Integrity. Innovation. Impact.

Adriane Downs

Adriane Downs

Leadership Program Associate Manager


MBA 2012




Zimmer, Inc.

How did receiving a Tippie MBA prepare you for your career?   

Receiving a Tippie MBA prepared me for my next career by allowing me to hone my professional skills in a safe environment. To be successful as my career progresses, I realized the skills necessary for my first job out of my undergraduate studies were very different than those needed for my roles post-MBA. In short, I needed more polish. I was able to practice skills such as interviewing, global business and dining etiquette, presenting, and team building through the numerous “mock” environments created for us. These are often discounted skills taken from a full-time MBA program, but with an already “technical” background, they were the necessary additions to my skill set that helped me land in a Leadership Development Program after completing my MBA.

What type of impact did the program have on you both socially and academically? What was it like being a part of a small program?

Part of the full-time MBA experience is an exercise in time management. Between juggling course work, a time-consuming job search, and a graduate assistantship, it was important for me to build a solid network of co-workers and friends in the program that I could rely on both academically and socially. Because our class spent so much time together, both in the classroom and out, we became very close and could help each other because we truly knew each other. That makes all the difference in a demanding program, and formed the basis for a network of peers I feel I could reach out to, be it advice or just to catch up, for the rest of my career.

How did the consulting opportunities (BSC) prepare you for future success? Did you feel they were instrumental to your development?

The consulting opportunities through the Business Solutions Center gave me the opportunity to practice my project-management skills, both as a team member and during my second year as a team leader. Particularly as a team leader with no prior experience leading people, I gained invaluable experience learning how I can most effectively communicate and lead a project team to success given my work style and personality. This was one of the most challenging experiences in the full-time program. In the end, we not only succeeded as a team, but I learned many ways I could improve the experience for the next team I am privileged to lead. The best part about this opportunity was that I could make mistakes and learn to effectively lead a team in a safe environment where neither my career nor the future of my company was at stake. These types of safe learning environments are a huge advantage Tippie MBA students have over their counterparts in the workplace who learn through trial by fire with their reputations on the line.

What was the environment like both on and off campus, in and out of the classroom?

Both on and off campus, I found the environment to be friendly and inclusive. On campus, I felt a deep caring from the staff and faculty to see my classmates and I succeed both in the program and afterward. My peers in the program were just fun to be around. Especially as a woman coming from a highly male-dominated industry, I appreciated being around other women who set very high professional standards for themselves and accomplished their goals while still having fun and enjoying life.

What were you seeking when you started an MBA, and do you feel that your Tippie MBA helped you achieve it?

I began the Tippie MBA seeking a pathway to a different career. The Tippie MBA helped me to achieve that goal and more. Especially for MBA students who enter the program without a great deal of management experience, you don’t know what you don’t know. I didn’t fully understood the complexity and expectations of the role when I began the process of seeking an MBA, but I am now prepared to begin a career in management.   

How did your participation in extra activities enhance your experience or prepare you for success?

The activities I participated in outside of the prescribed curriculum gave me confidence in my own leadership abilities. As the president of the National Women MBA Association and a team leader for the GE Healthcare BSC project, I was able to test my leadership abilities in a safe environment and receive candid feedback. Most importantly, these extracurricular activities helped me to get to know my classmates better on a personal level, and they were a lot of fun!

What do you feel sets Tippie apart and above other similar MBA programs? In short, what makes Tippie special?

At Tippie, there was an incredible focus on making each person’s individual experience as meaningful as possible. This began the moment I spoke with the admissions staff, and continued on in various forms through graduation. This attention to detail, from student selection to personalized support in career placement made all the difference to me.