Back in 2012, Matt Sandberg was working in enterprise software sales, making a decent salary. Overall, he was happy in the position and the overall compensation was good, but there was always a nagging concern about how heavily his total compensation was weighted toward a variable commission – it was hard to make life decisions without real financial security.
He was also worried that his work experience had pigeon-holed him into a career in sales or sales management, and he began thinking about broadening his skill-set to qualify for career advancement in other areas of the business.Now, as a recent 2016 Haas graduate of the Evening & Weekend Berkeley MBA Program, Sandberg currently works as the senior director of business development at a large enterprise software company. He sat down for a Q & A to reflect on how quickly he saw a return on his investment (ROI) in part-time MBA studies:
What kinds of skills were you looking to build at Haas?
I knew I wanted to improve my quantitative skills. Working in sales, you do deal a little bit with numbers, but I didn’t know how to read a balance sheet or income statement. More than that, I looked at the part-time MBA program as an opportunity to get a really broad base of business knowledge.
When did the MBA start paying off for you?
During my three years at Haas, I received three promotions across two companies and changed companies once. I was able to hold roles in sales management and product marketing, and now I work in business development.
From the time I applied to Haas in 2012 to the time I graduated in 2016, my salary increased by 143 percent and my total compensation increased by 79 percent.
And, as a direct result of my experience at Haas, I was able to achieve both of my primary career goals: to move into a more cross-functional role within my organization, and to increase the fixed portion of my earnings so I wasn’t so reliant on commissions.
What do you particularly love about your current role?
I’m responsible for the global-partnering strategy for one of our business units. I love the global nature of the work – the challenges of going to market in North America are very different from those we face in international locations, so trying to define a singular strategy that we can leverage globally, or that’s adaptable to regional differences, is super interesting to me.
What specific skills are you using that you learned in your coursework at Haas?
I apply Haas coursework all the time at work. A lot of my finance classes have been helpful because I’m often responsible for building financial models to launch a new product or program, and I build profitability assessments, which I couldn’t have done before. Also, learning how to work with slides to make strategic presentations has been extremely useful.
All of this was augmented by a fantastic learning experience, amazing professors, and impressive and congenial students. There’s no question that my Berkeley MBA has already resulted in an excellent return.
Wondering how a part-time Berkeley MBA can launch your career advancement and provide MBA ROI? Check out our Evening & Weekend Berkeley MBA Program.