2023 MBA To Watch: Alexis Parker, Wisconsin School of Business

Alexis Parker

University of Wisconsin – Madison (Wisconsin School of Business)

“I am an optimist and dreamer. If I can envision it, I can achieve it.”

Hometown: I grew up an Army kid, but my family is from Detroit, Michigan

Fun fact about yourself: In 2016, I rode an ostrich during my study abroad in South Africa and I have pictures!

Undergraduate School and Degree: Michigan State University, BA in Supply Chain Management

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? General Motors, Part Change Management Analyst

Where did you intern during the summer of 2022? Microsoft, HR Business Partner for Xbox Gaming Studios

Where will you be working after graduation? Microsoft, HR Rotation Program

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School: Liaison for the Consortium for Graduate Study in Management, Copresident of Diversity in Business, WSB Student Ambassador, and Forté Foundation Fellow

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? Successfully developing and facilitating my Allyship in Action! Workshop is the achievement I am most proud of during business school. It was the first time I had a clear vision and full autonomy and support across stakeholders to bring it to life. The workshop acted as an introduction to allyship to equip the student body with resources and examples of effective allyship, so they are trusted to lead in the classroom and beyond. Much of the content is being used in new student orientation as well as in resources shared across our student organizations.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? Professionally, I am most proud of completing a strategic talent planning project during my internship with assistance from my very supportive network! I was tasked with identifying the most critical roles for one Xbox studio and proactive ways to retain them. This was challenging because I didn’t understand all the components that went into staffing at the time. By leveraging the work of others, leaning on my network, and showing some vulnerability as I learned, I delivered recommendations that are being leveraged to identify critical talent at other gaming studios.

Why did you choose this business school? Wisconsin’s specialization model and SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management) aligned curriculum was exactly what I needed. As a career switcher, I wanted a program where I could dive deep into HR while also getting a competitive MBA. The HR component was important because I wanted to be sure it was a good career fit, while the MBA would strengthen my comprehensive understanding of business and allow me to pursue other opportunities if I decide to pivot again in the future.

What was your favorite course as an MBA? Marketing Management with Jan Heide was my favorite MBA course because class discussions were really engaging. It was fun to shape the discussion based on the varying perspectives and concept application. Jan’s storytelling and expertise also made me appreciate marketers and the 4 Ps!

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? Badger football on Saturdays will always be one of my favorite times of the year! It signifies the beginning of the school year and how sports can bring everyone together. The tailgates can be seen for miles, and everyone is decked out in the school colors. I think as MBA students it is also a great way to pull us out of the Grainger Hall bubble and appreciate other parts of campus.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? One thing I would do differently is take advantage of office hours to strengthen relationships with my instructors. Not only are they experts, but they have some great lived experiences and perspectives to share!

What is the biggest myth about your school? I think the biggest myth about Madison is there is not much to do. Lake Mendota and Monona, shows at the Majestic Theatre and The Sylvee, numerous museums, and fabulous cheese curds have all provided a plethora of entertainment and joy throughout my time here.

What did you love most about your business school’s town? I love that campus is so close to downtown Madison. I sold my car prior to starting school since my apartment would be no more than a 15-minute walk to everything I ever need.

What surprised you the most about business school? I was surprised with the amount of overlap in my classes. It was great to build on topics discussed in previous semesters and solidify key themes.

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose? One thing I did that gave me an edge was ensuring my authentic self showed up in every aspect of the process. I spent quite a bit of time reflecting on my professional journey and gathering feedback from mentors, close friends, and family. I used this information to tell my story and give solid examples of who I am, why, and how my values align with the school.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? The classmate I admire most is Laura Rincón Quiroga. I have met very few people with the poise and grace that Laura possesses. With prior HR experience in Colombia, she engages and contributes significantly in the classroom. Furthermore, Laura has played an integral role in revamping the Multicultural Center in the business school. She has spearheaded the plans for the new layout, led a team of interns to facilitate programming, and advocated ways to truly make the space more inclusive for all. Laura is a gem and truly represents what this program is about.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list?

1. Complete a job rotation overseas – given my military upbringing, I love any opportunity to enhance my global perspective!

2. Run a rotation program for the next generation of leaders – there is so much value in rotational programs and with my passion for DEI, I feel I could make some real impact developing future leaders.

What made Alexis such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2023?

“One who embraces a sense of community. One who authentically develops genuine relationships. One who is an ally. One who emits support, positivity, and “woo,” understanding the value of talent and student (and employee) engagement. One who works to build others up. One who made the Wisconsin School of Business MBA program a better place by choosing to learn, grow, influence, and lead here. That is Alexis Parker.

After choosing to pivot from her position as a supply chain analyst in the automotive industry to an MBA student and future strategic human resources business leader, Alexis was ‘all-in’ well-before her first day at the Wisconsin School of Business. She immersed herself in her graduate education journey, engaging in both class and co-curricular discussions, questioning, challenging, and considering opportunities to add value. She connected with peers, embraced leadership opportunities, and learned about – and then promoted as a student ambassador – all that Madison, Wisconsin and our MBA program offers, even obtaining her Society for Human Resource Management-Certified Professional (SHRM-CP) designation in her last semester as an MBA student.

As a Fellow and later Liaison of the Consortium for Graduate Study in Management, Alexis devoted considerable time to onboarding, acclimating, and mentoring incoming Consortium students. As co-President of Diversity in Business, she collaborated with other student organizations to implement the organization vision: increasing education and enhancing awareness of diversity, equity, inclusion, and interconnected identities. Her vision, leadership, and efforts culminated in a successful Allyship in Action! workshop that engaged MBA colleagues, faculty, and staff in conversations around ‘showing up’ and supporting others. The success of the workshop was immediately evident, it will be replicated in future years.

Alexis has made an impact in the lives of others; she will graduate in May with the respect of her classmates. A peer shared, “She’s a motivator. She’s inspiring. She’s an influencer and I truly believe she is one of the “Best & Brightest.” Others echoed that sentiment. “Her show of genuine concern and support (emotional and academic) is outstanding and commendable.” She is a “one-of-a-kind student who always brings the energy when entering any space; her charisma and motivation has made an impact.” “The Badger spirit is embodied in her, she makes me think of On, Wisconsin every time!” We really cannot imagine the Wisconsin School of Business Strategic Human Resource Management MBA Class of 2023 without Alexis Parker, and we will most certainly miss having her engaging personality in our immediate sphere. Yet, we look forward to following this business Badger as she continues her journey; we think her focus on commitment to increasing diversity, understanding, and allyship in business will positively impact employees as profoundly as it has impacted her peers in her brief two years in the Strategic Human Resource Management Center at the Wisconsin School of Business.”

Tanya Hubanks
Director, Strategic Human Resource Management Center
Wisconsin School of Business, University of Wisconsin-Madison


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