Heather Hambrick was going towards pre-med and pre-law while she was in college. As a student, she got hired as a pharmacy technician and found that she was the go-to person for insurance billing. A friend working for a pharmacy benefit manager (a company that processes and pays prescription claims and negotiates discounts at pharmacies on behalf of customers such as insurance companies and major employers) recommended that she apply for a position working as a customer service representative.
“I started out in customer service but wanted to learn more,” said Hambrick, who then transferred to the mail-order prescription service department and worked as a client advocate. There she managed issues that came up regarding coverage of medications and enrollees.
She graduated cum laude with a Bachelor’s Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Texas at Dallas.
Later, she was promoted to setting up benefit packages for companies and began traveling to meet clients. While in this role, she saw the need for more education and pursued a Master’s Degree in Business administration with a focus in health care management.
“This taught me fundamental business concepts, like how to read an annual report and the financial side of business. This helped round out my work experience and my education,” said Hambrick, who opted for online education through the University of Phoenix so she could continue the heavy travel demands of her job.
“In regards to online education, it was hard work. People have made comments like ‘You didn’t go to a real university,’ but the work I did was very real to me and it was a viable option for my work schedule,” said Hambrick.
“Because of the knowledge I earned in getting my masters degree, I gained the confidence to pursue a director’s position and now I am a vice president, handling major clients’ needs regarding Medicare,” said Hambrick.
When it comes to going back to school, Hambrick said, “Look for the best program that fits your life and your interests. If you don’t have a passion for what you are going to pursue, it will be hard to finish. Pursue something new, but think about what you want to do ahead of time. Do your homework.”
Robin D. Everson is a native Chicagoan who resides in Dallas, Texas. Her appreciation for art, food, wine, people and places has helped her become a well-respected journalist. A life-long lover of education, Robin seeks to learn and enlighten others about culture. You can find her work at Examiner.com