HyFlex MBA helps student achieve goals

A collage of Philip Smith's professional headshot, Philip Smith in his soccer uniform and Philip Smith playing soccer on a field.

MBA student Philip Smith hails from the United Kingdom and decided to pursue his MBA at WMU in order to achieve his career ambitions while continuing his ability to play Division 1 soccer. He has found what makes him tick as a professional and has already landed a full-time job, along with visa sponsorship, as he finishes his degree.

Why did you choose to pursue your MBA at WMU? What value has the program offered you so far?Philip Smith in light gray athletic jacket with darker gray background.

I chose the Haworth College of Business because I could continue my education at a more advanced level, while also playing at the highest level of Division 1 collegiate soccer. I wanted to delve deeper into my understanding of business by getting my MBA at an accredited university that is well respected throughout not only the U.S., but also the world.

What benefits have you gotten from the HyFlex learning environment?

The HyFlex format has been perfect for me. The flexibility to be able to be engaged in the classroom, which I much prefer, while also being able to choose to stay in the comfort of my home or wherever else I may be during class time, is a great fit. As a student-athlete, my schedule can be dynamic, and I may be in another state for a number of days, but my travel for soccer fits seamlessly with my course schedule when I have the option to participate either in-person or remotely.

Describe something that you plan to pursue professionally that you may not have considered prior to starting your MBA.

I would never have found a passion and interest for consulting in the business world without the program. Meeting Dr. Jennifer Palthe and taking a number of classes sparked not only my interest in the industry, but the start of my consulting career. It was through Dr. Palthe’s mentoring that I was able to maneuver through a number of rigorous interviews and be rewarded with a full-time offer at EY, one of the “Big Four” accounting firms, along with visa sponsorship, which is like gold dust for an international student.

As I continue in the program, I am very excited to learn more about technology and the business world, as it directly relates to my career and will best prepare me for what is to come.

Philip Smith in soccer jersey giving a high-five to another person.Professors at WMU take an interest in each student and look to help each individual in whatever ways they can. The network you form at Western is priceless!

What has been your favorite course so far and what were your biggest takeaways?

My favorite course so far has been Leadership for Managers, and I have to say another one that I am currently enrolled in, Communications Skills for Managers, is also great. Both courses have focused on what interests me most—interpersonal skills that can be developed to achieve success for yourself and those around you. They both require extensive participation and presentations, forcing you into situations that make you uncomfortable. The most important lesson I have learned is that the path to success is paved with experiences that get you comfortable with being uncomfortable.

How has WMU made the process of pursuing an MBA convenient for you?

Through the help of WMU and my advisor Barb Caras-Tomczak, I was able to structure a full-time MBA schedule that worked around part-time work and college athletics. Meanwhile, I was able to choose classes that interested me and would help develop skills I was eager to focus on. The HyFlex format was perfect for me.