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University of Iowa News Release


Jan. 10, 2012

Living in Omaha, earning an MBA from the University of Iowa in Des Moines

Peg Stessman and Levi Scheppers are becoming intimately familiar with Interstate 80.

Every week, the two Omaha residents make the two-hour drive east along the freeway to attend MBA classes through the University of Iowa's Tippie School of Management executive program in Des Moines. They drive to Des Moines on Thursday and spend two days in Des Moines before returning home Saturday evening.

Alex Taylor, director of the Tippie MBA's executive program in Des Moines, said it's not unusual for EMBA programs to have students who come from miles away.

"It shows how important an MBA degree has become for people who want to advance their careers, whether they're in a corporate environment or an entrepreneur," said Taylor. "People will drive or even fly for hours to earn their degree from a top-ranked program like Tippie's because the career value of the MBA outweighs the inconvenience."

The Tippie EMBA expanded to Des Moines in June and has 22 students in its first cohort. Classes are held every other Friday and Saturday at the John and Mary Pappajohn Education Center in downtown. Stessman is a UI nursing alumna and owner of Strategic Health Solutions, a company that provides review services for Medicare compliance, fraud, waste and abuse, education and outreach. She started the company in 2005, and it's grown into a $14 million, 80-employee enterprise -- large enough that she needs more than a nursing degree to manage it.

"An MBA gives you credibility in the business world, and strategic and practical skills that will help my organization grow," said Stessman. She considered programs closer to home in Omaha, but her familiarity with and loyalty to UI made it worth driving 140 miles every other week.

"I bleed black and gold," she said. "I wouldn't go to any school but the University of Iowa."

Scheppers also makes the drive from Omaha, and points out that the faculty make a similar drive from the UI campus in Iowa City to teach in the program.

"That commitment really impressed me," said Scheppers, CFO of the Bellevue Medical Center in suburban Omaha. "It made me realize that they're as committed to the program as I am if they're driving almost as far."

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Service, 300 Plaza Centre One, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACT: Tom Snee, 319-384-0010 (office), 319-541-8434 (cell),