Student Spotlight: Michelle Phan

Graduated Fall 2015
Michelle Phan

Tell me about your professional and educational background before you enrolled in our Master of Business Administration program.

My undergraduate degree was in public health and anthropology at UC Irvine. I started off as an administrative assistant and then during the course of the MBA program I became an analyst.

What led you to seek another degree?

I’ve always wanted an MBA. I just like learning. I felt like no matter what path in life I was going to take, the MBA was going to provide me with the knowledge I needed in order to move up and understand the business.

What drew you to University of Saint Mary?

The online program fit best with the criteria I was looking for in terms of flexibility and affordability. The USM program just fit with what I wanted.

What was your experience like as a student in our MBA program?

It was great. I’ve never really had professors who cared so much about their students and who gave this level of attention. I went to really large universities in the past with lectures that had hundreds and hundreds of students. In this program I had classes of 10 people or so which makes it easy to talk to the professor whenever you need to.

How did you choose your finance specialization?

Originally I chose a different specialization. I must’ve changed my specialization twice before deciding finance was the one for me. I just came to realize that the key to understanding a business is through their finances and that finance is really the path I wanted to take in my career.

What did you like about your courses?

My favorite thing about the courses is how they make you think about scenarios that happen in the real world. It’s the practice of it rather than theories. That’s really cool to me because back in my undergraduate degree it was purely theories. You were never put in a situation where you would have to apply it.

Tell me about the faculty who taught your courses.

They were awesome. When I didn’t understand something they would try to help me think of it differently, which was really special to me. I didn’t have much one-on-one experience with my professors in the past because they were such large classes. They weren’t able to give that kind of attention. It was nice to hear from a professor directly about what we were learning and how to apply it.

How will earning this degree help you in reaching your career goals?

There’s just so much I see myself doing and I know that this degree will give me the knowledge and the foundation for pursuing that. I want to reach the top one day and I know this degree will help me move up. During the duration of the program I switched jobs and this really helped me on my career path.

What would you say to students who are considering entering the MBA program?

I would tell them to definitely go for it. Even if you don’t intend to be in the business industry, having an MBA is so useful. Each workplace is run like a business whether you work at a large corporation, a small hospital, or a school. Having that deeper level of understanding of how a business runs really helps.