Vice President Investments and Senior Portfolio Manager (retired)
Ameriprise Financial Inc. (Retired 2006)
At the height of her career, Lorraine Hart served as vice president investments and senior portfolio manager at American Express Financial Corporation, known today as Ameriprise Financial Inc. When she reflects on her prestigious 30-year career in finance, she pauses to remember how it all began.
"My MBA degree is what really enabled me to have my career. I didn't have an undergraduate degree in business, so the skills I learned in finance, portfolio management, accounting, and economics were all invaluable skills I acquired at The University of Iowa. I needed those qualifications to get my foot in the door. The degree truly was key for me to be able to have a successful career."
As an undergraduate, Lorraine envisioned herself at the head of a classroom teaching math, so she earned an undergraduate degree in mathematics. While in her final semester during a practicum teaching experience, she discovered teaching wasn't for her, so she decided an MBA degree would prepare her for the next step.
In 1973 Lorraine enrolled in The University of Iowa's MBA program where she was one of a handful of female students in the program. Following graduation, she sparked her finance career by working in the investment department at a Minneapolis bank for three years then transitioned to a small insurance company where she was a corporate bonds analyst and portfolio manager for eight years.
"The next career move made my friends scratch their heads. They asked me 'Why do you want to go from being a big fish in a little pond to being a little fish in a big pond?' I told them, I don't care what they call me. I will be presented with greater opportunities and I'll be challenged. And looking back, it was a good decision and I spent the remainder of my career at American Express Financial Corporation."
Lorraine entered the company as a high yield bond analyst and was offered many opportunities to grow within the organization and became vice president investments and senior portfolio manager.
Lorraine attributes much of her career success to taking advantage of many opportunities that come along.
"It's important to be open; be flexible. Look at things that come your way as opportunities; something good may come from them. And if it doesn't, you can always change paths."
A new opportunity is available to Tippie's Full-time MBA students—the Finance Career Academy, a challenging curriculum dedicated to preparing MBA students for leadership roles in finance. Lorraine recognizes the Finance Career Academy as a valuable tool for today's finance students.
"The Finance Academy is a terrific program. It makes me wish I could go back in time so I could experience it myself. It's designed to fit the needs of people across many careers; its very flexible, practical, and experiential. It's outstanding."