Graduate Programs

Blogs from students, faculty & staff

Hello everyone, and welcome back to another week of the Graduate Student Spotlight! This week, we highlight MBA student Jennifer Phillips! Jennifer is a former small business owner with plans for self-employment again in the future, while currently she works as an Administrative Assistant here at UM-Flint! To enhance her understanding of business principles, she returned to school for her MBA, and has greatly appreciated what she has learned in her classes. She particularly enjoyed the advice given for running a balanced business in her Intro to Entrepreneurship class with Professor Mark Simon. She anticipates using what she has learned in her next business venture, and is a strong advocate for having a strong work/life balance. Thank you for participating, Jennifer! She had a lot to say for our usual questions, which we’re all too happy to hear! Here’s what 

What’s Your Favorite Part of Your Graduate Program?

For me, the NetPlus Friday/Saturday residencies were my favorite and most memorable part for networking. The on-campus two-day residencies gave me an opportunity to meet my classmates and professors face-to-face, while only sacrificing two weekends with family per semester. A few students traveled a long distance to attend the residencies, and stayed overnight at very affordable rates upstairs in the Riverfront Center dorm space. Talk about convenience! This arrangement not only provided better networking opportunities for MBA students but was also good for downtown Flint businesses.

Unfortunately, in the second semester of my MBA program in winter 2020 we transitioned to fully remote learning due to the pandemic. Employed full-time and raising a family, I have chosen to take just one class per semester. This means that the program is taking four years to complete – an option that provides work-life balance. While I have continued to make connections with classmates through zoom sessions over the past few years, my strongest bonds were made between the members of my teams in those first two NetPlus classes. 

Online learning is definitely convenient and for many it is the only feasible option. But I am happy to see that the face-to-face option has returned at UM-Flint, while also providing fully-remote learning for those who need or desire it.

What’s Been Your Favorite Class?

It is tough to say which class has been my favorite. In grad school, all the classes you take are of interest. I will say that my courses have been enlightening, current, challenging, and rewarding. If you ask which professor was my favorite, I would not be able to name just one. Semester after semester I added a new favorite to my list of wonderful MBA professors who are skilled in their fields, and talented in transferring that knowledge to students.

This spring I will be studying abroad in INB 580 Design Thinking in Japan. I am extremely excited for this opportunity to learn about and experience Japan, Japanese

business, and Japanese culture. I anticipate that INB 580 may become my new favorite class.

What’s Your Favorite Part of Campus?

In addition to being a student here, I have been employed by UM-Flint for the past twelve years. My favorite part is enjoying the safety and beauty of the campus. We have the best Department of Safety and I appreciate that I can go for a walk to get some fresh air and exercise on breaks and during lunch, and feel safe. UM-Flint is big enough to be able to get out and enjoy nature, yet small enough to feel friendly and inviting. 

Any Advice for Other Students?

My advice to other graduate students is to take it one day at a time. Surround yourself with a good support system and push on.

I will finish my four years in August 2023 after completing two final classes. When I started the MBA program nearly four years ago I worried about how long it would take and how much older I’d be at the time I graduated. A friend advised, “You’re going to be older regardless. You might as well invest in you. The years will go by quickly!” – and they have.