Dana Schultz ’18, ’19 MBA

Dana Schultz ’18, ’19 MBA

Despite juggling many roles including student, veteran, and mom, Dana Schultz ’18, ’19 MBA first graduated from MMU in 2018 with a bachelor’s in human resource management and again in 2019 with her Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree.

MMU: How did you decide on MMU for your undergrad?

DS: I started my education in Iowa at Kirkwood Community College, and when I went to set-up my schedule and let my advisor know what my goals were, she told me that MMU had the best human resources program. The way she talked about the program made me change my mind about trying to go to the University of Iowa and making that commute. I’m really glad I listened to her!

MMU: You took graduate classes as an undergrad—why was this decision right for you? How did you know you wanted to continue with school and earn your MBA from MMU?

DS: I really wanted to get the most out of my Post 9/11 GI Bill and what MMU’s curriculum had to offer. I tried college before I went into the Navy, and I didn’t do a very good job. I didn’t know what I wanted to do yet and couldn’t commit. It has always been a goal of mine to get my bachelor’s, and, given the tools the Navy taught me, I knew I was on the right path this time. It made sense to take advantage of being able to take graduate classes at the same time.

Tyler Poldervaart (director of graduate recruitment and admissions) and Marcie Van Note (MBA director) were a big help in getting me the tools I needed to get where I wanted to go. They helped get me in the right graduate program and create a schedule that matched what I wanted to do. When I started juggling a full-time job, full-time school, and being a mom for the first time, I started to really feel empowered to do whatever I could to continue to learn. The MBA program at Mount Mercy allowed me to continue to learn about topics that I love and connected me with some really awesome people.

MMU: Was it difficult to take graduate and undergraduate classes simultaneously on top of all your other responsibilities?

DS: I have spent entire weekends locked in a room surrounded by books and knocking out my homework. It was difficult, and at times I felt overwhelmed, but my end goal kept me going. On those late nights and weekends, my 19-month-old son, Hayden, was right there with me. He would snuggle up to my side as I tried to decide how in the world to figure out income statements, cash flows, and ratios! My husband Chris made things easier by keeping Hayden entertained so I could get my work done, but more importantly he kept reminding me that I could do this. One of my managers, also an MMU grad, always took the time to answer my questions and help connect the dots for me, or ask me a million questions to get my mind going. I started at ESP International as an admin assistant and was learning about human resources at work while I was learning it in school. I think this was probably the most beneficial thing that could happen to me—as I learned, I was given the opportunity to apply that knowledge.

MMU: How did your other roles in life, such as being a mom and veteran, affect your journey?

DS: The Navy really changed my life and gave me direction and purpose. I found a lot of self-worth through that experience. The tools I learned and experiences I had really equipped me to deal with anything. For six years, I had to show up and be present, which really helped me establish priorities and a solid work ethic. Mount Mercy’s accelerated format gave me the flexibility to be able to juggle everything which was nice, but I think the biggest thing that helped was the layout of the curriculum and the instructors. I was ecstatic to be able to come to class and learn from people in the field and the content kept us engaged.

MMU: Is there any one moment or memory that stands out to you from your time as an MMU grad student?

DS: I took conflict resolution last semester, and I really enjoyed that class, but what stands out about the class is we had to role play a conflict. I ended up with a group of ladies that were an absolute blast! We had class time to work on this project and most of the time that means grabbing everyone’s emails and then doing the work electronically, but not in our case. We decided to sit together and work our conflict out. We sat there for three hours laughing and plotting our conflict. It was awesome because we got to learn from each other and we were able to have fun! I think experiences like that and relationship building can make an experience even better.

MMU: Tell us about your career at ESP International.

DS: I started out as an administrative assistant at ESP International the same time I started my undergrad at MMU. Shortly after I graduated with my bachelor’s in August of 2018, I was promoted to human resources administrator for ESP and our newly acquired company in Davenport, Superior Tube Products. I was more involved in the HR department and utilized what I was learning at MMU during my day-to-day tasks. I started the MBA program last August right after my undergrad, and then in January of this year I moved to our Davenport location and took the role of human resources generalist.

I think the MBA program absolutely prepared me to take on the new role. I learned both the HR aspect and business aspect. I could take the production function and apply it to some of the decisions that were being made at work. As much as I dislike financial statements, I can read them and ask questions to help me understand the numbers. I feel the MBA program helped connect dots that would have taken me a lot longer to figure out.

MMU: Do you have advice for students interested in taking graduate courses during their undergrad?

DS: Do it! There is no reason not to take advantage of something that will benefit your future. 


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