2021 MBA to watch: Michael Turco, University of Wisconsin



“I don’t do well with downtime.”

Hometown: Hartland, WI

Fun fact about yourself: In Wisconsin, we swim in a lot of lakes. I swam the 5 Great Lakes, each with a fun story:

  • Huron: During an internship in Michigan.
  • Ontario: On a service trip to Toronto.
  • Michigan: Your best bet is to jump into the water while playing volleyball at Bradford Beach at MKE.
  • Erie: Visiting my best friend’s hometown, Cleveland.
  • Superior: On a camping trip in the UP.

Undergraduate School and Diploma: Ohio State University: chemical and biomolecular engineering

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? I was a senior consultant at Deloitte Consulting working with clients of federal agencies.

Where did you do your internship during the summer of 2020? I worked remotely in Madison at Intuit as a product management intern.

Where will you work after graduation? I will be returning to Intuit as a product manager.

Community work and leadership roles in business school: I served on the Wisconsin School of Business Masters Program Committee, where I worked with our Associate Dean and two of my classmates to build inclusive leadership into our courses. As co-president of the Technology Product Club, I have developed the community of future product managers here.

What academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of in business school? This increased WSB’s pipeline of product management talent in my role as President of the Tech Product Club. To do this, I’m collaborating with a Madison-based social music streaming start-up, LÜM, to create a platform for WSB students to practice their product management skills in a competition. As part of this, we organized a set of 3 workshops in collaboration with Wisconsin alumni in Product to develop product management skills for our students. I also provided mentoring and feedback to 5 groups of students on how they can use the experience of competing to develop their skills for product management internships. The goal is to build a pipeline of Wisconsin product management talent through skills building, a campus product management community, and alumni relationships at Madison tech and tech companies, and we did in 2020.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I am often asked questions about my early career experience in consulting to which I answer that the client and consultant relationship is one of the strangest ones to navigate. Ultimately, the customer is the boss, but it’s your role to advise him. So there are always tensions. In this context, I will never forget the last day of my first assignment at Deloitte. My client thanked me profusely saying, “We couldn’t have done this without you, Mike”. It was a powerful feeling that my two years of work had a positive impact on people.

Why did you choose this business school? Going back to my answer to the question above, when asked about my career in consulting, I also respond by referring to my feeling of lack of focus on my skills. I was learning to be a great professional, but I couldn’t put my finger on my job. I intended to change that by going to business school with the goal of learning how to be the best product manager. I cannot say enough about the usefulness of this lens.

Wisconsin does not offer a general MBA program. Instead, incoming students choose a specialization when applying. This model attracted and supported my goal of focusing on product management from day one.

In addition, Madison is the largest city in college football. Period.

Who was your favorite MBA teacher? Jan Heide teaches the Basic Marketing course in the first semester of the program. Jan’s teaching style brings everyone in the class into the discussion.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? Every winter our business school drains into a frozen lake for charity, and Jan Heide, our marketing teacher, is in the water with us every year. The scandalous participation year after year demonstrates Wisconsin’s intense commitment to stretching students to become the best versions of themselves by giving back and gaining unique experiences.

Thinking back to your MBA experience, what is one thing you would do differently and why? I would do my best to meet classmates in the years above and below me. I benefited enormously from the students in the 2020 and 2022 classes with whom I learned and became friends with, but the size of our program is such that it is possible to get to know everyone well. Granted, it was tough with COVID, but I would have stretched more to really get to know everyone. Relationships are the real benefit of the business school experience, in my mind.

What surprised you the most about business school? The ability to have an impact as a student is high. There are opportunities to make an impact as a student organization leader, mentor, or intern – or bonding for a classmate or leading a class project. Looking back on the experience, it’s a good feeling to see that my time has counted beyond just achieving my career goal.

What was one of the things you did during the application process that gave you an edge in your chosen school? It’s having a clear and defined goal for my MBA and beyond. With that in mind, I might talk about how I might add to the program community in pursuit of my goal in entry essays and interviews.

Which MBA classmate do you admire the most? Saurabh Bhandari and I have one of those relationships where you constantly challenge yourself to do more, to be smarter, and to think more creatively. Saurabh has an insatiable desire for knowledge fueled by books, journal articles, blogs, Kaggle contests, and courses beyond the MBA. He competes in case competitions with a chip on his shoulder, as if someone has told him he can’t win. Saurabh always asks me the tough questions. I never know the answers, but the point is to stretch to figure it out. I appreciate him for all of this. Saurabh has big goals, and I have no doubt that he will achieve them.

How disruptive was it to switch to an online or hybrid environment after the COVID hit? Academically, the change was minor. Business classes lend themselves quite well to the digital environment. However, outside of the classroom the change has been dramatic, as has been for everyone. Classmates have seen jobs and internships canceled. My international friends couldn’t return home and meeting the people in the program safely became a challenge. In second year, I saw my role as creating a community in the program despite the challenges of the pandemic. We had to be creative.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My coach at Deloitte, Zach Arbuckle, is one of those people who has it all. He’s a winner and I’ve been fortunate to learn from him. He had charisma, business acumen, the ability to build relationships and a wealth of experience to draw on. As I got to know him, I slowly discovered that many of his skills and experiences came from a business school and that he couldn’t say enough about his experience from a personal development perspective. I decided to take the plunge.

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

  1. Start a business – Entrepreneurship is my ultimate goal. I know I need to learn more to be successful, and business school was a first step on the way. By 2030, expect to see me rush to make one more sale for my business.
  2. Work as a product manager for Apple – I start the I TA course by asking my undergraduates, “What is the biggest company in the world?” I answer Apple. There are a lot of things that I admire about the company and I want to be a part of and benefit from it.

What made Michael such a valuable addition to the 2021 class?

Michael Turco has been an outstanding member of the Wisconsin FT MBA, class of 2021. From the moment he arrived on campus, as part of our new Admitted Student Weekend, Mike showed innate curiosity and enthusiasm. to embrace his MBA studies and his contributions to the MBA Program.

Mike is a student at the Erdman Center for Operations and Technology Management, where he maintained a GPA of 3.979 while being extremely involved in leadership development opportunities. He was President of the Tech Product Club in 2020. His contributions to the club include coordinating the Product Pitch competition during the fall semester 2020 and organizing a set of three product management workshops in collaboration with alumni. of Wisconsin in product management to develop product management. skills for club members. Additionally, he created a resource guide for future product managers to hone their skills over the summer before their first semester in the full-time MBA program.

Mike has always been willing to support his MBA colleagues by volunteering to meet with potential and current students to discuss product management roles and to help students navigate career opportunities for internships and roles. post-graduation. He also supports students by giving generously of his time to conduct mock interviews for first year students interested in product management.

Mike goes above and beyond both in the classroom and outside the classroom at the Wisconsin School of Business. He understands the importance of developing skills to deepen his knowledge and one example is his participation in numerous case competitions during his two years in the program. His ease on stage to speak in public is certainly one of his strengths. Its teams placed 1st in the Spring 2020 Graduate Marketing Network Case Competition at the Wisconsin School of Business, 3rd place in the Technology Innovation Challenge sponsored by Carnegie Mellon in the fall of 2019, and Archer Consulting Competition Champion during the summer 2020.

Mike has gone above and beyond in every sense of the word during his two years. He is determined to be inclusive while maintaining a full focus on his values ​​on how the community should be built. He tirelessly supports his peers and is an excellent contributor providing stimulating ideas. He supports everyone around him and never asks for anything in return.

Another example of her selfless contribution is working with the Associate Dean of MBA / Masters programs and several classmates to discuss with WSB professors about the inclusion of inclusive leadership content and concepts in MBA in Business courses. . His willingness to go beyond the classroom is what defines Mike and why his classmates respect and appreciate his contributions. His post-graduation role will be at Intuit as a product manager.

Steven boeder
Director, Erdman Center
Wisconsin School of Business



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