Corey Walther, ’11 CEMBA, is chief operating officer of Allianz Life Financial Services—a financial services provider based in Minneapolis and a part of Allianz SE which is headquartered in Germany with operations in more than 70 countries worldwide. He enrolled in the Carlson Executive MBA Program to stay ahead of emerging challenges and seize new opportunities in the increasingly global industry.

“Looking ahead to the future, I saw our business was continuing to change,” says Walther, who was a senior vice president when he began the program. “After being at Allianz for over 10 years in a variety of leadership roles, I was concerned executives at Allianz may not view me as being equipped to tackle the next set of challenges coming our way.  Completing my MBA at Carlson did exactly what I needed it to: it changed their perception of what I was capable of.”

Today, he heads a distribution and sales division that’s responsible for upwards of $4 billion in annual sales. The Carlson MBA provided the knowledge he needed to work effectively with executives in marketing, HR, and other areas of business where he lacked direct experience.

“Having the MBA experience behind me gave me the confidence to move into a role that was much broader and encompassed all of the other aspects of the business,” he says. “Beyond the academic perspective, learning alongside leaders from different industries enhanced the learning experience and really exceeded my expectations.”

Although he graduated several years ago, Walther continues to sharpen his business expertise: he frequently taps the Carlson School alumni network to learn about forthcoming trends and address challenges at work. He has connected with fellow alumni from UnitedHealth Group, Medtronic and other leading companies from the rich Twin Cities business community, and beyond.

“We’re always in a state of learning in business, and the landscape is constantly evolving. I stay connected to the school because I want to keep in touch with that outside perspective and share best practices,” says Walther.

He’s also confident he could leverage that global network to pursue new career opportunities in the future, no matter where his aspirations lead.

“Should I want to go out and pursue opportunities in the open marketplace, the global reputation of the Carlson School gives me a lot more credibility,” he says.