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Alumni Snapshot – Mark Wilson

CoBE Alumni Remember and Reflect

Name: Mark Wilson

Current Employer and Position: TermSync, Inc. CEO

Graduation Year(s) and Major(s): Accounting 2003, MBA 2006

 

Why did you choose to attend UW-Whitewater?

I grew up in southwest Wisconsin and wanted to stay somewhat close and knew Whitewater had a great business program. My brother is two years older than me and he went to Whitewater as well.

Were there any professors or courses that particularly inspired you? Why?

I enjoyed most of the business classes and professors. Professor Gruber stands out as one that I remember enjoying class with. I worked full time in college and did not get as involved as I should have. I’ve always regretted not getting to know the professors more. That is one of the advantages of going to a school like Whitewater and I didn’t utilize it.

Did you participate in extra-curricular activities? If so, what did you learn from participating in these activities that has been useful in your career?

I was part of Beta Alpha Psi but see above comment on wishing I participated in events more.

What do you enjoy most about your current position?

This is my second startup. The first one we were fortunate enough to sell to Microsoft. I love seeing how things go from idea stage to full business and the roller coaster ride along the way. There are definitely ups and downs. The things I enjoy most are working with others who also are completely bought into creating something special from scratch.

What is your proudest professional accomplishment?

Being part of a company that sold to Microsoft was a proud moment. However, I think what we have done here at TermSync makes me even more proud. Large businesses are using and relying on a product that we built from scratch. We also provide well paying jobs to employees and created the company during a down economy.

What do you feel is your greatest professional strength?

Problem solving. There is no major in problem solving but that and communication are by far the most important traits people can have no matter what field they are in.

What are the three key skills or qualities you look for in recent grads wishing to join your company?

1) Hunger – there is nothing you can show in a resume, but when you talk to someone for awhile in an interview you can see how hungry they are to do a job and do it well. At an early stage company you need people that are hungry to prove themselves and better the company.

2) Willingness to get out of their comfort zone. At any company, but especially a smaller company, you need to wear many hats. I don’t want someone who is not willing to learn or try something new.

3) Fit our company culture. Working in an early stage company is much different from a large corporation. I’ve done both and would much rather be with the smaller company. It’s not for everyone but we need people that feel that way. We also are definitely a work hard / play hard company. We have a lot of responsibilities but we also have fun. Our office is a former restaurant. We kept the bar and have social events to get the full team together, usually once a week. We also have a ping pong table in the office. Little things like that are part of what makes working for a non-corporate company more appealing.

Based on what you know now, what advice would you give to your college-age self if you could go back in time?

Participate in more events and care more about actually learning things for the long haul rather than just to get an A on the exam. I learned a lot at UW-Whitewater but I feel like I fell into the trap of learning it simply to get my A rather than better myself.

 

 

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