Why a part-time or Executive MBA works for a wide array of people

By Susan Petty

An MBA can have a transformative effect on your life and career. But, is it right for you? What if you want to continue working or have a family? How do you balance your personal commitments with the requirements of an MBA? What if your background is not business-oriented? How will you fit in?

At Berkeley-Haas, our MBA programs for working professionals let people realize their fullest potential as leaders and trailblazers — all while continuing work and family life. The Evening & Weekend MBA (EWMBA) and the Berkeley MBA for Executives Programs are designed for students from a broad diversity of backgrounds and cultures.

Evening & Weekend MBA student Melanie AkwuleMelanie Akwule, a senior technical product manager at GE Digital, is part of the EWMBA class of 2019.

She initially wasn’t sure if the MBA was for her, but says, “Boy was I wrong.”

“Going to school part time has allowed me to stay tuned into what’s going on in the industry while bringing skills learned in class to work,” she says.

Berkeley EMBA student Lan Fong

For biotech consultant and Senior Global Clinical Operations Manager Lan Fong, the MBA experience is empowering her to “question the status quo” in an industry where regulation and technology struggle to stay apace with fast-evolving diseases. Lan is currently a student in the Executive MBA program class of 2018.

For both women, the chance to come together with a diverse array of talented people was part of the appeal of studying at Berkeley-Haas.

“The most empowering part of my MBA experience is the people I’ve met along the way,” says Melanie. “Everyone here has passion, purpose, and a determination to leave the world better than they found it. It’s been an extremely motivating force for me.”

Lan adds, “We are smarter collectively, because we each bring our unique skills and diverse work experiences to class. Every time I come to Haas, I am inspired by my classmates and professors to be a catalyst for change."

Melanie and Lan are two of the students who hosted a Fall 2017 diversity summit to explore the value that difference brings to learning.

“It’s important to come”, says Melanie, “because it’s a way of getting to know the spirit of Berkeley from the inside. Experiencing diversity at Haas goes beyond the numbers. I attended the summit in 2015, and I was blown away by the energy, humility and dedication to the student experience here.”

Lan also looks forward to the conversations that will be part of the summit. “We can’t keep up if we keep developing medicine the same way as before. Being able to tap into the diversity of experience in the EMBA classroom allows us to see problems from a different lens – a different perspective than our own.”

“I know the change I wish to see in this world, and I’m making strides in bringing it to fruition,” says Melanie. “The support, creativity, and shared dedication of my classmates has helped me to shine my light that much brighter.”

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Posted on October 17, 2017
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.