2016 Best MBAs: Samuel Edwards, Indiana

Sam Edwards Indiana

Samuel Edwards


Indiana University, Kelley School of Business

“Sam Edwards is simply an outstanding young leader…He approaches life with a tenacity and focus that’s special among MBA students. Sam demands excellence of himself and of others around him, always.”

Age: 35

Hometown: Miami, FL

Undergraduate School and Degree: North Carolina State University (BS Business Management Finance)

Where did you work before enrolling in business school? University of Miami Health System, Senior Healthcare Contracting Analyst

Where did you intern during the summer of 2015? General Mills (Associate Marketing Manager, Intern), Minneapolis Minnesota

Where will you be working after graduation? General Mills, Associate Marketing Manager

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School Chair, Alumni Relations Committee; Liaison, Consortium for Graduate Studies in Management; ABM advisor, Consumer Marketing Academy Project (General Mills client); Tutor for all MBA CORE subjects; Fellowship recipient, Consortium for Graduate Studies in Management; Allyn Curry MBA Fellowship; Patricia W. Mulholland MBA Diversity Leadership Award

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I am most proud of the Patricia W. Mulholland Diversity Leadership Award for several reasons. The first reason is that Ms. Mulholland’s legacy is a very important one for the Kelley School. She was previously the admissions director of the school. While in this capacity, she worked extremely hard to craft the best classes possible while ensuring that opportunities were available to underrepresented minorities. I am extremely honored to have my name next to hers. Secondly, and no less important, this award was voted on by my peers. My classmates saw fit to vote for me to have this award because of my efforts to give back to the community. For that I am profoundly humbled and grateful.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? The year prior to starting business school, the University of Miami Health System was embroiled in a fee-for-service managed care contract negotiation with its largest book of business. The negotiation hadn’t progressed for several months until I was able to craft a deal that financially rewarded the investments that the system made in future treatments and brought down payment rates on routine services. The result was a 7% increase in base payments for the next fiscal year, while making care more affordable for everyday services.

Who is your favorite professor? This is a tough question, because I do not have just one favorite professor. I have had many professors at Kelley that I regard highly and many professors whose in class material I will reference for years to come. However, if I were forced to name one, it would be Neil Morgan. His Marketing Strategy and Brand Asset Management courses are among the very best in-classroom experiences I have had in my MBA. I would have to say that for the work I will be doing post MBA, these courses will be in the top five of most relevant.

Favorite MBA Courses? Brand Asset Management, Marketing Strategy, Pricing, Market Based Analysis, Developing Strategic Capabilities, The Firm in the Capital Markets, Marketing Strategy Practicum (Academy Project), Foundations Core!

Why did you choose this business school? I chose Kelley for a few reasons. One is that I am a career switcher in the purest sense. I wanted to switch from the world of managed care in the US healthcare system into brand management. I knew that I would need a dedicated curriculum and intensive training to make this happen, and the Academy system at Kelley was the answer to this problem. Secondly, I hadn’t been in a classroom full time for years. I wanted to jump back in immerse myself in the relevant subjects early, and the integrated Foundations Core of the Kelley school allows for this. It also allows for the early choice of electives to tailor the MBA for your summer internship, which was important to me as well. Finally, I wanted to be in an environment that allowed me to feel at home and to be able to say I know all of my classmates and they know me. I have that in spades here at Kelley.

What did you enjoy most about business school? I enjoyed building lifelong relationships with my classmates and with students from other schools that I met along the way. From the pre-MBA journey of the GMAT and applications to classrooms, projects, homework, tailgating, Assembly Hall, Sports, and Frat Castle, I have enjoyed this entire experience and wouldn’t have it any other way! Business school is such a unique environment. I can’t say that any aspect of it was not enjoyable.

What was the most surprising thing about business school? What surprised me the most was how much of a tailored experience this process truly is. There are so many opportunities out there for top MBAs to go after. There are so many disciplines to study that one could get lost in the shuffle without clear and defined goals and objectives.

What was the hardest part of business school? This answer dovetails with the previous one. For me, hands down, the hardest part of business school was the fear of missing out. I think all MBAs deal with this fear to some degree, whether it is fear of not going down a certain career path, or of not taking advantage of this opportunity or another. I think being very clear about your objective and what you want to accomplish is the only thing that alleviates this, and the Me, Inc. curriculum at Kelley seeks to provide us with this clarity early. It has certainly helped me get through this fear.

What’s your best advice to an applicant to your school? My best advice to students applying to Kelley is to know that your application will be viewed as a narrative. So be very clear about what your story is and how the story should end. Additionally, all applicants have a set of skills and experiences that are unique. The applicant’s task is to tell the story of how their skills, experiences, and background along with an MBA from Kelley will allow them to do X or Y. It is also critical to show how this program and its culture is the best fit for you and your goals.

I knew I wanted to go to business school when…I was sitting in a meeting with senior leaders of the University of Miami Health System discussing plans to react to the Affordable Care Act and I realized that 1) I was the only person in the room without an MBA and 2) that although I enjoyed the strategy generation exercise that was going on, I wasn’t 100% fulfilled in the job; I wanted more.”

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…sitting on the beach in Miami Florida ideating on ways to make consumers of healthcare services more informed of price and outcomes of their chosen providers.”

What are your long-term professional goals? I am very passionate about solving problems for consumers and building lasting businesses. This is why a career in brand management is so appealing to me. Long term, I hope to marry the two together to alleviate pain points for consumers in a profitable manner.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? I would like to thank my family, friends, and coworkers, more specifically, Elizabeth Baker, William Bartlett, Julie Rowell, and my parents. At different times in my journey, I did not think I was going to get to this point. Each person in their own way encouraged me to do this and believed in me. For that alone, I thank them.

Fun fact about yourself: When I was an infant, my family and I were taking a road trip when we got into a horrific car accident. An eighteen wheeler truck crashed into us from behind. The spot in the car where my car seat was buckled in was completely smashed in; the great news for me was that I was not in my car seat. Apparently my sister, Sondra, decided to take me out of my car seat to play with me, against my parent’s instructions. If it weren’t for that act, I would not be here. So thanks sis!

Favorite book: The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

Favorite movie: Inception

Favorite musical performer: Kanye West

Favorite television show: Game of Thrones

Favorite vacation spot: Barcelona, Spain

Hobbies? Playing golf badly, riding a Harley, reading a good book

What made Sam such an invaluable addition to the class of 2016?

“Sam Edwards is simply an outstanding young leader, and I could not be more proud of him as a Kelley MBA. He approaches life with a tenacity and focus that’s special among MBA students. Sam demands excellence of himself and of others around him, always. What I loved most about working with Sam was his willingness to hear tough feedback and grow – maybe after displaying a little bit of that tenacity first!  Sam was fearless in how he chose to approach business problems, leaning-in to find creative solutions, and displaying ownership to make the execution happen. Sam’s passion and commitment show every day through his Graduate Assistant work with fellow MBA Consortium students – making everyone around him better than they were before. I know Sam will be a leader in the world of consumer marketing, or whatever else he chooses to do, for years to come!” — Ray Luther, Executive Director, MBA Program, Indiana University, Kelley School of Business


Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.