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By Vanessa Ruiz
One of the main qualities that characterizes Tippie MBA students is their willingness to give back to the program—both during their enrollment and following their graduation. This charitable spirit has shown itself not only in monetary ways, as through the annual class gift and a variety of generous donations, but in many non-monetary ways as well.
A number of Tippie MBA alumni visited campus this spring semester to share their business experience and knowledge with current Tippie students. Matt Hoogerland, a Tippie alum who currently serves as the CFO at global supply chain management company OHL, spoke with students in the Finance Academy about what he has learned while moving up in various professional organizations throughout his career, including OHL, the Ford Motor Company, and the Brady Corporation. Hoogerland says that he advocates for Iowa students and alumni to fill positions in his company because he is aware of the strong skill development opportunities that Tippie provides, and is now furthering that notion himself by working on a case project that incorporates real world business situations into the academic setting. Read more about Matt's visit from the perspective of MBA student Deanna Sorak on our blog.
The Strategic Innovation Academy also hosted a number of alumni speakers this semester. Cary Richey and Rick Schmidt, 2011 and 1988 MBA graduates, respectively, are both employees of Rockwell Collins who spoke to students about career opportunities in strategy development. Richey in particular shared his experiences as a recently-graduated MBA student, and how his participation in the program has helped him in his current position. Students were also able to hear from Loren Trimble, a Tippie graduate with a degree in accounting who is the co-founder, President, and Managing Director of AArete in Chicago, IL. AArete, a consulting company, focuses on helping businesses reduce costs without cutting staff, and through his presentation students were able to gain a new perspective on a career in strategic consulting.
Some alumni choose to meet with students off campus as well. Each semester, students have the opportunity to visit a major city and tour companies in the market through Career Exploration visits, which are often hosted or planned by Tippie alumni. One highlight of these two-day trips is the Tippie Table Talk, which is organized by Career Services and held on the first night of the program. According to Career Services Recruiting Specialist Erin Dougherty, the Table Talk is “a slower-paced networking event” to which Tippie alumni from the host city are invited to interact with current MBA students and other alumni in the area. Students are placed at designated tables and then given the opportunity to rotate tables throughout the night, so as to optimize their networking potential. While no Table Talks were held this spring semester, the Finance Academy did host a similar event in Des Moines, IA, where students were able to tour companies and attend a luncheon networking event with alumni in the city.
Along with connecting current MBA students to potential business contacts, a number of alumni choose to volunteer their time to help foster students’ job application and interviewing skills. Each semester, the LEAP program organizes a series of mock interview events that are conducted by Tippie alumni and members of the Full-time MBA staff. These interviews are held on campus, over the phone or Skype, or even at the companies at which the alumni work, and they provide students with the chance to learn from professionals who were once in their very same situations. Members of the Career Services staff also often receive notices of job postings from alumni, who specifically request resumes of current MBA students to be considered for positions at their companies because of the caliber of the education they receive at Tippie.
Because of all of their donations—of not only money, but time, resources, and knowledge - Tippie alumni are an integral component of the success of the program.