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Michele Ansbacher ’80

Training program launches 34-year career, and instills commitment to alma mater for the retired leader at Prudential.

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Michele Ansbacher ’80 was trying to decide between law school and a full-time MBA program when a chance conversation with a Prudential executive during her graduation ceremony changed her course.

“He gave me his card and said, ‘You should come work for Prudential, and we’ll pay for you to get your MBA at night,’” she recalls.

She did and ended up staying 34 years.

Since her retirement in 2014, Ansbacher, who graduated in 1980 with a BA in economics and political science, has been focused on giving back to the university she credits with helping her launch her career and meet her husband, Keith.

Intrigued by the Prudential executive’s pitch, Ansbacher applied for the company’s prestigious Management Training Program, a challenging three-year program that provided a fast track to management. Ansbacher rotated every six months to different jobs in varied departments, then was evaluated for how much impact she’d made during her time.

“You had to hit the ground running, make an impact quickly,” she says. “It really taught me to adapt quickly and that your success is up to you.”

Looking back, Ansbacher says her experience at Montclair State provided important training for success. As a member of student government, she worked closely with University administration, serving on search committees and managing meetings.

“I got to see how things were run,” she says. “It really gave me a chance to hone my leadership skills.”

Ansbacher’s career at Prudential navigated numerous roles, enabling her to gain experience grappling with a variety of business challenges.

“I was moved around as someone who was a problem-solver and could transform things,” she says.

From 2009-2012, Ansbacher served as the Chief Ethics Officer for Prudential’s global operations. Her last role with the company was running its East Coast operations for Prudential Advisors.

Since 2015, Ansbacher has served as an adjunct professor at the Feliciano School of Business, most recently teaching an MBA course on business leadership perspectives. She also serves as Executive-in-Residence, available to mentor students or faculty grappling with business issues.

A longtime member of the Advisory Board for the business school, Ansbacher took the reins as board chair in spring 2017.

Ansbacher and her husband are committed donors to the University. The couple, who met as students at Montclair State, dedicated a five-year gift to the Feliciano School of Business, represented by the Michele and Keith Ansbacher Conference Room.

“I had fabulous professors who were mentors, and great engagement with the dean and other administrators during my time at Montclair State,” Ansbacher says. “They believed in me, propelled me and gave me great opportunities. For me it’s an honor to give back.”

— Suzanne Marta