Graduates of the School of Business possess highly sought-after technical and specialized expertise in a functional area of business as well as general leadership, problem-solving, analytical, and decision-making skills. Utilizing these skills, many of the school's 30,000 alumni have achieved remarkable success in business, government, service, and academic arenas worldwide.

The high scholarly productivity and leadership of the school's 84 faculty are regularly noted in national rankings. Recent studies of U.S. and worldwide scholarly research productivity rated UW–Madison School of Business faculty among the top graduate business schools in the country. In addition to world-renowned recognition for research, the School of Business faculty bring a variety of real-world experience to the program.

Brand and Product Management

The Center for Brand and Product Management is the nation’s first university-based center focused on producing talent and knowledge in the field of brand and product management. The center was established to fill a gap—no one was training business students to be top-notch brand managers. Brand management is the one “specialty” that requires a breadth of business skills. The Center for Brand and Product Management’s unique environment—and uniquely effective blend of curriculum and applied learning—builds those skills. Since its inception in 2003, the Center for Brand and Product Management has had 100 percent internship placement and strong full-time placement at some of the best consumer-packaged-goods companies around the country. Students leave with a network, a community, and a portfolio of applied learning experiences. See the program website for more information.

Marketing Research

There is no better foundation for marketing action than marketing research. The A.C. Nielsen Center for Marketing Research offers the premier full-time MBA program with a specialization in marketing research.  The center was established in 1990 and is built on the legacy and funding of the Arthur C. Nielsen Jr. family, pioneers in the field of marketing research. It was created to train MBA students in the specialized ideas, issues, and techniques of marketing research, as well as to help discover and disseminate new marketing research knowledge. See the program website for more information.

Prospective students should see the program website for funding information.

Minimum Degree Requirements and Satisfactory Progress

To make progress toward a graduate degree, students must meet the Graduate School Minimum Degree Requirements and Satisfactory Progress in addition to the requirements of the program.

Master’s Degrees

MBA, with available named options Marketing Research, and Product Management

Minimum Graduate Degree Credit Requirement

30 credits

Minimum Graduate Residence Credit Requirement

16 credits

Minimum Graduate Coursework (50%) Requirement

Half of degree coursework (15 credits out of 30 total credits) must be completed in: courses numbered 700 or higher.

Prior Coursework Requirements: Graduate Work from Other Institutions

No credits of prior coursework are allowed to satisfy requirements.

Prior Coursework Requirements: UW–Madison Undergraduate

No credits from a UW–Madison undergraduate degree are allowed to count toward the degree.

Prior Coursework Requirements: UW–Madison University Special

No credits of prior coursework are allowed to satisfy requirements.

Credits per Term Allowed

15 credits1

Program-Specific Courses Required

Contact the program for information on any additional required courses.

Overall Graduate GPA Requirement


Other Grade Requirements

The Graduate School requires an average grade of B or better in all coursework (300 or above, not including research credits) taken as a graduate student unless conditions for probationary status require higher grades. Grades of Incomplete are considered to be unsatisfactory if they are not removed during the next enrolled semester.

Probation Policy

The Graduate School regularly reviews the record of any student who earned grades of BC, C, D, F, or Incomplete in a graduate course (300 or above), or grade of U in research credits. This review could result in academic probation with a hold on future enrollment or in being suspended from the Graduate School.

Advisor / Committee

Every graduate student is required to have an advisor. To ensure that students are making satisfactory progress toward a degree, the Graduate School expects them to meet with their advisor on a regular basis.

An advisor generally serves as the thesis advisor. In many cases, an advisor is assigned to incoming students. Students can be suspended from the Graduate School if they do not have an advisor. An advisor is a faculty member, or sometimes a committee, from the major department responsible for providing advice regarding graduate studies.

A committee often accomplishes advising for the students in the early stages of their studies.

Assessment and Examinations

Contact the program for information on required assessments and examinations.

Time Constraints

Master’s degree students who have been absent for five or more consecutive years lose all credits that they have earned before their absence. Individual programs may count the coursework students completed prior to their absence for meeting program requirements; that coursework may not count toward Graduate School credit requirements.

Language Requirements

Contact the program for information on any language requirements.


Full-time MBA students may be allowed to enroll in up to 18 credits per term in the 2016–2017 academic year. Contact the Wisconsin School of Business for more information.

Admission consideration for the MBA program requires a four-year undergraduate degree or the equivalent, in any discipline, from an accredited institution. The School of Business seeks a minimum of two years of full-time work experience along with a strong undergraduate performance. In addition to academic credentials, GMAT scores and work experience, personal achievements, motivation, communication skills (written and oral), international exposure and recommendation letters are considered in the admission process at both the master's and doctoral levels.

Note: The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT), taken within five years of the starting term, is required of all applicants to the School of Business; the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) may be an acceptable alternative on a case by case basis. All applicants whose native language is not English must submit scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the Pearson Test of English (PTE), Intensive English as a Second Language (IELTS), or show the completion of an Interlink program. A minimum iBT TOEFL score of 100 or equivalent, obtained within two years of the intended start term, is required. International applicants who have completed a degree at an institution whose primary language of instruction was English may request a waiver of this requirement on the application.

Knowledge and Skills

  • Students will be able to clearly articulate a business recommendation based on a discovered consumer insight (A.C. Nielsen Specialization)
  • Students will be able to demonstrate a knowledge of or ability to grow business profitably through marketing research efforts (A.C. Nielsen Specialization)
  • Students will be able to articulate a business problem and translate it into a marketing research question (A.C. Nielsen Specialization)
  • Students will be able to evaluate a business problem and apply an appropriate marketing research technique to address the problem (A.C. Nielsen Specialization)
  • Graduates will be able to develop key elements of a brand's business plan that drive growth (Brand Specialization)
  • Graduates will be able to able to perform business analytics used to improve a brand's business results (Brand Specialization)

Professional Conduct

  • Students will articulate a plan for achieving their industry professional aspirations (A.C. Nielsen Specialization)
  • Graduates will be able to demonstrate professional protocols for succeeding in the corporate environment (Brand Specialization)

Additional Learning Goals

  • Students will summarize current challenges faced by the marketing research industry and know potential solutions or how the industry is approaching the challenge (A.C. Nielsen Specialization)
  • Graduates will be able to effectively communicate in order to drive growth for their brand's business (Brand Specialization)
  • Graduates will understand how to lead a cross-functional brand and product team to achieve a goal or an objective (Brand Specialization)

Faculty: Professors Thompson (chair), Arora, Heide, Moreau, O'Guinn, Thompson; Associate Professors Epp, Hoban, Lim, Peck, Tanner; Assistant Professors Chung, Liu, Mallucci, Polman, Weiss