Alumni Spotlight: Bob Phillips
(March 10, 2022) - Domestically, there are few alumni who live further away from Clayton State’s campus than Bob Phillips ’89. Living in the Los Angeles suburbs, Phillips recently joined a College of Business accounting course to talk to the students about his career and offer advice.
Phillips received his bachelor’s degree as part of the first cohort of business students after Clayton Junior College became a four-year institution. He received his MBA from Georgia State University and worked in the Atlanta area in the field of accounting and audits for companies such as Ernst & Young until 10 years ago. Phillips then moved to the Los Angeles area, where he currently serves as Vice President of Compliance and Controls for Thomas James Homes.
After recently reconnecting with his alma mater, Phillips was invited by accounting professor and Clayton alumna, Kate Cotter-Reilly, to speak virtually to one of her classes. He presented a discussion on the changing business environment due to technology, as well as real post-college life as a new graduate entering the business world. The conversation was positive with engaged students asking several questions.
Phillips shared what he enjoyed most about the experience, “I have the heart of a teacher.” Noting he spent over a year as an adjunct professor at Clayton State not long after finishing his MBA at Georgia State University. Phillips added, “I love interacting with students and helping them navigate the winding road from college to career to life.”
Having alumni come back to speak to classes or groups of students, or even have one-on-one conversations with individual students is critically important to building a sense of community around campus. Professor Cotter-Reilly ’19, MBA said, “As an alumnus myself, I enjoy having other alumni speaking to my class because I feel like it gives my students a broader sense of what is possible when you graduate from Clayton State.”
She said, “An alumnus who wants to participate with our classes is someone who is invested on multiple levels. They want to see the university succeed—which means seeing our current and future students succeed.”
Thinking about the distance from Los Angeles to Atlanta, as well as the more than three decades it’s been since being a student at Clayton State, neither distance nor time is going to keep Phillips from being as involved with his alma mater as much as he can.
“Clayton State is part of the legacy that has led me to where I am today,” Phillips said. “What I learned there, and the professors like Dr. Arjomand, Dr. Cash, and Professor Feathers, set me up for the success I have experienced.”