Claire '16 MBA and Ryan Anderson '16 MBA
Question: What do a sausage and green pepper pizza, an engagement, two St. Ambrose H.L. McLaughlin Master of Business Administration degrees, and a destination wedding all have in common?
Answer: Claire (Christal) '16 MBA and Ryan Anderson '16 MBA.
That's a mix that might not work for everyone, but the Andersons found it fit their relationship just so.
In fact, Claire would recommend the joint pursuit of an SAU MBA to any newly engaged couple. (Green peppers on the pizza are optional, of course.)
"If you're engaged and you're both contemplating getting your MBA, do not be worried about whether you can handle it," she said. "It was a great experience and there is not a better time. When you're planning a wedding, you already need to get into that mindset of ‘we need to plan, organize and get stuff done.'
"Going through school takes that same mindset. You might as well take advantage of it." While there's no doubt people who earn a St. Ambrose MBA are the kind of folks who "get stuff done," it is possible Mr. and Mrs. Anderson are the rare exception on the wedding-planning-at-the-same-time front.
"Maybe," Claire replied with a laugh. "We're kind of unstoppable together."
The couple began dating shortly after Claire earned her undergraduate degree and was working as a waitress at Harris Pizza in Rock Island, Illinois. Ryan stopped in for a bite with some fellow coaches from nearby Alleman High School. The service must have been excellent. He returned two weeks later to ask her for a date.
Beginning in the fall of 2014, the working couple made a weekly date of attending evening MBA classes together under SAU's work-friendly accelerated format. Ryan proposed a year later and their wedding planning became accelerated as well.
"We took every class together," Ryan said. "It was very nice to have a partner and obviously a close friend to go through the program with. We pushed each other to be the best and that showed. We finished on time and we finished with very good grades, and then went and had an awesome wedding just a month or so later. It was a perfect and very happy time in our lives."
The Andersons will pursue their future with the level of confidence that a great partner and a St. Ambrose MBA degree both inspire.
Ryan recently moved into the role Financial Advisor for Modern Woodmen of America, where a number of his associates and supervisors also own SAU MBAs. Claire is putting her advanced education into practice as a senior program manager for Group O, a national business process-outsourcing firm based in Milan, Illinois.
"People do appreciate the value you bring to your organization through the MBA program," Claire said. "The results are still coming."