2017 Best & Brightest: Cady Severson, University of Wisconsin

Cady Severson

Wisconsin School of Business

“Forever striving to be a mix of Emma Watson, Julie Andrews and Michelle Obama.”

Fun fact about yourself: I drive an orange Volkswagen Beetle.

Hometown: Rochester, MN

High School: Century High School

Major: Accounting

Minor: Specialization in Healthcare Management

Favorite Business Courses: My favorite business course would have had to be “Fundamentals of Taxation.” My professor was excited to teach us every day and made a topic that could have been very dry really fun, interesting and engaging.

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:

  • Dean’s List, 2 semesters
  • Compass Course Facilitator, 2 years – All incoming business students are required to take a one credit course that allows students to develop interviewing skills and hone their resumes as well as learn about the importance of diversity, values and leadership in business.
  • Beta Alpha Psi, Member
  • Alternative Breaks Committee, Processing Coordinator – Alternative Breaks allows students to travel to communities across the U.S. to perform volunteer work during their spring, summer and winter breaks.

Where have you interned during your college career?

  • PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP (PwC), Minneapolis, MN, International Tax Intern
  • Spark Clean Energy, Evanston, IL, Event and Outreach Intern

Describe your dream Job: My dream job would combine my love for traveling, teaching, and business. I think it would be really cool to be a visiting professor or lecturer at a university in Europe one day.

Which executive or entrepreneur do you most admire? I really admire Sheryl Sandberg. After reading her book, I had a whole new perspective on not only my role, but women, in business. She made me realize that no matter what stage of life I am, I need to, and can, lean in to my career.

What did you enjoy most about majoring in a business-related field? I really enjoyed all of the opportunities that were available to me. Not only was I able to teach incoming business students, but I was also able to study abroad where I learned more about international business and improved my German speaking skills. Going forward, I know that I’m not limited by my major and that there are so many interesting jobs and places that my major can take me.

What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business? I think the biggest lesson I learned is that business has so many opportunities you would never think would be available to you with a business degree. I think business majors sometimes get a bad reputation with people saying that all we care about is making money, but there are so many cool things that business degrees can allow you to do.

Where would you like to work after graduation? After graduation, I will complete my Master of Accountancy degree. Ideally after this I will start work at PwC as an International Tax Associate.

What are your long-term professional goals? Ideally after completing my Master of Accountancy, I will receive my CPA (Certified Public Accountant). Long-term, I see myself pursuing opportunities that involve teaching. As a Compass course facilitator, I have been surprised to see how much joy I get out of teaching. I think it will be really hard to move into a full time role that doesn’t have a component of working with, and teaching others. Ultimately, I want a job that makes me happy.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? My biggest piece of advice would be to look at every major that is available at your university before deciding on one. I started out in the business school as a marketing major without looking at any other majors. After taking our introductory marketing course, I realized that marketing was not something I wanted to do. By that time, I needed to declare my major. I wish I had looked at all of the other majors before assuming that I was going to love marketing.

“I knew I wanted to major in business when..I saw all of the opportunities that were available to my sister after she graduated from college with a business degree.”

“If I didn’t major in business, I would be…majoring in international studies and German.”

“Before I entered business school, I wish I had known…how big, and supportive, my network really was. I had thought I was going to be a nurse all throughout high school so choosing a completely different major made me really worried. After switching, I realized that I was really good, and interested, in business subjects and had a lot of people around me who were involved in business related fields ready to help me succeed.”

What was the happiest moment of your life?I think the happiest moment of my life came when I was a governor of Key Club International. The moment came when I realized that I, along with nine of my board members, had pulled off our biggest event of the year that took months of planning and preparation. A new governor is elected at this event every year. When I had gotten elected, I was doubtful of myself and my leadership abilities. Looking around a year later, I realized how much I had grown. I had led a board of nine people, helped raise thousands of dollars to support worthy causes, and grown so much in my confidence and public speaking abilities. In the end, I earned the highest honor that Key Club International bestows on governors. It was a really special moment.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? I think I’m most proud when my students come up to me and say that something I said or did helped them land their dream internship or job — or when students get excited to tell me about their accomplishments and how what they learned in the classroom helps them get there. I want to celebrate those achievements with students so when they feel comfortable enough to tell me about it, it’s not only a celebration for them, but a celebration for me as well.

What animal would you choose to represent your professional brand? A dolphin. They’re such kind-hearted, gentle creatures and I have loved them ever since I was little. They seem to make things look effortless and are loyal creatures. I hope that people would say that I am kind and loyal and try to make complicated things look effortless.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? I would most want to thank my dad for my success. Although every single member of my immediate family has had a big impact on my success, I would not be where I am today without him. He has taught me that there is absolutely nothing that I cannot do and that my best is absolutely enough. He has also supported me in everything that I have ever done being at every dance recital, soccer game or band concert that I was a part of. He is such a big part of the reason why I am successful and I am grateful that I have the privilege to call him my father. (But mom, thanks for teaching me how to read and spell, and for literally, and figuratively being my cheerleader. And thanks Courtney for always making me strive to be better than you; you set the bar very high.)

What would you like your business school peers to say about you after you graduate from this program? I would hope that my business school peers would say that I was a valuable addition to my class. I would also hope that they would say that I was helpful and kind. Madison has so many high caliber students, professors and staff that I have been blessed to work with every day.

Favorite book: Any of the Harry Potter books!

Favorite movie: Sweet Home Alabama

Favorite musical performer: Adele is my go-to artist when I’m traveling but otherwise I love country music.

Favorite vacation spot: Jellystone Park in Warrens, WI. My family and I have gone there almost every summer since I was three years old and our time spent there is something I look forward to every summer.

What are your hobbies? I really enjoy spending time with my family, watching movies, baking, and traveling to new places.

What made Cady such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2017?

“As a member of the Wisconsin BBA community and the graduating class of 2017, Cady stands out as not only one of our brightest students but also one of our most hard-working leaders with an incredible commitment to giving back to the communities and organizations she cares about most. Cady’s deep involvement with Key Club International allowed her to develop and utilize her leadership skills to encourage and empower other students to get involved in giving back to their communities. She then brought these skills to the UW-Madison campus, where she has been actively involved in Alternative Breaks Committee, once again working toward creating service learning opportunities for fellow students and working to create positive change, as well as other student organizations on campus.

Cady is a student who understands the importance of the personal and professional development that can happen outside of the classroom to complement business coursework. But she doesn’t just seek development for her own benefit. She consistently strives to encourage this in other students. One example of this is her work as a Compass course facilitator. As an instructor for newly admitted BBA students in the Compass course, she creatively and confidently taught students how to engage in self-assessment, embrace and utilize their strengths, develop their career management skills, and further their understanding of leadership, diversity, and inclusion. As a forward-thinking leader with the ability to anticipate students’ needs, Cady consistently brought ideas to staff members about ways to tailor the curriculum to better engage students in the class. She knew how to present material to maximize students’ understanding and excitement about a topic and wasn’t afraid to take some risks in an effort to make the content relevant and fun for students.

On top of her leadership skills, community service focus, commitment to developing others, and strong academic record, Cady brings humility, compassion, and a wonderful sense of humor to all she does. She is a smart, well-rounded leader with clear values and we are proud to have her as a soon-to-be Wisconsin BBA alumna.”

Steve Schroeder
Assistant Dean
Wisconsin BBA Program, Wisconsin School of Business


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