2019 Best EMBAs: Amanda Richie, University of Michigan (Ross)

Amanda Richie

University of Michigan, Ross School of Business


Age: 45

Hometown: Bloomfield Hills, MI

Family Members: Chance Richie, Jack (Christides), Max (Christides), Sasha (Richie), Emma (Christides) and Jordan (Richie)

Fun fact about yourself: I love to collect pre-1900 cookbooks.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Albion College, Mathematics

Where are you currently working? Plymouth Technology (CEO), and Mobiliti (CMO)

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles: Teach for America advocate, Women Impacting Public Policy member, Association of Water Technologists Charity Board Member

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I am most proud of our ExecMap project for a Midwest Fund of Funds on behalf of the Brookings Institution and the Chicago Council on Global Affairs

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I am most proud of managing through the economic recession in Detroit. During that time, my employees contributed time and talent while enduring reduced hours and pay. Following the return to profit, I am most proud that I rewarded them by paying them any missed compensation to make them all whole for the year.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? MP Naranyan because he demanded intellectual rigor in the classroom and supported our growth by always challenging students in a respectful manner.

What was your favorite MBA course and what was the biggest insight you gained about business from it? EMBA 602 Capital Allocation & Valuation. The biggest insight was a method for aligning executive compensation incentives with long term shareholder value creation using the principles of calculated Economic Value Addition.

Why did you choose this executive MBA program? Michigan’s Model of Leadership was ideal for founding and growing multiple entrepreneurial endeavors and for my future goal of helping to support the success of the next generation of female entrepreneurs.

What did you enjoy most about business school in general? The fast-paced development of high-performance teams taught me how to assess strengths quickly and align teams with the goals of the project.

What is the biggest lesson you gained during your MBA and how did you apply it at work? Nothing matters more than talent. I am implementing a talent mapping and management strategy at all of my businesses in order to support their organizational goals.

Give us a story during your time as an executive MBA on how you were able to juggle work, family, and education? For background, I started the program while having 5 teenage children, and 3 businesses that required time and attention. The days leading up to Thanksgiving were a challenge when I realized that I had a very challenging workload and a full residency that would overlap with the Saturday family celebration that was our tradition. Juggling was a challenge and I asked my children to take on a significant role in preparing for hosting the holiday. To my delight, they were all so supportive of my request and a new tradition was born that carried on in the second year of the program and will survive long after completion. As a parent and an employer, I appreciated that people will support you in so many ways if you are wise enough to let them.

What advice would you give to a student looking to enter an executive MBA program? Set a schedule for when you will study weekly and stick to it as much as possible! Saturday and/or Sunday morning seems like an ideal time for personal study and leaves weeknights for team meetings.

What is the biggest myth about going back to school? I think that people really believe that they will not be as qualified as others in the program and that they will struggle with the math. I found that while there were certainly people more qualified in any one area, everyone has areas in which they excel more easily and areas where they struggle.

What was your biggest regret in business school? That I did not spend time summarizing every class after each residency to create a playbook as we went along.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? I most admire Monica Lee-Griffith because she endured an unimaginable tragedy when she lost her darling husband in the first year of the program. With a young daughter at home and a challenging medical career, Monica had every excuse to abandon her EMBA; she didn’t. Her determination, kind spirit and intelligence is a true inspiration to everyone in our cohort.

“I knew I wanted to go to business school when…I was assisting with negotiating the sale of my husband’s company to a large private equity group and I was the only person in the room without an MBA. I realized that I lacked some foundational knowledge to contribute in the most impactful manner.”

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? To assist female entrepreneurs in navigating the growth of their businesses as they navigate all of the unique challenges of being a female owner including maternity, motherhood, capital raising and many more.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? I would like them to remember me for my commitment to helping them succeed in any way possible.

What are the top two items on your bucket list? My list is long and I try to set new “bucket list items annually.” This year I will get my pilots license and climb Mt. Kilimanjaro.

What made Amanda such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2019?

“It was clear from the beginning that Amanda Richie was the type of person who would thrive in a rigorous and competitive Executive MBA program like Ross. As a serial entrepreneur and marketing guru, she has founded three successful businesses, received two patents, and won multiple Innovator of the Year awards. While founding her companies, Amanda also worked for her family’s business where she advanced through sales and operations roles to President/COO before taking on her current role as CEO. She has achieved success through innovative business leadership in enterprise-wide operations, and extracted value that has positively impacted bottom line growth in her startups and corporate settings across many diverse industries.

While at Ross, Amanda has excelled academically and she is very well respected by her teammates, faculty, and staff for her incredible work ethic, leadership, approachable style, and endless thirst for new knowledge. She motivates others around her to be their best selves by her drive for success.”

Kimberli Cumming

Managing Director of the Executive MBA Program


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