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An inspirational journey through Iowa State’s online MBA

Author: Chad Sanborn | Image: Chad Sanborn

An inspirational journey through Iowa State’s online MBA

McKinney’s efforts lead to fulfillment and career advancement

When Jamie McKinney moved from South Dakota to Des Moines for a job in 2020, she didn’t know how the COVID-19 pandemic would affect her life. But she saw the isolating circumstances as an opportunity to mark an item off her bucket list: pursuing a master’s in business administration. She was driven by her desire to broaden her skills and network. And was the perfect fit for her goals.

McKinney’s promotion from supervisor to manager at Iowa-based Mom’s Meals is closely linked to her journey through Ivy’s online professional master’s in business administration (PMBA), reflecting significant personal and professional growth. McKinney had moved to Iowa to start her first role as a call center supervisor. The move marked a pivotal moment in her life. She recounted, “I wanted to expand my career, expand my knowledge.” She built on this aspiration by enrolling in the PMBA program, a step that catalyzed her promotion to the managerial role. Reflecting on this achievement, she noted with pride, “It’s a new role that they created, so I feel pretty good about that.”

Her motivation for pursuing her master’s at Iowa State University was rooted in Cyclone legacy, an important influence in her life. “My dad actually worked in higher education. He taught at Iowa State in the 1980s,” she explained, highlighting her father’s influence in her choice to attend Iowa State. “Education is something that’s important to me. It’s been important to my family. It’s something that nobody can ever take away.”

McKinney also chose the Iowa State online program for its balance of quality and flexibility, a decision she spoke highly of: “I was thrilled with the quality of the experience. I saw the value and quality for the price point, and the flexibility was perfect for me.” To help her along her PMBA journey was the Career Services Department‘s support. McKinney remembered, “They helped a lot with my resume. They helped us with mock interviews and prepared me for whatever opportunity was next.”

In addition to the student support in place through Iowa State, the online learning experiences broadened her communication and team-building skills. A significant group project in her economics class stands out in her memory. McKinney reflected, “It was very challenging using new systems, using new skills, but we got to collaborate with a team. The value of teamwork that I learned from that experience will always stick with me.”

The practical applications of her studies were immediately evident in her professional life. McKinney shared, “I took a negotiation class as an elective that I thought maybe I wouldn’t use nearly as often as I do. I find myself using the techniques learned in that class every single day.”

So how does a working professional balance work, education, and personal life? Aside from the fact that Iowa State’s online PMBA is a part-time program and is geared toward professionals, McKinney found balance by staying organized and setting clear boundaries: “Keep yourself on track. Write to-do lists. No homework on Sundays… leaving at least one or two days of the week just to myself.” This approach helped her maintain focus and effectiveness when at work and while studying.

Looking ahead, McKinney reflected on the program’s impact: “I think it taught me a lot of both hard and essential skills, things that I can take and apply every single day. I also have a much larger network now.”

McKinney’s story is an inspiration for those balancing education with personal and professional responsibilities. Her narrative illustrates the profound impact of education on career advancement and personal development, serving as a motivational guide for continuous learning and growth.

Dive into flexible, convenient, high-quality education now

Iowa State hosts 70 online degrees and certificates that enhance the quality of learning. Be one of the many ground-breakers making an impact on their career and those around them. Unlock your full potential through the transformative power of online education through Iowa State Online. Request more information about Iowa State Online courses and programs today.

   Program contact:   Kim Putz   Assistant Director, graduate recruitment   515-294-7279


Jamie McKinney

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