Back to:
Current year's news releases

All news releases
News and information home

MBA student named semifinalist in leadership development program

RELEASED: March 22, 2011

Karla Wald
Karla Wald

EAU CLAIRE — Karla Wald, a University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire MBA student from Chippewa Falls is a semifinalist in the Presidential Management Fellow program, a federal entry-level leadership development program for graduate students. The program, which was created by executive order in 1977, was established to attract outstanding individuals from a variety of academic disciplines and career paths to public service.

Wald is one of 1,500 semifinalists chosen nationwide from a pool of 9,100 graduate students from such prestigious universities as Georgetown, Harvard, Stanford, the University of Chicago and the University of Michigan. Approximately 700-800 applicants become finalists each year. Wald will learn if she has been selected in early April.

Wald first heard about the Presidential Management Fellow program in October 2010 when Dr. Raj Aroskar, UW-Eau Claire associate professor of finance, forwarded an e-mail message from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management to his MBA students.

"The PMF program intrigued me," said Wald. "It's a chance to be part of something significant and it's a special experience that only comes along once after graduate school. The opportunity to work at the White House, the Pentagon or other national agency was enticing. I wanted to see if I have what it takes to become a Fellow in the program."

The PMF application and selection process is an intensive one that takes approximately six months and includes a timed, online assessment. Individuals selected as semifinalists then participate in an in-person assessment, which consists of an individual presentation, group presentation and writing sample.

Wald traveled to Chicago for her personal assessment. The day she interviewed, she competed against five law students from UW-Madison and Drake University, a graduate student from an international marketing program at the University of Maryland and an environmental scientist from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

"Deep down though, I knew that I belonged there," said Wald. "I had the confidence and knew I could compete with other students from top academic programs in the country."

Semifinalists who pass the personal assessment move into the finalist stage of the selection process. Finalists have one year to be hired into a PMF position, pass a background investigation and go through the agency's orientation and training process. PMF positions are posted to the program's online job bank throughout the year. In addition, an annual job fair is held each spring in the Washington, D.C., area exclusively for finalists. Federal agency representatives attend the event, discuss hiring opportunities with finalists and make job offers.

During their two-year appointment, fellows receive 160 hours of formal classroom training on leadership, management, policy and other topics, and participate in four to six consecutive monthlong development assignments. Fellows receive full salary and benefits and also may be eligible to receive assistance with student loan repayment depending on the agency they work for. Upon successful completion of the program, Presidential Management fellows are awarded a certificate of completion, which permits immediate appointment to a position in the competitive or excepted service and carries prestige in the workplace.

Whether she is selected or not, Wald feels the experience has been well worth the effort.

"The PMF program is an amazing leadership opportunity," Wald said. "It provides a chance to use my education and business acumen to make a difference and to offer something of value to the American people. It's an honor to be chosen, even at the semifinalist level, and I think it's definitely a testament to UW-Eau Claire's MBA program."

-30-

GH/RD/DW

Back to:
Current year's news releases

All news releases
News and information home

 

Excellence. Our Measure. Our Motto. Our Goal.