Balancing an MBA with work, wedding planning, and more

By Eileen Jacob

A mentor recommended she get her MBA. She knew it would be a time commitment, but it would help her get ahead.

Shanna Wagnor was ambitious. She worked at Salesforce, she exercised daily and she liked to spend time with friends. How could she fit an MBA into her busy life without the sacrifice?

Full-time MBA studies weren't an option. She had bills to pay. Part-time—now that could work, she realized. Shanna did her homework.

“I did a lot of research. I met with as many people as I could. I went to the Berkeley Haas Women’s Dinner in SF. I met Courtney Chandler (then program Dean) who gave me advice,” remembers Shanna.

And that’s what it took. Confident that balancing an MBA with work and life could happen, Shanna applied to the Evening & Weekend Berkeley MBA program, to get ahead and keep her job in the process.

Balancing the dream with...Dreamforce

The biggest event of the year for Salesforce, is Dreamforce, the annual 4-day long event for customers and potential customers. It takes a whole year to plan.

The week of the show, Shanna, a senior product marketing manager, works 12 hour days. From morning to night, there are presentations, meetings, events, roundtables, parties, and more parties. And for Shanna, this time there was school.

“That week I had to miss Wednesday-Friday classes and, to be honest, though I went to class the week before, I was distracted… just trying to keep both things moving,” says Shanna.

Lucky for her, early communication paid off. She told her professors about the event in advance, and they understood.

She also traveled a lot and had to work late at times. But working with her professors she was able to balance her career and school.

“As long as you stay on top of the communication and ensure it’s open and early, the staff and the professors can be incredibly accommodating and understanding,” remembers Shanna.

Marrying work and life

Balancing a demanding career and an MBA was challenging for Shanna. But not so challenging that she couldn’t also find time to plan her wedding the last year of the program.

“I just got married this past summer, so I also had to plan my wedding during my EWMBA,” she says.

If you talk to Shanna now, she’ll tell you every minute counts. There have been a lot of advantages to her MBA professionally, but the biggest lesson learned is this: use every minute. Work, workout, meet with friends, even plan a wedding.

Finding balance

After the prompting of a mentor, Shanna chose the Berkeley Evening and Weekend MBA program. At Haas we support the balance of a demanding career and business higher education. She saw a chance to get ahead and keep working and she took it. ...How will you balance your career and education? Find out today.

Learn more about the Evening & Weekend MBA program

Eileen Jacob
Eileen was Senior Assistant Director of Admissions for the Berkeley MBA Programs for Working Professionals from 2017-2019. She enjoyed meeting prospective students and helping them explore the benefits of an MBA, and hopes these blog posts provide valuable insight into the Berkeley MBA experience.