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JD/MBA Program Helps Student Embark on Exciting Career Even Before Graduation


Andrew WhitmanAndrew Whitman, a third year student in the JD/MBA program, credits the CBA and the JD/MBA program with opening the door to an exciting career in risk management services. 

Since May 2009, Andrew has worked for Risk International Services, Inc. (RI)in Fairlawn as a Risk Analyst helping Fortune 1000 companies manage their hazard risk and insurance programs.  Consistently rated as one of the top five independent risk management consulting firms by Business Insurance magazine, RI is a growing firm with offices in the U. S. and the U.K.

In an email to Dr. Ravi Krovi, Interim Dean of the CBA, Andrew wrote, “I never thought when I came to The University of Akron that I would be working for an international organization during my second year. Thank you for helping me obtain a fantastic education that allows me to work for such a great company.”

Born and raised in Fayetteville, Arkansas, Andrew took a circuitous route to UA and his current career.

When he was sixteen, Andrew’s family moved to Chapel Hill, NC when his father decided to pursue his MBA at Duke University. As a boy growing up, Andrew planned to also study business and get an MBA. Andrew’s desire to obtain an MBA was the catalyst to his father first finishing an undergraduate degree and then his own MBA. “As a boy I found a copy of the US News and World Report rankings. I started perusing the magazine due to my interest in MBA programs. My father passed by and felt impressed to finish his own education.”

After graduating from high school, Andrew attended Brigham Young University in Utah for one year before leaving on his full-time mission to Paris, France.   It was during his time in France that Andrew became interested in going to law school and becoming a lawyer.  When he returned to BYU, he changed his major from Zoology to History and began preparations for law school.

During his junior year at BYU, Andrew discovered that he could combine his two career interests by pursuing a JD/MBA.

“I knew that to be able to provide both the legal and business elements of a deal would be incredibly beneficial to an organization,” Andrew notes. “And, I could finish both degrees together faster than the MBA can typically be completed alone.”

He looked at several schools and finally chose The University of Akron.  “Akron presented a very attractive option because of its strong legal reputation and its long history as a legal educator,” Andrew explained. “I also liked the direction in which both the law and business programs were going.”

For Andrew, gaining admission to the joint degree program was one of the best moments during his time at UA. “It was the culmination of almost three years of work and preparation, and it was very exciting to officially be on the path towards the joint degree!”

Toward the end of his first year at UA, Andrew was talking with a member of his local church congregation and mentioned that he was pursuing a JD/MBA. The individual exclaimed, "A JD/MBA from The University of Akron, huh? That's exactly the type of person we're trying to hire at my company (RI). Do you want to come work for us this summer?" Andrew accepted on the spot.

He notes this as his second best moment in the CBA, and he hadn’t even begun to take CBA classes yet. “That Sunday I learned the value of seeking a JD/MBA at the University of Akron and began to see how powerful it would be throughout my career.”

But an even better moment was yet to come – the moment when Andrew walked into his first business class, Dr. Gary Frank's Corporate Accounting class, after a year of law school. “I felt like I had been in a foreign language immersion class for a year and was finally able to come back to my native language. It was great to finally to be in B-School!”

After working for RI during the summer of 2009, Andrew was retained as the risk manager for the company and its parent corporation. He hopes to continue working at RI during the remainder of his schooling and after graduation from the University of Akron.

“I want to continue to work with clients and to learn a whole host of new skills in this industry,” he says. “I enjoy being ethical, hard working, and honest in my dealings with my colleagues, clients, and co-workers. I want help those around me to exceed their expectations. Then, I want to help others accomplish more than I did during my career.”

During the 2010-2011 academic year, Andrew will serve as the President of the J. Reuben Clark Law Society (JRCLSand as a student Director on the Akron Law Board.  He and his wife, Sarah, have an 18 month old daughter and are expecting their second daughter in August.