The Executive MBA from the Students Perspective: The Balancing Act

You have a good job that’s challenging and gives you lots of responsibility, but you feel like you need something to get you to the next level in your career.  You might want to consider an executive MBA.  I’m working on an upcoming podcast titled “The Executive MBA from the Students Perspective.”

We talk to executive MBA students from UCLA’s Anderson School of Management, the Berkeley-Columbia program, and Wharton West.  How do they balance work, school and whatever else is going on in their lives? Do they get the same opportunities as regular, full-time MBA students? If you’re only there on weekends, what’s the faculty interaction like? Can you apply what you learn at school to your work?

Sonal Sinha manages risk compliance at Visa in their legal department and attends the Berkeley-Columbia EMBA program.  As if that isn’t enough responsibility for one person, she has two children. So what does she have to say about balance?

 ”I’m not going to stand up here and say it’s going to be really easy, because then I wouldn’t be very honest and fair.  It is challenging at times. However, I think most of the challenges are in planning.  As long as you plan very well, and I mean plan way before the program starts. So make arrangement to be able to do things that are important to you, whether they be family or running marathons or climbing mountains, wherever your interests lie. If you can organize your life in such a way that you can manage that and put things on people’s calendars.   It’s manageable, it’s doable, but you have to plan for it and that’s almost getting you 99% through.”

Sinha says some weeks or semesters are easier to handle than others.

 ”It depends on classes you’re taking, it depends on your experience with that subject manner.  For example, there  were some areas where I felt that I didn’t have as much as professional work experience where I had to put in more time to understand the materials and more time to catch up than someone who worked in that field.  On an average, and I think my classmates can kind of speak to it, it can range anywhere between 10-15-20 hours onwards per week.”

Learn more of what the other guests have to say about the executive MBAs in our upcoming show that will be live in a couple of weeks. Other guests on the show include:

  • Brian Carroll, EMBA student at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management, New Produce Program Manager at CISCO;
  • Matthew Cooper, student at the Berkeley-Columbia Executive MBA (EMBA) program and founder of Syapse, a bioinformatics company;
  • Bhavik Joshi, a recent graduate of the Berkeley-Columbia Executive MBA (EMBA) program and is in charge of global infrastructure operations for Better Place, a start-up;Ravi Mallela, EMBA student at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management and equity capital manager at Wells Fargo;
  • Annie Phan, student the Wharton West EMBA program and hedge fund trader; and
  • George Schmilinsky, a recent graduate of the Berkeley-Columbia Executive MBA (EMBA) program and Chief Financial Officer of Vapore, Inc.

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