Davielle Phillips, ’16 and ’19, wanted to use his time at Nebraska to create a positive impact within local communities. Through the combination of his business and architectural education, he found direction to accomplish his designs.
“I always had these ideas about using architecture for social advancement. My community growing up was impoverished, so I wanted to go back and use architecture to make things better,” he explained.
The Chicago native worked in the College of Business throughout his undergraduate career in IT Services, where he interacted with faculty and staff around the college. His time spent in the business environment struck an interest in Phillips, who began to research the on-campus Flex MBA program at Nebraska.
“I’ve always had these visions of what I wanted to do with architecture as far as my career. When I started working here at the college, talking with the professors and learning more about business, I realized architecture and business go hand-in-hand. After looking into the MBA program more, I saw it was one of the top in the country, which pushed me to apply,” said Phillips.
Through the Flex MBA program at Nebraska Business, Phillips enrolled in the joint MBA and master of architecture program. As he went through the courses, his mindset and perspective of architecture began to change and grow.
“Upon starting my MBA I realized a lot and broadened my idea in what I wanted to do in my career but also honed it at the same time. Now instead of just wanting to use architecture to be socially responsible within the field, I want to create a social enterprise and use the profits towards the community it is in and helping people.”
Phillips noted a key project he worked on assisting the homeless through architecture in London during a study abroad program. After a conversation with Brian Kelly, an associate professor of architecture, he received the opportunity to apply his business knowledge to architecture.
“Davielle’s project in London was built out of his immersive experience and desire to make life better for those he saw during his study abroad program. I encouraged him to push the design while also integrating his business education through the form of suggesting various business models while considering development tools including a financial pro forma considering purchase and rental prices,” explained Kelly.
Phillips believes that project provided him with a better understanding of the viability of cross collaboration between disciplines. Kelly took what he knew about him as a student on both the business and architect path and tied that into his classwork.
“Davielle is a student who I admire a great deal. He is very respectful to his peers and me, hardworking and always trying to improve and expand his skill set. He received advice from me as his studio critic and worked to implement it in his own ways. Through his final project, he addressed issues in both of his disciplines and considered the potential offerings of an architect-business professional,” said Kelly.
Phillips leaves the university with a new view on an age-old field. He graduated with an MBA and master of architecture this spring, and secured a job as an architect at Holland Basham Architects (HBA) in Omaha, Nebraska.
“My graduate programs took me from wanting to do something in social responsibility with architecture to all these things and coming up with a business plan and action. Since being an intern at HBA, the classes I took during that time changed my perspective about the firm. I always related my experience at the firm to my business courses. In turn, it made me a better professional and gave me a better understanding of business, which I believe HBA appreciates because I bring a different perspective to the table. I am able to speak more intelligently about things with them and clients. Now I think as both a business owner and a designer and how I can bring the two together,” said Phillips.
To learn more about the Flex MBA program, visit: https://business.unl.edu/mba/flex