Travis Vander Linden

When Travis Vander Linden decided to return to school, he didn’t realize he would be majoring in juggling.



Life changes…sometimes all at once.

Born and raised in Des Moines, Travis Vander Linden returned to his home city after receiving his undergrad degree and accepting a position with Principal Financial Group, where he continues to work today.

End of story? Hardly.

Working in risk management and cyber security, Travis understood the importance of continued learning. So, in the summer of 2018 he enrolled in Iowa’s professional MBA program at the Tippie’s Des Moines campus, where he eventually received his degree, as well as leadership and business analytics certificates.

“Initially, it was a shock to the system,” says Travis. “I’d taken a bit of time between my undergrad degree and my MBA, maybe 6-7 years.”

On the upside, the University and the professors knew they were dealing with working professionals.

“They understood that students were juggling careers and families.”

Life moves pretty fast

Juggle he did. While Travis was working and attending class, he also got married and moved to a new home. Then the pandemic arrived.

“It seemed like all my life changes happened during my MBA studies,” he says. “It was definitely a test of my fortitude.”

But there was no stopping Travis. He had always had the goal to complete his MBA. Plus, he knew he wanted, and needed, to upskill professionally.

Travis Vander Linden

“Continuing to develop my leadership skills was key. There’s a need and demand for data analytics skills both at my employer and in the broader marketplace. Plus, I have an aspiration to someday start my own business, so I felt like the Iowa MBA program could give me the foundational knowledge I needed.”

An investment in the future

But why the University of Iowa and the Tippie College of Business?

“I looked at a few different schools. I looked into weekend programs. I looked at in-person options. I looked at other schools with fully online options. In the end, the curriculum at the University of Iowa, the proximity, plus the return on my investment all made a lot of sense.”

Travis also notes that the Tippie College of Business exceeded his expectations, constantly reviewing the curriculum to make sure it stayed valuable, relevant, and current.

“I got everything I expected to get out the MBA program and more. In addition to what I learned in the classroom, I learned to be ruthless with my time management. My ability to manage time is exponentially better than when I started.”

Available energy

Travis says that when he was in his undergrad program, he was sometimes surrounded by reluctant learners. But at Tippie, everyone was excited to be there. 

“There was a hunger and a drive that was really exhilarating. It’s something I’ve carried forward in my life. I’ve built on that energy.”

Travis goes on to talk about his engagement with the student association, networking events, and other activities that fueled his education.

“That was a huge benefit for me. Not only to get to know my fellow students, but to get to know the local team in Des Moines. I’ve continued to participate and stayed in touch since I’ve graduated. I felt so much more a part of the program than if I’d just attended classes.”

Travis knew that going back to school would require a commitment. And he knew that there would be sacrifices. But…

“It was 100% worth it. I had a fantastic experience at Tippie. I got SO much out of the Business Analytics program.”