Experience is everything.

From her undergraduate BBA to Iowa’s Master of Finance program, Elisa Suarez has followed a finance track at Tippie. And she never looked anywhere but Iowa to advance her education.

“I heard about the Master of Finance program and thought it would be perfect for me. I liked that it was focused on data and that they offered experiential learning opportunities. I applied right away and got in super early.”

As part of the program, she worked on the Henry Fund, Tippie’s $10+ million student-run equity fund, and participated in a client consulting project at IDx, a medical technology company. Here’s how these opportunities helped change the way she sees the world of finance.

Preparing to go pro

Elisa was excited when she was tapped to help manage the Henry Fund because it gave her a chance to put everything she’d learned to the test in the real world.

“It’s nearly the same as working on a fund for a private company. We worked as a team and exchanged a lot of opinions on where we think the companies are going,” she said.

Her team not only debated investment strategies, they were also tasked with presenting recommendations to the Henry Fund board. This meant that the group had to align on their decisions, and be prepared to answer tough questions.

“I’ve never prepared myself as much as I did for that presentation,” Elisa laughs.

The experience helped Elisa discover how working as a team helps businesses make better decisions. It also gave her an opportunity to develop both technical valuation skills and sharpen her communication and presentation abilities.

Funding the future

For another experiential learning course, Elisa participated in a client consulting project with IDx, a medical technology startup in Coralville, IA. For her project, she explored ways to fund innovative technology, like the company’s AI eye-screening for diabetic patients. By developing tools to measure return on investment and display break-even points, she gave the company a way to attract potential new investors.

“What I find most valuable about experiential courses is that you feel what you’re doing is meaningful,” she explains.

The company now uses Elisa’s model to secure the funding they need to make diagnostic eye screenings more convenient for patients across the U.S.

Finance matters

In Tippie’s Master of Finance program, Elisa didn’t only gain the hard skills she’ll need in the real-world—she also gained a new appreciation for her industry.

“I’ve learned a lot about what makes businesses work and what finance can contribute to the world in different ways.”

In her future consulting career, she hopes to help lead a corporation in making the right decisions and give value to the shareholders or individuals investing in a corporation. Eventually she looks to land a CFO role.

“The faculty and career management here have prepared me so well. They’ve helped me find my market, search for a career, and prepare for interviews. It’s so valuable to have a team behind you who are always willing to help you succeed.”