During Graduate Education Week, Haslam MBA Student Offers Insights on Program

April 1, 2024

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee proclaimed April 1 through April 5, 2024, Graduate Education Week, citing graduate education’s powerful and positive impact on the Volunteer State. According to the proclamation, graduate education attracts more than 48,000 students nationally and internationally to Tennessee universities, generating more than $1.1 billion in economic impact.

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, will mark the proclamation with the Graduate and Professional Student Appreciation Week (GPSAW), which includes a number of activities planned to honor these students. Likewise, UT’s Haslam College of Business Graduate and Executive Education (GEE) programs are also taking April 1 through April 5 to recognize its graduate and professional students.

A Perfect Fit

Haslam has several GEE offerings, from executive programs that last a few weeks to in-depth master’s and PhD programs. With so many options, the college’s programs appeal to students of various backgrounds.

Lily Hendrickson portrait photoWhen Wisconsin native and Full-Time MBA student Lillia “Lily” Hendrickson began exploring MBA programs, she heard good things about Haslam. She was convinced the college was the right choice for her after meeting with the program admissions team. “I just knew it was going to be a perfect fit,” she says.

Before enrolling at Haslam, Hendrickson earned bachelor’s degrees in accounting and French from Middle Tennessee State University. She went on to work at accounting firms as an external auditor and client account manager and joined the Tennessee Army National Guard in 2019. After being commissioned in 2021, she now serves as a platoon leader.

Although she found both her accounting work and military service rewarding, she felt that, with more education, she could make a greater impact in the business world.

Having enrolled in Haslam’s MBA program last August, Hendrickson describes herself as well-prepared for a broader career in business beyond accounting.

“The professors do a really good job at not just teaching, for example, how to perform a function on Excel, but showing how it actually works and how it will help the business,” Hendrickson says. “I am gaining a higher level of thinking and using my skills for more fine-tuned, detailed work.”

The training she’s experienced in the Full-Time MBA helped Hendrickson earn an upcoming summer internship with Dell’s business analytics team.

Enrichment Beyond the Classroom

Hendrickson’s education efforts don’t end in the classroom. She is a member of Haslam’s MBA business case competition team, which won first and second place in two recent competitions. Participating in the case competitions has trained her in important business tasks like researching, preparing and delivering polished, persuasive presentations.

Laura Williams, director of student services for Haslam’s Full-Time MBA program, calls Hendrickson an all-around leader.

“She excels in the classroom and challenges her classmates to think beyond the material,” Williams says. “Lily doesn’t just lead in class; her influence extends into extracurricular activities like the case competitions, experiential learning spaces and in the community through her work with the Tennessee National Guard.”

Hendrickson also serves as president of Haslam’s Women’s Organization of MBAs (WOMBA) and the financial officer for the Tennessee Organization of MBAs. She calls WOMBA’s program Grads to Golf especially useful in learning the practical realities of doing business.

“We learn how to play golf, which is where a lot of business deals are made,” she explains. “Plus, it’s a good way to bond with each other.”

Supportive Faculty Fostering Student Success

Like many potential students considering graduate school, Hendrickson was concerned that her academic schedule might conflict with other commitments, specifically her military duties. Haslam’s MBA program faculty, however, were understanding and have worked with Hendrickson to find solutions. With her annual two-week military training approaching, she discussed possible accommodations with her professors.

“I talked to my professors about my annual training, and they were so great,” she says. “They’re like, ‘Oh, not a problem, thank you for your service,’ and they asked about anything that they can do to assist me, which made me feel very supported.”

Hendrickson recommends Haslam’s graduate programs to others considering graduate school, emphasizing the encouragement and assistance the college offers its students.

“I felt extremely cared about through this entire process, from my first meeting to now,” she says. “I know that I’ll continue to feel that support even after graduation. I can’t say enough good things about it.”

Studying with Haslam, Enriching Communities

As the executive director for graduate business programs, Mary Goss recognizes how much Haslam’ graduate and professional students give back to both the college and their communities.

“Haslam students like Lily enrich the college as a whole by sharing the diverse backgrounds and experiences they bring to campus,” Goss says. “Further, through their studies here, they are investing in themselves and their futures. They will apply the knowledge and skills they acquire here for the betterment of their organizations, benefiting their communities for many years to come.”

About Haslam College of Business’ Graduate & Executive Education

At the master’s level, Haslam offers the following programs: the Full-Time MBA, Online MBA, Professional MBA, Executive MBA (Global Supply Chain, Healthcare Leadership, Strategic Leadership), Aerospace and Defense MBA, Physician Executive MBA, Master of Accountancy, Master of Science in Management and Human Resources, Master of Science in Marketing, Master of Science in Business Analytics, Master of Science in Business Analytics for Working Professionals, Master of Statistics, Master of Arts in Economics, Master of Science in Supply Chain Management Tri-Continent, Master of Science in Supply Chain Management Online and Master of Science in Business Cybersecurity. Doctoral program areas include accounting, business analytics and statistics, economics, finance, marketing, strategy, entrepreneurship and organizations and supply chain management. Haslam’s graduate supply chain programs are ranked No. 1 in North America by Gartner.

Haslam’s GEE programs address real-world challenges through an interdisciplinary approach that supports development of analytical and leadership skills. College faculty are industry thought leaders, seasoned practitioners and accomplished researchers who ensure the learning experience applies directly to each participant’s current or future career.


Scott McNutt, business writer/publicist, rmcnutt4@utk.edu