Many Happy Returns: Long-Term ROI on the Berkeley MBA, Part II

By Susan Petty

The Internet is rife with articles about the financial worth of a graduate degree from the nation’s top business schools. But while annual incomes are fairly easy to scale, it’s much more difficult to quantify overall satisfaction. What about professional creativity? Personal happiness? Social interaction? Flexibility? In this three-part series, we asked several Berkeley-Haas alums about a different kind of MBA ROI—how their Berkeley-Haas degrees have more broadly affected their lives in the longer term.

Name and degree: Martha Gerhan EMBA 03 (Berkeley-Columbia Executive MBA Program)

Lives and works in: San Francisco, CA

Position prior to Haas and position today: “I was in sales and marketing, largely in manufacturing, hardware and software. Now I’m an independent strategic consultant for clients ranging from early-stage companies to corporations.”

How her MBA has improved her career: “Haas gave me both the knowledge and the network, ultimately transforming me into an independent consultant. I now take a broader role in how companies work across the board, from engineering and product development to finance and marketing. As a consultant, I love being able to provide key strategic support and then move on – I’m not constrained by the structure of a full-time position.”

"Greater earning power...has made me more confident in taking risks."

Most rewarding aspects of life today: “I continue to connect professionally and socially with my Berkeley peers through strong friendships and the business community. Haas attracts a certain type of personality, and the Defining Principles tend to underlie our thinking. We have a different way of looking at problems and issues.”

Other ways in which the Berkeley MBA has impacted her life: “Greater earning power does enable me to be more choosy about what jobs I take and has made me confident in taking risks. As an independent contractor, it’s important to have the confidence to know that you bring value to an organization.”

—Kirsten Mickelwait

Are you interested in becoming a more confident risk-taker?  

Find More Reasons  to Choose the Berkeley EMBA

You can also read about Beau Giannini, MBA 94 and a professor of entrepreneurship, in Part I of this series.


Collections: Alumni  |   MBA for Execs  |   Career
Susan Petty
Susan is Director of Admissions for the Berkeley MBA for Executives Program. She has nearly twenty years of experience in marketing and advertising, having worked in several different industries including technology, travel, healthcare -- and many others from her media planning days at J. Walter Thompson where her clients included Chevron, Kaiser Permanente, Nestle, and Ford. She enjoys advising prospective students and guiding them through their personal MBA experience.