Graduate Programs

Blogs from students, faculty & staff

Graduate school can be a transformative journey, filled with challenges and opportunities for growth. In this blog post, we delve into the experiences and insights of Rehan Kodil, a Master of Business Administration (MBA) student specializing in Organizational Leadership at the University of Michigan Flint. Through Rehan’s journey, we’ll explore the reasons for pursuing graduate education, the choice of concentration, adapting to the demands of graduate school, and valuable tips for success.

Choosing Graduate School

After completing his undergraduate degree in 2013, Rehan gained work experience at Morgan Stanley, fostering a desire for further education. However, the decision to pursue graduate school was delayed due to personal and professional commitments. It wasn’t until 2021, during the challenges of the pandemic, that Rehan committed to his educational aspirations, particularly drawn to the business program at the University of Michigan Flint. Rehan’s determination to advance his career and personal growth serves as a testament to the importance of recognizing the right timing and aligning one’s passions with further education.

Choosing a Concentration

Rehan’s decision to specialize in organizational leadership was influenced by his professional experiences. His realization that his interests lay with human resources and leadership, as opposed to his previous stint in finance at Morgan Stanley, sheds light on the significance of self-awareness and aligning educational pursuits with one’s strengths and passions. This exemplifies the value of choosing a concentration that resonates with personal aspirations and professional goals.

Adapting to Graduate School

Transitioning to graduate school after years in the workforce can be daunting. Rehan encountered challenges in adapting to a new learning environment, but found support from faculty, academic advisors, and peers. His journey showcases the importance of resilience, adjusting study habits, and embracing the guidance and resources provided by the academic community.

Involvement in Campus Life

Rehan’s involvement in student government underscores the value of engaging in campus activities beyond academic pursuits. This involvement exposed him to real-world scenarios, honing his negotiation, communication, and leadership skills. By stepping out of his comfort zone, he was able to apply these experiences to his studies, enhancing his overall educational journey.

Preparing for the Future

In addition to academic knowledge, Rehan underscores the importance of developing practical skills that will differentiate him in his career journey. Through projects, case studies, and real-world applications, Rehan cites the development of communication, negotiation, and problem-solving skills as crucial takeaways from his program. These skills are instrumental in preparing for the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead in his professional life.

Tips for Success

Based on his experiences, Rehan offers valuable tips for those considering or currently in graduate school. These include the importance of self-awareness in choosing a field of study, maintaining a work-life balance, establishing connections with mentors and academic advisors, and proactive engagement with career development resources. Rehan’s tips offer actionable insights for navigating the demands of a graduate program while maximizing learning and networking opportunities.


Rehan’s journey through graduate school provides a firsthand account of the challenges and triumphs that many students encounter. His insights underscore the value of determination, adaptability, and the pursuit of personal and professional growth. Through his experiences, Rehan’s tips serve as a guiding light for prospective and current graduate students, navigating the path to success in their educational and professional endeavors.

In conclusion, Rehan’s journey through graduate school provides a firsthand account of the challenges and triumphs that many students encounter. His insights underscore the value of determination, adaptability, and the pursuit of personal and professional growth. Through his experiences, Rehan’s tips serve as a guiding light for prospective and current graduate students, navigating the path to success in their educational and professional endeavors.


Dr. Christopher Lewis [00:00:01]:
Welcome to the Victor’s in Grad School, where we have conversations with students, alumni, and experts about what it takes to find success in graduate school.

Dr. Christopher Lewis [00:00:11]:
Welcome back to Victor’s in Grad School. I’m your host, doctor Jennifer Lewis, director of graduate programs at the University of Michigan Flint. Really excited to have you back again this week. Every week, I love being able to sit down, talk to you, to be able to walk with you along this path that you’re on because I know that You are on a journey. You’re on a journey. You’re whether you’re at the very beginning and you’re just starting to think about graduate school or You’re a little bit further down the road. Maybe you’ve applied and you’re waiting to hear back if whether you got accepted or you’re in a graduate program And you’re working through and you’re taking your classes and maybe that light at the end of the tunnel is getting a little bit closer. But I love being able to be on this journey with you talk to you to help you to think about the things that are going to help you to find success Sooner.

Dr. Christopher Lewis [00:01:03]:
That’s what this podcast is all about. It’s all about helping you to find success in this graduate school journey no matter What type of graduate school journey you’re on? We talk to students that are in business programs, law school, med school. We’ve talked to people that are studying computer science or are working in the field in many different areas, their PhDs or their PTs. Lots of different people with lots of different journeys, but the common thread is that all of them have gone before you or are going through it at the same time with you and are here to help you along that path. Today, we’ve got another great guest with us. Rehan Codill is with us, and Rehan is a master of business administration student studying organizational leadership at the University of Michigan Flint. I’m really excited to have him here for him to share his journey with you and to have him on the show. Rehan, thanks so much for being here.

Rehan Kodil [00:02:03]:
Thank you, It’s my pleasure.

Dr. Christopher Lewis [00:02:05]:
It’s my pleasure having you here today too. Thank you for being here. One of the first things that I always love to do is be able to Turn the clock back in time because I think it’s always important to understand where you were and where you are now. So somewhere along the journey, You you did your undergraduate work, and somewhere along the journey, you made a decision that you wanted to go to graduate school. What were the reasons that Made you choose that you wanted to go to graduate school.

Rehan Kodil [00:02:30]:
So I completed my undergrad in, like, back in 2013. And right after that, I started from Morgan Stanley because I wanted to get some experience before doing my postgrad. And the plan has been there, on my mind since a long time. But I think once you start working, you know, you get into the rhythm of that, and then you don’t wanna come back to study. But I was like, no. I said to myself Okay. I’ve got enough experience, and the only regret that I have is that I should have done this much earlier when I was a bit more younger. But then what happened is school COVID happened, and the borders were shot.

Rehan Kodil [00:03:02]:
And so because of a lot of other personal things as credit card did it. But, In the year 2021, I made a decision that, you know, this year, I want to, like, really focus on this, And I applied to a lot of other universities. The University of Michigan is what attracted me the the business program that I’m currently in. I then And you even got in touch with a lot of, alum and a lot of current students who were there, in the graduate program. And all those things are are like what they said and then what I when When I did my own research, it it attracted to me. It was, and that’s how I decided that I wanna do this course. And I think that, University of Michigan being a big brand, it, like, holds a lot of value, and there is and more than just academics also, there is, like, There are so many things to look forward to. Like, even we have our job opportunities, career fairs, and, so many people, like, get to help the students.

Rehan Kodil [00:03:56]:
So it’s been, like, 2022, I came here, and I see a drastic change in myself. My approach was studying a subject like how it was many years back during my undergrad is different. The approach of the faculty, the The professors, teachers, all have been very helpful. And, also, like, the certain subject that I’m doing, the course also helps I’ll definitely, like, enhance and develop my personality more because certain subjects we have that we have to negotiate, with people and get to know other people. So it makes We get out of my comfort zone. I am very happy that I chose this program and the major organization, leadership. So yep.

Dr. Christopher Lewis [00:04:35]:
So you’re in a program that has many different concentration areas. You chose organizational leadership. Why did you choose organizational leadership versus Other concentrations? What was it about that concentration that made you say this is the right one for me?

Rehan Kodil [00:04:49]:
So I, as I said earlier, like, I I started up at Morgan Stanley in finance. And, what what I realized that I wasn’t really enjoying finance. And but at the same time, I was Trying to discover, like, what I’m really good at, what I really enjoy, and that was, like, something to do with organization leadership, which is also known as, human resources. And, so of all the other considerations that I went to, I what what attracted me the most was, the MBA in organization leadership. When I when I went through the subjects and, the main concentration subject, I like besides the prerequisites and all that, and when I graduate, I I realized that, okay, this is something that I really enjoy. This is something that I wanna pursue and continue Other rather than, you know, doing it in finance or any other, concentration that I don’t. So, you human, organization leadership is what attracted me because I see myself, as a future leader, in in an I believe that I have those, qualities as, as well. Not not just because of, the studies, and the subject that I’m learning, but also I I am part of student government also as a director.

Rehan Kodil [00:06:01]:
So I am already, like, Using, in it’s in, like, beside not just in academy, but also in the practical experience that I have. So yep.

Dr. Christopher Lewis [00:06:11]:
Now I know that You have been able to find success in this graduate school journey. You’ve been able to move forward. You’re continuing to move forward, working toward your graduation coming up In the near future, as you transitioned into graduate school And you think back to that right now, what did you have to do to find what did you have to do to set yourself up for success? And as you went through graduate school, what did you have to do to maintain your success throughout this entire graduate school journey?

Rehan Kodil [00:06:45]:
So one of the things was that I completely had to change my approach, towards studying. Like, how, like, Couple of years back, I I wasn’t that serious. You know, like, during my undergrad and all. So and I never really get time to study. So That is something that I I changed my approach also, like and one other the the most difficult thing was that getting time to study after working, after working so much. But I had that fear, but once I started studying okay. Initially, the couple of weeks was difficult, but then once the professors And the faculty was so helpful, and that they made you feel, like, comfortable. Okay.

Rehan Kodil [00:07:22]:
You know what? Relax. It’s you know, there are it’s not just you. There are many others like you also coming to study after a long time. So what I would say that the transition was a bit difficult, but I saw the the faculty and The subjects also that I studied being so interesting and so many resources that help offered by the university, like for my leadership programs, also The academic adviser that I have was, like, more than an academic adviser, they were like a mentor, a friend. All those people, like, they helped me, and They made that transition, which and I really felt, but in in the early stage, which is natural world typical. They made it easy. So now it’s like now when I look back, I’m like, I was really worried about that, so that’s how it is now. I feel more confident now.

Rehan Kodil [00:08:04]:
Of course. So, yes, the transition was difficult, but I didn’t panic. I prepared myself I said that I’m here for this particular reason, and I should change my approach and my attitude. And I always dedicate, like, The weekends to my study, like because I don’t work on weekend. And sometimes even, like, during the day, when I get done early with work, when I have nothing much to do, I always I make sure that I’m Spending some time, like, on my own study, whether it’s completing an assignment or doing some research or just learning more about the stuff.

Dr. Christopher Lewis [00:08:33]:
Now I know that you’ve also gotten very involved on campus, getting involved with student life and student government, and not every graduate student chooses to do that. What What have you found in getting involved in this way? How has that helped you to be able to find success in the studies And in the program that you’re in.

Rehan Kodil [00:08:56]:
That was something that I really thought about that. There are no graduate students in this, that. Will I be able to, like, manage so many things over? Because sometimes it can be too much, and it and sometimes it does feel like that also, like previously. But I thought that, You know, just coming here for academics and not getting to know your peers, your colleagues, or the other People important people like yourself that are there in the university, the senior people also. So that is why I said that it is important to join, like, such an organization like student government, where you you make your connections also and get to know people and get to know, like, what is happening at the in the university and how is it helping in my studies. So, like, for example, I can I I’ll give you an example? We have many meetings and brainstorming sessions with our colleagues in school and government. Sometimes there may there may be an argument that you have to disconnect me or to someone else. So it is teaching you a lot, And it is preparing you also for the real world in a way.

Rehan Kodil [00:09:52]:
Like, okay. This may be a scenario when you go into the real world tomorrow. So how are you gonna deal with it? And how I applied this into my studies is, like, for example, I have a subject called negotiation, where we have to negotiate with another person. It was part of our exercise. And for me, that went very well because I’m used to these negotiations and all in the work that I do in student government, whether it is to something over there. It is definitely just listening to someone else’s idea or proposal. So what what it taught me, it has been with so many people. It taught me, like, how to deal with How to deal with things and not be, you know, just getting angry or it taught me, like, how to be more calmer and be a good listener.

Rehan Kodil [00:10:30]:
So that’s one of the things that I learned there government that I use that I use in the in my academics, like, in that certain subject, that is negotiation management. So that is how it has helped me. And Other than that, I always make sure that I find time to balance everything. If I feel that, okay, that something is getting too much, I always Reach out to my colleagues in school government and say that, hey. My I have my academic skills. I need to focus on that. I won’t be able to attend this meeting, That meeting, I will be able to do this project. And I say it in advance, not like last moment.

Rehan Kodil [00:11:00]:
They have been pretty good. You know? They they understand that nobody forces anyone do any tool. But that being said, I also believe that when you’re part of this organization and I know that everyone has different personalities, but I feel that It is important for you to, like, get out of your comfort zone and join any organization. It doesn’t have to be student government, but do something, like for The campus do something, like, for your other colleagues, maybe, like, other internationals who are coming and who may need help or who may not have that personality that you have. So, you you can become an inspiration for them. Like, okay. Hey. Listen.

Rehan Kodil [00:11:32]:
You can study, and you can do these things as well as long as you’re able to balance out

Dr. Christopher Lewis [00:11:38]:
Now you’re getting closer to the end of your program. And along with what you’re learning inside of the class, you’re also learning other Skills are the things that are going to help you to prepare you for the next step in your career. Talk to me about that, and what have you found that the program has helped you to do that is going to help you stand apart from others as you’re looking at your next step in your career.

Rehan Kodil [00:12:03]:
I think the very fact that this Program is, like, is teaching us and is giving us a a lot of practical experience. Like, for example, it is not just, okay, come do your assignments. Just submitted. Give you an example of what this program is making me do is it is making me getting out of my comfort zone. We have projects and all Case studies and all that we have to work with. Sometimes it can be, like, a bit difficult. It can be challenging because we might not like everybody certain people might not cooperate, but that is the very thing of this. That is it’s teaching you to get along with who are tough, who are very difficult to negotiate You have to, like, find strike.

Rehan Kodil [00:12:37]:
You have to, like, sit down, negotiate with them, and find a way out. So and I have projects in many of the subjects that, I have done so far. And now even in this winter semester, I have and I look forward to all of them. Some in the past have been challenging, but I confidently, like, with the help of the others, we overcame that. So the skills that it is giving me before I head out Outside like, the real world is that it’s giving me, of course, communication skills, negotiation skills also. Like, it is teaching me how to be patient rather than, you know, being a hothead and just Losing my school is teaching me how to be patient, how to be more to be able to become a good listener and observer, come to a solution in a Am I capable here rather than, like, fighting or doing something, like, that you shouldn’t be doing. And besides that, like, also, it has given me a lot of confidence, Which I particularly didn’t have in the past because in my undergrad, we didn’t have, like, such such classes that I’m having now. It was just, like, If you are exams, let’s go do a project.

Rehan Kodil [00:13:33]:
Not much research at all. So what this has made me do is, of course, it was challenging, and it is challenging, but There are a lot of positives. It is preparing me for it is making me better, boosting my confidence, making me communicate with people even though, like, It is even though it has been difficult, it’s because I’m a shy person. So it is helping me become I think it’ll bring my confidence making me get out of my comfort zone. So they’re making me improve my communication skills because it is a mandate of this program that you have to, do projects and all case studies and all those things. So it it has it it has helped helped me a lot. And I think what will make me standout is the the very fact that the the skills that I learned, whether it be a communication skill or, how to approach a certain situation, Like, without so to have a debate, but in a peaceful way, not like create a scene or something just to be more patient. And also the fact that It has increased my knowledge in a lot of other subjects that I previously didn’t know even from the ones that I have studied before because There are so many new things, so many additional new things.

Rehan Kodil [00:14:41]:
Some things that were taught back then in my undergrad are different from how it is here, a a different approach, The approach of my colleagues, the other students, the approach of the professors. So all those things, I take it as a learn besides just getting us a degree and a certificate. So I think all those I consider key takeaways that will make me stand out with this degree.

Dr. Christopher Lewis [00:15:01]:
Now as you consider the end of your graduate degree And as it’s education that you have been having thus far, and you think about other students that are thinking about graduate school in general, What are some tips that you might offer others considering graduate school and graduate education that’ll help them to find success?

Rehan Kodil [00:15:19]:
I think, tips that I would offer is That one is that decide what you really want to do, what you like, respective of and if you’re probably you’re passionate about it or not. And it could be something that you developed something recently. It is not that, okay, you might have worked in a different stream or a different industry, but you want to change it. It is I think it is fine as long as You know what it is that is that you like. So 1 the first thing the tip would be that decide, like, this is the stream that you want to get into, the the major. And as I said, like, if you are someone who is coming to grad school, like, after a long time, which could be challenging, like, after a gap or something, it will be challenging. But if you decide to, like, interest and put your mind to it. And initially, of course, there will be those difficult periods.

Rehan Kodil [00:16:04]:
But once you’re in the flow and once you start attending those classes and you start meeting your academic adviser, talking to your professors regularly, and, like, with their colleagues that out there, it will help you. So I think one of the tips that I would offer is that not just to be there because just to complete the program, but to also see get to know the the faculty, the academic advisor, everyone because all of them will help you in this program. They have those experiences also. And, so so my other tip would be that make sure that you’re interacting with everyone, not just, you know, just there for studies. Yeah. I completed this at going home. You know? Make sure that you’re keeping in touch with everyone, asking them questions. And besides that, it would be that if you’re Someone who’s working and during graduation that you just have to and studying, then you have to maintain a work life balance.

Rehan Kodil [00:16:56]:
And you have to, like, plan your schedule and things in such a way that one is that one is not like, you’re not giving visits to more visits one thing and Not at all to another thing. You have to make sure that they are being balanced. So that means that you have to, like, have that okay. These these these days I’m going to be but I have work, so I won’t be able, I won’t be able to focus that much on my studies, but dedicate, like, few days. Like, if you’re off on the weekends, make sure that Saturday, Sunday, At least, like, for 3, 4 hours, you are dedicating it to your academy. And if at all if it’s an emergency, like, let’s say that there’s an exam coming up, and then You make sure that you take those leads in advance for those days so that you can prepare for those exams. So my other tip would be that maintain a work life balance so that it will eventually help. And the other tip is that not to stress too much or overtake.

Rehan Kodil [00:17:46]:
And And I’m saying this because this has really helped me is to always meet your academic adviser at least once every time. It can be in person or in Zoom. I can tell you this from my personal experience that had it not been for my, academic adviser who has been so helpful to me, I would be lost, to be honest. I don’t think I would be so confident, and, yeah, I would either be because they guide you. Of course, you have to do all the hard work, but they guide you. They tell you that, okay, you’re not headed in the right direction, All are doing very well. So I always make sure that I am in touch with my academic advisor, whether it’s for registration, whether it is something that is bothering me about a certain subject or the course, Anything. They’re always there to help you too.

Rehan Kodil [00:18:25]:
That is one important thing that I like is that during this course, like in your graduate school, make sure that you are in touch with your academic adviser. And the other one would be to get in touch. Like, we have mentoring programs as well. So if you don’t like, if someone is not comfortable, like, doing it formally, they can Also, like, reach out to the former alumni, like, who who are there on LinkedIn or if they can, like, get in touch with someone, like, at At the university, we will tell them, okay. Now this person has studied this. Get in touch with those people. Like, ask them how was their experience. What are the challenges that they face? How did they overcome that? What did they do differently? That will also help you to make a certain decision on how to approach a certain thing.

Rehan Kodil [00:19:05]:
And And, they can also guide you. So I I believe that it is always important to have, have that kind of a mentor as well. And the other thing would be, which is something that I recently I’m doing a lot is, like, I think every program has their own career development manager, and We have, like, school of management as Justin’s. So, also, like, when you are studying and you you it is better to, like, think about your future as well, like, where you see yourself going with the degree. And what I think is that you have to start planning it right now. So, like, let’s say even if your course is 3 years more to go, 2 years more to go, it’s better to meet with this career development manager. In my case, it’s Justin Skibit. But for everyone else, it would be different.

Rehan Kodil [00:19:49]:
They will help you tell them that this is what you’re looking for. This is what you want to get into. He has helped me a lot. So I’m telling you this from experience With, like, interview skills, getting out to putting in a kind word, getting out to the recruiters. So when you’re about to graduate, You are ready, like, for the world. You already have a job or maybe you have many offers. You already have the skills that that you got from the, from your Academic program. You have the connections also.

Rehan Kodil [00:20:14]:
So, basically, you have all the weapons that you need before you before you head out. So that is another thing that I would say. And one other thing that I would mention. Again, this also I know it’s not possible for everyone because everybody some have families here, some have Multiple jobs, but at least if they can make sure to come on campus also, at least, like, for 1 lecture, that will also make a bit. I know that today we are in online. COVID happened and all those But just to come to class maybe just for 1 lecture, I think doesn’t do any wrong because it is good to have a fact physical Your presence as well where your professors lie there. It is much more easier to communicate with them when they are light in front of you. Also get to know the others as well Besides just saying hello on Zoom, so and the best thing is that if you are in the building, you could even just walk up to the office and meet your academic adviser also for all you know.

Rehan Kodil [00:21:04]:
And you you can talk to them about it on any other important office that is that you want to go to. So that is another tip that, so this is Well,

Dr. Christopher Lewis [00:21:12]:
Rehan, I just wanna say thank you. Thank you for sharing your journey today. Thank you for sharing all these tips and things that you have found to help you To help others along their own journey, and I wish you all the best.

Rehan Kodil [00:21:22]:
Thank you, sir. It was my pleasure.

Dr. Christopher Lewis [00:21:23]:
The University of Michigan Flint has a full array of masters and doctorate programs If you are interested in continuing your education, whether you’re looking for in person or online learning options, the University of Michigan Flint has programs that will meet your needs. For more information on any of our graduate programs, visit umflute.eduforward/graduateprograms to find out more. Thanks again for spending time with me as you prepare to be a victor in grad school. I look forward to speaking with you again soon As we embark together on your graduate school journey, if you have any questions or want to reach out, email me at flint [email protected].