lot. While MBA students do know how to have a good time, I’ve found my experience at Wisconsin to be so much more than that. We have TAPS (Thursday After Professional Studies) where students can get together to enjoy a beer and talk about their week. Our student organizations also put on amazing programming such as International Night (Graduate Multicultural Business Association’s celebration of our classmates’ cultures) and Arts Showcase (Artful Business Collective’s fully MBA-student-run talent show). If you are looking for that myth, you could absolutely find it, but if you’re like me and prefer to be in bed by 9 PM, there are still plenty of ways to get involved and build connections with your classmates that don’t require a late night with beer and carbs!

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? I think I would learn to be comfortable with being uncomfortable sooner! Coming into business school never having taken a business class before, I was nervous to speak up in class or get involved in a case competition. While I did grow into my own, thanks to the supportive environment presented in my classes and having gotten to know my peers, I wish I would have taken the leap day 1 – as there is so much to learn from and grow from!

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? I have so many incredible peers that I’ve been fortunate to get to know, but I would have to choose Mary Roberts. Mary is one of the hardest-working people that I’ve ever met and consistently excels in all that she does. As a mom of two young children, plus coming from an education and music background, she barreled full-force into Corporate Finance and Investment Banking studies. She is not only a diligent student but was also GBA Treasurer who was transformational in getting our organization’s bookkeeping modernized – putting in countless hours outside of what would be expected. As an example of her attention to detail, she left her protégé a 13-page transition document! Additionally, she has represented the Wisconsin School of Business in various case competitions across the US and clenched an amazing internship in New York City last summer. She is a true force to be reckoned with!

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? While I did not study business in my undergraduate studies, it was through my experiences at Epic that I realized that business was a way for me to make an impact on the world and help people. To that end, I would say that Jake Tiemersma, my manager on my first Epic implementation, really helped me realize that I was cut out for business. He challenged me to do more than I thought I was ready for and allowed me to take full ownership of my first project, where I ultimately received the Capstone Award for my contributions. When I was ready to take my career to the next level, he encouraged me to apply for business school and take the leap of faith.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? A huge passion of mine is representation in business, so it would be amazing to build a program that helps get underrepresented minorities interested in business at a young age while providing the tools and skills they need to succeed. I’ve also always loved the idea of “lift as you climb”. As I progress in my career, I would love to serve as a mentor to other rising young professionals – especially those from the Latinx and LGBTQ+ communities as I am. It’s not always easy to see yourself reflected in upper management positions, so to be able to give back and help mentor rising business leaders through their own careers is important to me.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? I hope that my peers remember me as energetic, determined, and passionate about giving back to the business school and its students.

Hobbies? I enjoy reading, traveling, and working out, as well as spending time with my wife, our two Frenchie puppies, family, and friends.

What made Alex Lasso such an invaluable addition to the class of 2020?

“From the time she arrived on campus, as part of our New Admit student weekend, Alex demonstrated support of MBA program through activities outside of the classroom as well as her enthusiasm to embrace academic studies.

Alex was selected as a consortium student, which is a high honor, afforded very select students. To be selected by The Consortium to be a consortium student requires that the candidate has shown a commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion. The MBA diversity pipeline is extremely fragile. Each year, approximately 10,000 students enter a top 50 full-time MBA program. In an average class size of 200 students, only 8% represent underrepresented minorities. Companies realize that having diverse talent within management is imperative to promote short-term and long-term financial performance.  During her tenure as a consortium student, she was a consortium liaison for consortium applicants helping with interview activities, campus visits and she participated in the national Consortium orientation event in Houston during the summer of 2019. Alex received the Wallace L. Jones Fellowship Award for UW-Madison, a Consortium award given to a student who demonstrates evidence of talent, achievement, and good character.

Alex has been a student in the Erdman Center for Operations and Technology Management where she has maintained a 3.75 cumulative GPA while also being extremely involved in MBA program activities. Her involvement in extracurricular endeavors has been extensive during her two years in the MBA program. She served as vice president of the Graduate Business Association and one of her key platforms was to initiate opportunities for MBA clubs to co-sponsor events to enhance involvement by MBA students. She also served as vice president for the Diversity in Business and the Out for Business MBA clubs. One of her main objectives for these clubs was to create safe spaces and empathy for students of diversity. Alex has also provided support to the DECA organization at Monona High School in Monona Grove, Wisconsin for the past four years. Her involvement in DECA includes helping students prepare for business competitions and being a judge at the district level.

During her second year, Alex is a teaching assistant for “Personal and Professional Foundations of Business”, which is a course required for all undergraduate business school students. Her teaching assistant responsibilities included instructing four sections of the course and managing two undergraduate teaching assistants. Her willingness to build inclusiveness and diversity content into the course learning outcomes was unique and supported her belief in the principles of inclusive leadership, which demonstrates why she was chosen by The Consortium to be a consortium student. She was honored with an Instructor Award for her role in teaching the Personal & Professional Foundations of Business course.

Alex also provided support to the MBA program office for their ambassador program by connecting with prospective MBA students during the application process. During the spring 2020 semester, she was selected to be a student representative for the planning committee for the On Wisconsin weekend event for inbound full-time MBA students.

Alex’s internship during the summer of 2019 was at Hach, a Danaher Company in a Strategic Marketing & Product Management role. She has accepted a full-time role with Hach, a Danaher Company in their General Management Development Program (GMDP).”

Steven Boeder
Director, Erdman Center
Wisconsin School of Business


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