Van Amber Named 2017 Outstanding Graduate

Posted: August 2nd, 2017

Alan Van AmberThe University of Wisconsin MBA Consortium has named Alan Van Amber as the recipient of the 2017 Outstanding Graduate award. Van Amber, who graduated in Fall 2016, was selected from a pool of students who graduated between Summer 2016 and Spring 2017.

Prior to his professional career, Van Amber earned his Bachelor of Pharmacy degree from the University of Minnesota in 1984. Since then he has been working in the pharmaceutical field, focusing on the pharmaceutical benefits management area for the past 20 years. He currently works on the executive team at Navitus Health Solutions as the vice president for provider services. When asked what he plans to do with his MBA, Van Amber said, “My immediate plans for use of the MBA are to increase mentoring activities of individuals within my organization to assist them in achieving their own personal and organizational goals, as well as expand my own influences within the organization.”

While a student in the UW MBA Consortium program, Van Amber worked with faculty from all four partner campuses. In their nominations they described Van Amber as a hard working student who was a great mentor to the younger students beginning their professional careers.

Suresh Chalasani, Professor of Management Information Systems at UW-Parkside, nominated Van Amber because of his “consistently exceptional work in every aspect of the course.”

"Alan had a wealth of experience and had the ability to share that experience with other students via discussions and posts without seeming arrogant or a know-it-all,” said Steve Castleberry, Adjunct Professor of Marketing for the UW MBA Consortium. “He responded well to comments from other students and excelled in his written paper.”

As a self-described introvert, Van Amber enjoyed many aspects of the program, especially the discussion activities. He said, “The organization of the activities, especially discussion forums, allowed me to actively engage and debate topics with my fellow students and professors without feeling intimidated. My confidence grew with each course. I was able to think deeply about many topics while engaged in the respective discussions. This, in turn, allowed me to become more confident in my work environment. As a result, I believe I provide significantly more valuable input with my colleagues.”

While the average UW MBA Consortium student brings about eight years of work experience when they begin the program, Van Amber brings four times the experience with 33 years on his resume. Van Amber had been considering an MBA for quite some time but found excuses to postpone his return to higher education. In hindsight, he wishes he had not waited. “For prospective students that have been in the work force for some period or have families, I suggest you jump right in. Do not wait!” said Van Amber. He explained that he wasn’t sure if he could do the work having been out of college for over 25 years and was concerned about balancing work, school, and family. “I discovered that I was wrong. I was not too old. I was able to do the work at the expected graduate level. In fact, I absolutely loved the learning and personal growth process.”

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