Andy Phillips isn’t your typical graduate student.
Not only was he a former professional skier on the U.S. Olympic ski team, but he’s also a husband, father of two boys and the Ute football team’s starting kicker.
Many are aware of his athletic accolades and impressive kicking stats — he is currently fourth in the Pac-12 in field goals (17) and field goal percentage (81.0) — but not as many know about his academic achievements. Phillips is earning his Master of Science in Information Systems degree here at the David Eccles School of Business with a 3.83 grade point average. And Phillips is one of three Utes recently placed on the Pac-12 football all-academic first team.
Phillips knows how to make a field goal and an ‘A’ in the same semester. But what makes a seasoned athlete like him interested in information systems in the first place?
After retiring from skiing and getting into the U., Phillips thought he wanted to study biology and become a veterinarian. But as he got through the prerequisites, he soon realized that biology and chemistry weren’t his particular cup of tea.
“I always had a curiosity for data and computers and how they function. I really enjoyed both the technical and business side of computers,” he said.
Because he likes blending business and tech, Phillips double-majored in marketing and information systems. Now he’s pursuing a master’s degree and plans on tackling the program in just one year while simultaneously finishing his collegiate football career.
With just one more semester to go, Phillips has thoroughly enjoyed the graduate information systems program and his ability to individualize it for his interests.
“I love that I’m learning about deep, in-the-trenches technology while also being able to take electives that are more business-focused, like analytics and marketing analysis,” he said. “This program is giving me a unique experience different from an MBA because it’s blending the tech and business worlds together.”
Phillips also enjoys learning from a wide array of experienced professors from all over the world who bring real-world experiences and scenarios into the classroom. As he’s often on the road with the football team, Phillips likes that a majority of his classes’ materials and resources are easily accessible online and his professors are approachable and reachable by email.
“Not to mention the facilities are incredible and it’s really easy to be engaged with the program,” he said.
Having a successful football career, earning a master’s degree and spending enough time with his two young kids and spouse is no easy feat.
“I just have to stay hyper-focused 24-7 and take things one day at a time,” Phillips said.
Phillips attributes much of his success to his wife, Megan, who danced collegiately while pursuing a degree and understands the demanding schedule of a Division 1 athlete.
As Phillips raps up his formal education, he’s excited to use his garnered skills to enter the business side of the tech world. While the NFL is on his radar, he was taught by his parents growing up that athletics was always plan B, and education and providing for his family plan A. With this as his main priority, Phillips has invested in his education at the Eccles School to the fullest.