Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Take on a Cross-Country Adventure After Graduation in a 27-Foot Long Hot Dog!

The Oscar Mayer Wienermobile, headquartered here in Madison, is a Badger tradition. Every year, twelve lucky dogs are chosen to drive the Wienermobile as Hotdoggers, and UW-Madison has a proud tradition of graduates who cut the mustard. A few years ago, even Bucky the Badger took his turn behind the wheel.

Hotdoggers serve as goodwill ambassadors through media interviews and event appearances. Other than experience in the business, public relations and marketing industry, perks of the job include a competitive salary, expenses, benefits, clothing and a head-turning company car. Because of the incredibly unique experience shared between Hotdoggers, you also gain a great network of friends who work in a variety of fields that you can tap into as a resource for future career opportunities.

Tyler Mielke graduated from UW-Madison last year with a business degree in Actuarial Science and is part of the current Hotdogger team. Tyler (or Turkey Dog Tyler, as he’s known on the hot dog highways) discusses how the Wisconsin Experience has helped him manage his job responsibilities and what the life on the road has taught him.

From left to right: Caleigh Robertson, Tyler Mielke and Tracia Johnson

This year, three UW-Madison graduates relish the opportunity to drive the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile.

Why did you want to become an Oscar Mayer Hotdogger?
TM: I really got the travel bug during my four years of college at UW-Madison. I had summer internships in Chicago and Mexico City, and I took spring/winter break trips to Ireland, England, and Italy to visit other Badgers who were studying abroad. Being a Hotdogger seemed like the perfect way to continue seeing the world.

Where are the different places you traveled to during your first half and what is your favorite place?
TM: During my first half I traveled through the southern region of the states, so I’ve been all the way down to the southern tip of Texas, as far east as Florida, through California for a couple weeks, and through 10 other states during our journey from headquarters in Madison, Wisconsin. My favorite event was the Corvette FunFest in Effingham, Illinois. We spent four days at the largest Corvette festival in the world and even led a parade of Corvettes around the city on the festival’s opening day.

What do you love most about being a Hotdogger?
TM: I love trying new food on the road. We talk to the “locals” every day, so we always get recommendations on what grub to try in a new city. I had some awesome sushi in San Francisco, California that I just can't get off my mind!

What have you learned about yourself, personally and professionally, after being on the road?
TM: Being a Hotdogger demands a pretty flexible person who isn't scared of things not going exactly according to plan, and I've learned that this is something I really enjoy in a job. I'm able to adapt pretty well to whatever situation, so for me, it is always exciting when things happen spontaneously. I have also learned to work with well with different types of people. Most of the Hotdoggers are from different parts of the country, studied something different things in college, and have a different way of getting work done, so I've learned a lot from the others on my team.

How have your previous experiences, through student leadership, work and academics, helped you become more successful in this position?

TM: As an undergraduate I was a member of the Wisconsin Alumni Student Board, Actuarial Club, and the Sellery Hall Association. My experiences at UW-Madison help me every day on the job as a Hotdogger. The Wisconsin Experience is all about applying learning inside and outside of the classroom, and living out this idea on campus has really helped out as a Hotdogger. My time on the Wisconsin Alumni Student Board helped developed event-planning and teamwork skills, and my job at Wendt Library helped me become a very independent worker. Both of which are important on the road.
What advice can you give to students who are interested in the position?
TM: Be yourself in the interview. The Hotdoggers are a very diverse group of people, and Oscar Mayer is always looking for a unique candidate for the position. Let them know what makes you special for the position.

As a graduate from the UW-School of Business, what professional skills and experiences have you gained this year that you will use in future jobs?
TM: I've learned some great communication and public relations skills. Every day I talk to people of all ages and backgrounds, so I really feel confident that I can engage in conversation with anyone. Also, I can say that I've created press releases and pitched media to all types of media outlets such as newspapers, TV news stations, radio stations, and blogs. I have quite the portfolio from this experience, especially for a person with a degree in Actuarial Science.

Oscar Mayer is currently accepting resumes through January 31st for a one-year position beginning in June. Bilingual candidates are encouraged to apply. Send resumes and cover letters to (Attn: Hotdogger Position).

Find out more about the position at the informational session on Wednesday, February 1 from 5-6pm in Union South. For the exact room location, check out TITU at the Union Entrance or online ( the day of the event.

- By Rachel Kuo, former Hotdogger and current Social Justice Educator and Communications Specialist at the UW-Madison Multicultural Student Center. Follow @UWMulticultural to stay updated career opportunities and tips.

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