Alumni Spotlight: Andrew Romerdahl, MBA '08
by Kathleen McCoy |
Andrew Romerdahl has always been geared toward numbers, but he can compute in other ways than just on a calculator. For example, he offers good, logical advice for young college students. He says, "You get out of what you put into it. You can just do your homework and leave, it's set up like that for those who must do it that way because they have too much else going on. But it's all personal, the more you try to immerse yourself in the environment, the more you will get from the college experience. You just have to keep your eyes open for opportunities."
While growing up in Anchorage, Andrew participated in UAA's percussion ensemble while
in middle school and took some accounting classes at UAA while still attending East
High School. But like any kid, he felt restless to get out of his hometown and see
another part of the world. So he went to college Outside, satisfying that wanderlust
and as he says, "enjoying the best of both worlds by spending summers here in Alaska."
He took his first job as a loan officer in Portland, Oregon, after graduating from Willamette University with an Economics and Spanish degree. But after that fifth year away from Alaska, he realized he missed home. So he moved back to Anchorage with his 'plus one' to work for his father's real estate firm.
Andrew met his wife, Carmen, on the first day of school at Willamette where they became and stayed friends until the summer after graduation when their solid friendship grew into something more. They added one more to the Romerdahl family 10 months ago with the birth of their little girl, Chloe.
Living back in Anchorage, he noticed that UAA had grown, too. "I can see now how UAA has become a strong option for people, both for financial as well as many other reasons." After weighing his options for master's degree programs both locally and in the Lower 48, he enrolled in UAA's MBA program.
"The MBA program is totally geared toward people that are working, which is great. You can also learn a lot from your fellow classmates - different information than you get from your professors. The group projects provide real world experience because everyone has a busy schedule but has to work as a team, just like in the workplace. It was tough. I look back and wonder how I did it with going to both school and work full time. I had a lot on my plate."
Andrew has been working as a commercial real estate appraiser for the past three years. He recently became a state certified general real estate appraiser, and is currently pursuing his MAI designation. That will be another challenge consisting of an hours-long comprehensive exam and demonstration report which is not unlike a master's thesis. However, once he achieves that status, it is a designator that allows him to 'write his own ticket' in a sense. It is a skill in high demand all over the country.
Even with all that he has going on with work, family and skills development, Andrew finds time to share with UAA. He is on a team of three other UAA alumni who have started an MBA club. He is vice president and treasurer of the new organization and says the others are all very organized and energetic. The first club event at a local sushi restaurant had about 30 people show up.
"The MBA club will be an excellent network, reaching into many different fields and hopefully will be a big draw for people to the program, knowing going in that they can have an in with the who's who of the business community."