Blog post: Executive MBA grad finds creative solution with charitable foundation

Randy Brandner had a problem. The Merrill Chamber of Commerce had outgrown its office space, and people were looking to him, its president, for answers. Luckily, he found a solution with the help of the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s Executive MBA program.  His story recently appeared in Project 72, part of the university’s All Ways Forward fundraising campaign.

During his Executive MBA studies, Brandner learned that charitable organizations can receive gifts such as donated property. He knew of a local building that was eligible for donation and would meet the chamber’s needs, so he proposed creating the Merrill Chamber of Commerce Foundation.

“Without my UW-Madison experience, I never would have suggested setting up the foundation,” he says.

Before long the foundation came to fruition, and Brandner served as its inaugural president. It has since become a pillar of the Merrill community. In addition to participating in civic beautification programs and local parks initiatives on a regular basis, the organization helped victims of a tornado that struck Lincoln County in 2011.

Brandner says the Executive MBA program also helped him advance his career at Church Mutual Insurance Company, where he serves as vice president of product management. The program was particularly useful in fostering “new awareness related to business and the interconnectivity of business organizations throughout the world,” he says.

Recently named to The Economist’s list of top Executive MBA offerings, the UW-Madison program features internationally recognized faculty and a close-knit community of experienced business professionals eager to enhance their leadership skills. In addition to studying management theories and current issues affecting the business world, students grow their networks at classes that meet every other weekend. Upon graduation nearly 80% of Executive MBA alumni say they’ve received a promotion or grown their own company, and two years later their salaries have increased an average of 71%.

For more information about the Executive MBA program, see here.