Vanessa Mariscal: 2016 Best and Brightest

Vanessa Mariscal Wisconsin

Vanessa Mariscal

Wisconsin School of Business, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Hometown: West Allis, WI

High School: Nathan Hale High School

Major: Marketing, Management and Human Resources

Favorite Business Courses: The marketing course “Consumer Behavior” which focuses on the psychology of why consumers make the choices they do.

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:

Extracurricular Activities

Alpha Kappa Psi, Professional Business Fraternity – I have been involved with this professional fraternity throughout my entire college career. I have served as Vice President of Professional Development and Vice President of Membership in this student organization.

Community Work

Compass Course Facilitator – Compass is a 1 credit class that all new business students take. As a facilitator, I teach this twice-weekly class that focuses on developing business soft skills and tackling such topics as identity, power, privilege and oppression.

Make A Statement Campaign – As a member of this campaign, I help connect soon-to-be and recent business school alumni to opportunities to give back to the University and the Wisconsin School of Business.


Lead BBA Ambassador, Wisconsin School of Business – As a Lead Ambassador, I serve as a communication touch point for prospective high school students who are interested in the Wisconsin School of Business.


Erroll B. Davis Jr. Alliant Energy Award Recipient – An award recognizing academic achievement and involvement in a minority student

Where have you interned during your college career?

Macy’s, Inc. – Interned as a buyer for the e-commerce fragrance division in New York City

Baker Tilly Virchow Krause, LLP – Interned as a Human Capital Consultant in Chicago

Describe your dream job: An education consultant in politics (much like those education consultants seen in House of Cards), combining business analytics, political interests, and my passion for education. Education is often overlooked, but I believe it is so important, and would love to be an expert in this field.

What did you enjoy most about majoring in a business-related field? Business sometimes get a bad rap for being aggressive or not thinking about the individual. I think this could not be further from the truth, as the peers I have worked with in my business courses have shown that they want to use business to encourage consumers to make smart, useful choices to improve their everyday lives. Seeing this positive impact of business is what I have most enjoyed about majoring in this field.

Where would you like to work after graduation? After graduation, I will be returning to Baker Tilly to start my career as Human Capital Services Staff Consultant.

What are your long-term professional goals? I would like to return to school at some point to pursue either a master’s degree or a doctoral degree in Education. I ideally see myself working at a university with undergraduate students while conducting research on the behaviors of female students (much like myself).   Some of my most rewarding jobs I have held during college have been working in various student support service roles, helping other undergraduate students chart their course in college. I am also immensely grateful for the help I have received from higher education professionals during my time at college, and would love to have the chance to help other students who may be struggling throughout their undergrad career.

I see research playing a role in this as I try to further understand why female students make the choices they do while at college, and using this to maximizing their positive outcomes and learning opportunities while in school. While this may seem a drastically different route than business, I see it very similar as instead of consulting businesses on management moves, I will be consulting students on their education and career moves.

“I knew I wanted to major in business when…I realized that business was a career field that would allow me to interact with others while exploring the reasons why people make the choices they make.” 

“If I didn’t major in business, I would be…either a high school history teacher or working in a bakery.” 

 What was the happiest moment of your life? Telling my parents that I was the valedictorian of my high school graduating class. It felt amazing to deliver this good news to my parents knowing how much they had supported me throughout high school, and seeing how proud they were of me.

Which academic or personal achievement are you most proud of? Simply completing my undergraduate degree. Neither of my parents attended college, so this is a truly a celebration for my family.

What animal would you choose to represent your professional brand? An owl. I would like to think I am somewhat wise as my friends often come to me with questions regarding school or internships. Also, like an owl, I tend to be very expressive, and enjoy sharing my enthusiasm for school and work with others.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? Without a doubt, it is my parents. My parents absolutely instilled in me a strong sense of education when I was very young—always reading to me, helping me with math homework at the kitchen table (long division especially), or asking me about my school work. While they may not have always been able to help with my class work as I got older, they still remain my biggest supporters and encourage me to pursue work I am interested in and find rewarding, while remaining a sounding board for any decisions I might be making.

Fun fact about yourself: I once won a hula-hoop competition on roller skates!

Favorite book: And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

Favorite movie: Goodfellas

Favorite musical performer: The Beach Boys. When I saw them in concert I was the youngest person there by about 30 years, but had a blast!

Favorite vacation spot: Lido Beach, Florida. This is a picture-perfect white sand beach and a true relaxation spot.

What are your hobbies? I enjoy scrapbooking, running outside, and whipping up desserts (chocolate chip cookies especially).

What made Vanessa such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2016?

“It’s difficult to review all the contributions Vanessa has made to the Wisconsin BBA Program and the class of 2016 while still keeping the description concise and brief! Vanessa has not only achieved great academic success and accumulated a great skillset herself, but has mentored, taught, and served her fellow students in multiple capacities.

As a facilitator for one of our courses, Vanessa consistently went above and beyond to prepare for class, address the needs of students, and provide a welcoming and supportive classroom environment. Week-after-week, she brought energy and enthusiasm to her role, thoughtfully considering the best ways to reach the students in their class so that they could develop their career management skills, leadership skills, and self-awareness. She has the confidence to take risks in order to try innovative methods of delivering course content to maximize students’ learning.

As a peer mentor during our summer orientation sessions for incoming first-year students and as a BBA Ambassador for our admissions team, Vanessa counseled students in their decision-making processes and represented the very best of what the Wisconsin BBA Program has to offer. She has been successful in these roles because she has an inclusive mind-set, can build rapport with all sorts of audiences, and truly cares about others’ success. She is ethical and follows-through on her commitments, which builds trust among those with whom she works, as evidenced by the impact of her leadership in Alpha Kappa Psi. Vanessa epitomizes the drive, leadership, academic excellence, and commitment to service we hope all undergraduate business students will achieve.”

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