Teresa Volcheck

After 20 years in computer programming, Teresa Volcheck came to the University of Iowa to sharpen her competitive edge.



Open doors with Business Analytics

Having amassed more than 20 years in computer programming and auditing, Teresa Volcheck wanted a master’s in business analytics to sharpen her competitive edge and back up her career growth.

Before deciding to pursue an advanced degree at the University of Iowa, she’d taken on a new role as an audit manager with a greater focus in data analytics and IT internal auditing at Principal Financial Group.

“The degree has gotten me noticed by different areas of the company,” Teresa said. “It's giving me opportunities to drive data initiatives inside my department and with other data analytics groups throughout Principal.”

Now nearing the close of her master’s at Tippie, Teresa shares how she’s building the confidence and credibility to succeed in a continuously evolving field.             

Why did you choose an advanced degree in business analytics?

It’s been about 24 years since I’ve been in school. When the analytics degree came about, I felt like I could apply it in my job today or it could help open some doors for me in the future.

Teresa Volcheck
“Having the degree helps give me the confidence to put forth more of my ideas. Because I put the time and effort into this program, that also helps give me credibility at work.”

It was a good choice for me personally, developmentally, and for work. It’s like any discipline: you really need to have the passion and the aptitude for it to be successful. Having those things, and the education to back it up, there’s almost nothing you can’t do with a degree like this.

What is it like returning to college having been away for more than 20 years?

Everything is different—even getting your assignments and handouts. Everything is online. It's awesome. It was really more about just getting into the groove of studying, doing things on my own time, and studying for tests. I hadn’t studied for tests for a long time. That was the hardest part for me, just carving out that slice of time to do my homework or study.

In graduate school, people are very invested. In undergrad, you're there because you're there. With these kinds of classes, you're there because you truly want to be there. You all have the same goal. Also having a personal relationship with my professors has helped me stay engaged and push myself forward.

What has been your most valuable class so far?

Data Science was a really hard class, but that's the class that really pulled together a lot of what we were learning from the previous four classes to give me a bigger picture of what we're doing and why we're doing it and how to do it. It built that house for me.

In that class, we had homework assignments that were 10-20 pages long. It was a lot of time. But you really learn how to pull those pieces together, how to talk about that assignment so that somebody else could take a look at it and understand what you're doing.

“Tippie has done such a nice job of creating classes just for this program.”

Data science isn't about what you can do. It's about what you can communicate to other people about the effectiveness of it. So you're not writing those papers for you. You're writing them for your audience. That class really helped really bring it all into focus.