Pave the way to career growth with a Professional MBA.

When she graduated from the University of Iowa with an undergraduate degree in finance, Sarah Nauman (PMBA17) landed a job with Ameriprise Financial in Minneapolis. After adding several years of financial advising experience to her resume including a promotion, Sarah eyed her return to Des Moines. After researching companies, she recognized the value of earning an MBA and how it would unlock her long-term career growth.

Sarah secured a job with Voya Financial in Des Moines and enrolled in Iowa’s Professional MBA Program, taking advantage of PreMBA status to get her feet wet.

“The most daunting part for a lot of people is taking the GMAT,” Sarah said. “Knowing that you can dip your toes in the water before committing to studying for the test, that's what gave me the confidence that I could take the test and study for it.”

Once fully invested in the Professional MBA Program, halfway through, Principal Global Investors recruited her. Now, as a Principal internal investment consultant, she partners with retirement advisors to provide updates on Principal funds and its services.

See how she’s stepped up to fill a marketing gap on her team while earning the credentials to back it up.

How did starting the program in PreMBA status give you the confidence to pursue the full degree?

I was really nervous to go back to school. I remember leaving undergrad and thinking, “Never again will I have to study.” The PreMBA did an awesome job of showing me that I do have the time and energy, and going back to school is not the end of the world when it's one or two classes at a time.

“My classes helped me build the confidence I needed to communicate with people at work, no matter their job level.”

Why Tippie?

One of the things that drew me to the MBA program was that it wasn’t cookie cutter. There wasn’t a specific path you had to take. You can pick and choose which courses fit what you want to do in your career.

How did you customize your MBA?

I really enjoyed the marketing classes, and we had a need on my team to have someone focused on getting more marketing exposure from Principal resources, so I stepped up.

“You can do life full time and fit a really flexible MBA program in your career.”

I split my classes with management and marketing 50/50 because both of those things were important to me. And the marketing certificate is something that backs up my MBA with a focus on a career path that I wanted to pursue.

When did you make your career move?

It was right after I took a class that really opened my mind up to that opportunity. Leadership and Personal Development was a lot of figuring out your skills, personality traits, and passions. In that class, I gained the most clarity about myself and about what I wanted to do with my MBA, my career, and my life.

I took it early on in the program and would recommend it to anyone. It's a good way to start from scratch, clear the slate, figure out where you're going, and know why you're there.

What did you gain from courses immediately?

I used communications skills that I picked up in classes, like ways to confront issues or confidently solve problems. My classes helped me build the confidence I needed to communicate with people at work, no matter their job level.

Was it difficult to schedule classes around your other commitments?

There’s a lot of flexibility in the scheduling. I started out slower, taking one class at a time, and then took two classes at a time. I would often couple an in-person class with an online class each semester so that I had flexibility.

How were those online courses different from in-person courses?

The online classes were great. At this point, they're basically like you're sitting in the classroom with everyone else. You can see everyone and communicate with everyone, but you just happen to be at home. That made the burden of taking two classes a little bit easier.

“I got the same amount of value out of the online course as an in-person course. One of the differences is that you get to meet additional people and your net is cast a little wider.”

Through the online classes, I've met people who were at different stages of the program, at different locations, in the full-time program or who worked at different companies.