Returning to hometown leads grad student to find missing puzzle piece

Contact: Amy Coughenour

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Syreeta Williams has spent time all over the country, working in industries including banking, sales and marketing. It was an unexpected move back to her hometown of Muskegon, Michigan, that inspired her to find what was missing and take the next step in her education. 

With an extensive background in business, Williams wanted to expand her skills and knowledge. She found that being back in Michigan gave her the push she needed to commit to pursuing her MBA. The flexibility of the program was a big reason that she chose Western Michigan University. 

“I chose the program for several reasons, chief among them is the fact that the program allows me to take classes at my own pace. Also, the HyFlex format enables me to take classes from home rather than making the drive from Muskegon to Kalamazoo to attend classes,” says Williams. “This flexibility was essential to me in being able to pursue my education while continuing my full-time job and other responsibilities.”

MBA student Syreeta Williams in Portugal during a study abroad trip

Williams has already realized that the MBA aligns perfectly with her natural abilities and interests. She says, “I actually discovered my passion for business while working as proprietor of my own coffee franchise! Earning my MBA has been a missing piece of the puzzle for far too long. The knowledge that I will gain from completing my MBA will enable me to be a more effective business professional and a standout leader as a woman in business.”

As a contemporary student, Williams is pleased with how naturally she’s adapted to being in school again.

“I’ve been surprised by how much I’ve delighted in the learning process!” she says. “I am proud of my academic ability in this phase of my life. I was not a focused student during my undergraduate studies, however, as a graduate student, I am hyper-focused on my success.”  

Williams has also been impacted by her instructors and recalls a specific interaction with Dr. Jennifer Palthe, retired professor of management. “I was able to talk to Dr. J one-on-one in her office after a final. In that time, we discussed not only the course but life. I walked away that day feeling so inspired. She encouraged my journey as a student as well as a woman in business.” 

New experiences have also been a part of Williams’ journey—including a study abroad trip to Portugal with MBA students and faculty.

“This trip gave me a sense of community within the MBA program and helped me connect with fellow students,” she says. “These connections, both business and personal, are extremely valuable as a support and resource that will go beyond just the program.”

Looking forward to graduation, Williams sees how the MBA has been a perfect fit for her.

“This program has provided an amazing opportunity. With each course and every new challenge, I am adding to my professional toolbox,” Williams says. “I am so grateful that WMU’s Haworth College of Business has developed the HyFlex MBA program for working professionals.” 

Learn more about the HyFlex MBA program at WMU.

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