University of Tennessee

New Graduates of Haslam Programs for Working Professionals Reflect on Their Experiences

January 14, 2022

Students graduating in December 2021 from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Haslam College of BusinessPrograms for Working Professionals acquired valuable knowledge and skills that they applied at their workplace as they pursued their degrees. As these professionals changed their academic status from “students” to “alumni,” some shared what they gained in their programs.

“Over these last 16 months in the Haslam Professional MBA program, my most significant takeaways came from the real-world context provided by my cohort,” Adam Neubauer, senior IT project manager with Pilot Corp., said. “The breadth of experience and expertise in the cohort, which is impossible to capture in a slide or a textbook, added color to the concepts taught in these courses. I also greatly appreciated how the professors translated their expertise into exercises for the class, so we could practice what we learned and apply it to our own companies in our organizational action projects.”

Gabriel Morris, COO of a quantitative investment management firm in Baltimore, found the Haslam Executive MBA in Strategic Leadership (EMBA-SL) program while looking for relevant executive leadership education. “The program met all my expectations and more, as the coursework purposefully tied directly into the projects I was managing at work,” Morris said. “I can’t think of a more useful executive skillset in today’s challenging business environment.”

Michelle M. Hudson, a supply chain manager with a consumer goods company, was grateful to have been a part of the Haslam Executive MBA for Global Supply Chain program. “Because of its staff and the talent it recruits, it’s clear why it has achieved such high recognition,” Hudson said. “This experience will undoubtably have an impact in my current role navigating through this difficult time in supply chain, as well as future challenges to come.”

Spencer Payne had just left active military duty and begun part-time service in the Tennessee National Guard when he started the Haslam Aerospace and Defense MBA program.

“This program has afforded me the opportunity to transition to civilian life while learning marketable business skills for a career pivot,” Payne said. “I also have been able to utilize the Anderson Center and various pitch competitions sponsored by the university to grow my small business.” Payne’s military aviation apparel company, Brotallion, won first place in the spring 2021 Vol Court pitch competition and second in the spring 2021 Graves Business Plan competition.

Haslam strives to provide a transformational experience, which includes customized opportunities such as leadership development coaching and organizational action projects for working professionals like Payne pursuing their education. Program managers and staff also engage with students to address any accommodations they may need and assist them in balancing their academic and professional responsibilities.

“We are proud and excited for the newest graduates from our working professionals programs, who spent their off-hours from their jobs studying and working to earn their degrees,” Bruce Behn, associate dean for Graduate and Executive Education, said. “We know they will use these degrees and new knowledge as a catalyst to achieve great things in their careers.”

The Haslam College of Business’s graduate and executive education program website provides information about traditional master’s degree programs, programs for working professionals, executive short-course offerings and other educational options.


Scott McNutt, business writer/publicist,