08:37 AM

Keipper Creates New Future with MBA at 58

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Doug Keipper is the kind of person who’s always been driven by curiosity. From spending his high school and college summers as a boat mechanic to a longtime career in the banking industry, he’s always asked “how does it work?” His open attitude toward growth and learning has prepared him to continually take on new challenges -- including earning his MBA at 58 years old.

Improving His Job Prospects

Keipper graduated from Ball State University in May 1984 and moved away from the cold of his native Indiana to Atlanta, where his brother was living. He wasn’t able to find the kind of sales job he wanted and found himself in mortgage lending.

“At one point in my life I just needed a job,” he said. “If you ask most people in mortgage lending how they got into it, you ‘ll hear the same answer – ‘I needed a job’. Once I was in mortgage lending, I wanted to learn about banking and here I am. ‘How does that work?’ has always been my guiding light.”

He has become an expert in not only enforcing fraud and money laundering prevention, but also in providing training on the subject. However, he found one more way to move his banking career forward.

“I thought four years are going to pass whether I get my degree or not,” Keipper said. “It was getting harder and harder to find a job the older I got, and I didn’t want to be looking for a job at 60 with nothing to stand out. It took quite a bit of introspection to step up to the challenge.”

While working at Truist Bank, he learned they had a partnership with Bellevue University. “The bank I worked for had a program where I took the class, got my grade, filed my paperwork, they paid me, and then I paid Bellevue University,” he said. “It seemed like a no brainer.”

Since graduating last June, Keipper landed a new position as Vice President BSA/AML Officer at BankSouth. He has served in that role since November.

“I got a better job with a promotion and a pay raise,” he said. “I’m using the information I learned every day.”

A Better Learning Experience

For Keipper, earning his Master of Business Administration online was vastly different from his undergraduate experience. “In my undergrad, a year of accounting was my largest pitfall because it was just so boring. Reading 40 pages of an accounting textbook was equivalent to getting a root canal,” he said. “In my master’s program, we had videos that showed and explained how the concepts and principles worked, and I could replay the parts I needed so I could learn at my own pace.”

He also found the student advisors at Bellevue University helpful in succeeding on his journey. “I’m sure I wore them out making sure I had the right classes scheduled,” Keipper said. “I had an insecurity that I would get to the end and find out I was one or two classes short because I took the wrong class.” Together with his advisors, he made sure that didn’t happen.

Inspiring Others with His Story

After completing his MBA, Keipper began yet another journey -- that of an author. “I had a lot of people encouraging me along the way and they started telling me their stories,” he said. Out of this, MBA at 58 and Other Improbable Stories was born.

He’s also sharing his journey and his passion for growth mindset and perseverance in speaking engagements. As a former cheerleader and Toastmasters member since the early 2000s, it seemed the perfect fit. He’s also been teaching banking compliance classes in person and online since 2008.

With his book and his talks, he’s showing others what’s possible. “I want to encourage people to suck at something new!” Keipper joked. “Whatever roadblock, stumbling block or rejection you are experiencing, somebody has been there. Let’s get them to believe in themselves again. I graduated high school in 1980 in the 1/3 of my class that made the top 2/3 possible. At 58, I got my MBA. Whatever label you give yourself at 24, doesn’t have to be the same label you have at 34, 54 or 74.”