For Experienced Professional And Working Parent, What's the Value of an MBA?

By Susan Petty


Living in San Diego, Sally Allain works at Janssen Research & Development, a Johnson & Johnson company, as the Director of External Alliances. With two school-aged children at home, she and her husband both work full-time, supporting their family.

Trained as a scientist, Sally has worked in business settings for many years. Her experience includes 15 years of professional work in her field, along with a master’s degree in her industry. However, as her career evolved, she began to miss having an academic background in business.

“I saw the value behind having an MBA... Having the depth in aspects of the business – such as finance, contracts, budgets – and looking at leadership qualities. I’ve needed to build my own toolbox in those areas to be able to move up.”

Ready to take her work to the next level, Sally enrolled in the Executive MBA program at Berkeley Haas. Now once a month, she flies from San Diego to Berkeley to attend classes and collaborate with classmates. “The program’s been amazing. I really saw the return on investment, immediately from the first term that I was here,” Sally says.

Watch Sally's Video

In classes, Sally finds that new information and learning are highly relevant to her current work. Each month, she is able to apply what she is learning and take it back to her work at the office.

She also appreciates the network and relationships that develop in the classrooms of the Executive MBA. "I’m now in a group of 68 individuals that work across the U.S. and globally," Sally says. "To have them as a support system – to reach out, to ask questions, or to get their perspective is really unique."


Sally’s family at home and her support at work helped to push her along this new path.

As Sally’s spouse and co-parent, Richard Allain encouraged his wife to go forward with the MBA program. “This is something she’s really wanted to do for some time,” Richard says. “I’m excited to see the light in her eyes and to see her telling stories about what she’s learning and the people she’s meeting.”


In addition, support from her employer, Johnson & Johnson, has helped to make the EMBA program possible for her. “My company see this as a talent development opportunity,” Sally says. “They’ve given me time to be able to balance having a family, my job, and school at the same time. Overall, it’s been incredibly supportive.”

Learn More: The Berkeley MBA for Executives Program


Collections: Work-life balance  |   MBA for Execs
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.