Integrity. Innovation. Impact.

James Draper

James Draper


MBA 1996


Global Marketing Manager, 3M Traffic Safety Systems Division, 3M Company

Prior to attending Tippie for his MBA, Jim worked for two Fortune 500 companies: Brown Foreman Beverage Company and PepsiCo. Through his experience in both marketing and sales at these companies, he learned the value of strategic thinking within a fast-paced work environment.

“The distribution of products into the consumer retail industry was fast-paced and it taught me how to think quickly on my feet,” said Draper when asked about experience at the companies. Though satisfied with his career at PepsiCo, Jim came to realize that in order to advance his career he would need to gain a broader view of the business world.

He quickly narrowed his search to the Tippie College of Business due to the small class size and personal involvement of the staff. “I didn’t want to go to a larger MBA program and become just a number,” said Draper. The full-time program gave me the chance to unplug myself from the day-to-day of business life and allow me to take full advantage of the program and resources.”

In 1996, after graduation, Jim joined the 3M Company as marketing manager.

“The title of marketing manager does not fully represent the roles and responsibilities of what we actually do and what we are actually responsible for on a daily basis,” Draper said. “We are running an entire business under the 3M Company—including both strategic and tactical initiatives. Teamwork is the key to getting things done as well as continuing to grow the business.”

When asked how Tippie helped prepare him for his post-MBA career, Draper answered, “The Tippie MBA helped me hit the ground running, right on my first day. By looking at situations with an in-depth understanding, I’ve been able to make better business decisions for the company.”

“I learned to take advantage of the group work. Leading a team in the classroom is so similar to leading a team in the business world. Most of the principles are the same: setting a deadline, working with limited resources, making tough decisions, and making an educated conclusion based on the knowledge and facts at hand.”