Alumni Interview with Trey Rhyne
Interview between Carlie Houchins, director of student affairs and faculty services, and Trey Rhyne. Trey recently graduated from the MBA program at Northeastern University-Charlotte and celebrated the birth of his first child. He is a Data Developer at Premier healthcare alliance.
Carlie: Tell me about your decision to pursue a graduate degree.
Trey: I decided to pursue a graduate degree for a number of reasons. First, it has always been a personal goal of mine to achieve a degree after my undergraduate studies. Education is something I value and I knew that when I looked back on my life I would regret not having a masters. Also, while I am in a technology developer role right now, I have a desire to be a leader in my career. I say leader and not manager because the two are different (this is one of many things my Northeastern MBA classes taught me) I knew an MBA would help me get to where I want to be as I continue to progress in my career. The decision was not something I took lightly because I knew it would be a challenge since I would also be working full time and I had only been married for a year. My wife knew this is something I very much wanted and she encouraged and supported my decision to go for it even though we both knew it would be a heavy time commitment. At the time I had about five years of work experience and we were not ready to start a family so the timing felt right and I decided to go for it.
Carlie: Why did you choose Northeastern?
Trey: I chose Northeastern for several reasons. The school first got on my radar because I saw they had an online program for obtaining an MBA. After doing a little research I found out my wife had several family members that attended the school in Boston, MA. I spoke to those family members about their experiences at the school and what they had heard about the program I was thinking of pursuing. I also saw that Northeastern’s MBA program (on campus and online) is AACSB accredited and that when I graduated my diploma would be the same as if I was on campus for all my classes. Another point that caught my eye is the program has a technology concentration. Since I have a technology background this was very attractive to me and I felt it would be applicable in my career.
Carlie: Tell us about a memorable experience from a class.
Trey: There were a number of interesting moments over the two years I was in this program. I remember one accounting class where around week 3 we took a midterm. The test was very difficult (I think we had four hours to take and it had to be in one sitting). After the results were in I was surprised to see that given the level of difficulty of the exam I actually did very well compared to the rest of the class. To my knowledge I think I had around the second or third highest grade in my section. It was very rewarding for me because I put in a lot of time studying for the exam and many of the people in the class had taken accounting courses before and this was my first one.
Trey: Another great moment came from one of the classes I took in my first semester. It was in the fall of 2012. I was working with several individuals on a group project and we were finishing up our last assignment before Christmas break. So basically this assignment was all that stood in our way from three glorious weeks where we didn’t have to worry at all about school. We put it in a lot of time and work collaborating virtually so I thought why not celebrate virtually as well? I pitched the idea to my team that after we finished the assignment and were all in for the night we should take a “virtual shot” together. We all took our “virtual shot” later that evening after I submitted our work and it was a fun moment to share with those people. We exchanged some funny emails and then parted ways for the semester.
Carlie: What is something unexpected – and good – that happened to you during your time as a Northeastern University graduate student?
Trey: Around September of 2013 my wife found out she was pregnant! As much of a blessing as this was we both recognized the challenge that existed since our son would be born in June of 2014 and I would not be finished with classes until August. Through my wife’s amazing support we navigated the challenge of those last several months of graduate school after my son was born and I actually ended up graduating with honors. I actually remember a moment when we were at the graduation ceremony in Boston. I had just walked across the stage to get my diploma and I sat back down in my seat. I looked back to see what my family was doing. My wife had our son on her lap and she was wiping a tear from her face because of the emotion of the moment. I remember looking at her and thinking “Yeah…………….we did it.” It was a very rewarding moment. In 2014 I received a top 30 under 30 award, a graduate degree, and became a father. So all in all a pretty amazing year.
Carlie: What has earning your degree resulted in for you?
Trey: Right now I only have about 7 years of work experience. Most of that experience has not been around being a leader. Currently, I am working to gain more experience as a leader on my team so that in the future I am able to transition into more leadership driven roles. It is unrealistic to think that just because I have a piece of paper I am now qualified to be in a management role. When it does come time to make that transition I will have all the tools and knowledge from this program to help me be a better leader.