2022 Best & Brightest Executive MBA: Samuel R. Andrews, University of Minnesota (Carlson)

Samuel R. Andrews (Sam)

University of Minnesota, Carlson School of Management

Age: 45

“Driven and passionate leader who is motivated to make a difference in the lives of others.”

Hometown: Ham Lake, Minnesota

Family Members:
Parents: Bob & Wendy
Spouse: Amber Manke
Son: Ian Andrews (Currently serving our country in the United States Air Force – stationed in Alaska)

Fun fact about yourself: I am an epicurean who loves to share the gift of delicious meals – from charcuterie – to a four-course dry aged ribeye dinner – to hibachi on the Blackstone – there is much pleasure in watching someone try new food; nothing brings people together like a shared meal.

Undergraduate School and Degree:

University of St. Thomas – Opus College of Business: BA in Marketing Management

Command and General Staff College, School of Advanced Military Studies: Master’s Military Art and Science (Operations)

Where are you currently working? I recently retired and I’m currently working towards a second meaningful career.

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles:
Serve as a board member for Rahkma homes, Blood Donor with American Red Cross, Carlson Class Representative. I enjoy the great outdoors – traveling, fantastic food and beverages.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school?  I was the only student in finance who received a 100% on the final finance project valuation. I worked very hard to increase my understanding of accounting and finance– the final financial valuation problem was a fantastic reward for my hard work.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? Retiring after nearly 27 years of military service – my service took me to dozens of countries – developed lifelong relationships – learned about leadership – followership – and the incredible importance of US economic leadership which I look forward to contributing to during my second meaningful career.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? This is almost an impossible question to answer – our cohort had the privilege of learning from and dialoguing with so many exceptional department chairs who are leading researchers in their field of study. Professors Zellmer-Bruhn, Shah, Wilde laid the foundation in people, organizations, and leadership; Professors Redden and Rao allowed us to stand in our customers’ shoes; Professors Zaheer and Shaver grounded us in corporate strategy; Professors Bapna and Nachtsheim taught us the power of statistics and data analytics; Professor Mishra took us around the globe to understand the importance of ethical sourcing; and Professors Watson, Gigler, White, Moser reinforced the notion to manage our businesses, not the numbers, while ensuring we left with a deeper understanding of economics, GAAP, managerial accounting, and finance to ensure we could make wise investment decisions. The power of Carlson’s Executive MBA program is the incredible professors and their integration of each discipline throughout the program.

Why did you choose this school’s executive MBA program? The Carlson School of Management is committed to veteran’s growing career development, their emphasis on translating acquired military skills into the practice of business, and their access to a network of proven professionals and industries. The cohort-based class offers the best of adult learning while building lasting relationships.

What is the biggest lesson you gained during your MBA and how did you apply it at work? The operating models and team charters are an invaluable set of tools to build and maintain high performing teams. I used those tools during my last assignment in the service, where I led a diverse group of Minnesota state government assistant commissioners through a design-based process to address hospital durability.

Give us a story during your time as an executive MBA on how you were able to juggle work, family and education? When I lacked motivation, I relied on discipline. I was very deliberate in scheduling time effectively to successfully manage work-school-life. During the height of COVID-1,  which drove an increase in work requirement, I applied a disciplined approach to finishing our leadership presentation and my briefing to the Governor’s office –along with  effective communication with my spouse to manage expectations and stress. And when that event was completed, we enjoyed some quality time together over a quiet meal for two.

What advice would you give to a student looking to enter an executive MBA program? The best investment you will make in your future is investing in your education – you will find driven professional classmates and professors who want you to be successful. At the end of the program, you will find employer seeking to acquire your talent.

What is the biggest myth about going back to school? The course work is not insurmountable – it does require some dedicated time and organization. The professors and program’s executive director and her team make the experience absolutely fantastic. The class is incredibly corporative while being competitive.

What was your biggest regret in business school? I have absolutely no regrets – I studied hard, learned from my classmate’s experiences, and participated in the career center and networking activities. I am however disappointed that we couldn’t travel for our international residency.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? My class filled with exceptionally accomplished business leaders. Darrin Hubbard stands out as particularly exceptional – He is a humble professional who brings a wealth of experience, a deep understanding of people and robust conversation into the classroom.

What was the main reason you chose an executive MBA program over part-time or online alternatives?  I selected the University of Minnesota’s executive program because cohort-based program where we met twice a month, we were exposed to exceptional professors, career counselors, and staff which allowed me to maximize learning. This program allowed me to work full time while attending class with other business professionals.

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? I will always work or volunteer – I want to serve in the financial services or health care industry as a C- level operations executive so that I can make a bigger difference in my community.

What made Sam such an invaluable addition to the class of 2022?

“Sam is a one-of-a-kind student. His military training has given him the confidence to voice his opinions, but his personality allows him to hear opposing opinions without being defensive. He seems to have an unquenchable thirst for knowledge, and also an amazing sense of humor; it is a priceless combination.  He seems to be adored by classmates, and I know for a fact that he is treasured by faculty members as he has come up in conversations as a stand-out in the class. In fact, one of the professors said jokingly that he wants to adopt Sam. If all my students were like Sam, it would be more challenging but also more rewarding; he pushes us all to think more deeply about our beliefs.”

Helen Moser
Senior Lecturer in Finance Department


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