Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Alumnus brings world experience to campus

“It’s important to get educational experience outside of the classroom,” said Quinton Baker, president of the Dean’s Advisory Council for the College of Business and Economics.

Baker said the newly developed Leaders’ Ways and Wisdom speaker series is a means to do just that.

On Oct.11, students and staff heard the first speaker of the series, Michael O’Halleran, a UW-Whitewater alumnus.

He is also the executive chairman and founder of Aon Benfield. It is the largest reinsurance brokerage and capital advisory firm in the world.

Aon Benfield has more than 80 offices in 50 countries. Their mission is to help clients understand, manage and transfer risk.

O’Halleran spoke primarily on what it takes to build a global company, and defined what it means to be a successful and effective businessman.

He said he knew it would take  more than just optimism, to make his company grow.


“[You] have to have vision,” O’Halleran said. “More importantly, you have to know how to execute.”

O’Halleran said successful execution comes by following the, “most important [principles] in business, supply and demand, and people.”

Sophomore finance major Nate Bruckschen, who attended the event, said he enjoyed the speech.

“What I took away was, that by simply ‘sticking to it,’ you can accomplish anything,” Bruckschen said. “Look at Mr. O’Halleran, he developed a worldwide business, starting here at UW-Whitewater.”

Senior accounting major Dan Feurer also attended and said returning alumni are a valuable resource.

“I believe it’s very important for alumni to return and give current students advice,” Feurer said. “It really inspires students, like myself, to work as hard as possible.”

O’Halleran was appointed to lead Aon’s reinsurance division at its inception in 1987. Since then, he said he has faced many difficult decisions.

“Survive,” he told students. “I have.”

O’Halleran said his belief in what Aon Benfield could become kept him going over the years. He also said that business has changed drastically in the last three decades.


O’Halleran said that technology has changed the world, but that simple face-to-face communication is still effective.

He also said that trends have shitfted in terms of international business.

“The world is starting to breakdown barriers in terms of the global economy,” O’Halleran said. “get away from the fear of a plane and go somewhere else.”

The DAC said it will continue to bring accomplished presenters throughout the academic year for business students.

Baker said their focus is looking for speakers that can offer advice and guidance for future endeavors, and to learn from past experiences from those who’ve been in our shoes.


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Founded 1901
Alumnus brings world experience to campus