Haas Part-Time MBA: Advice from a Current Student
Over the last few years, the University of California Berkeley’s (Haas) Part-Time MBA program has been consistently ranked as one of the top part-time programs in the country. Last year, U.S. News and World Report once again ranked Haas #1 overall, ahead of other longstanding high-ranked programs, Booth and Kellogg. For those who are considering whether the Haas Part-Time MBA might be right for you, we asked one of our former clients to provide insights from her experience as a current student. See below for what she had to say!
1) What has surprised you the most about the program?
The weekday program was absolutely the right choice for me. I was originally signed-up for weekends because I thought it would be easier to condense it all into one day, and that it would result in less time commuting. I thought class on weekday nights would just be too much. However, I’ve found it to be great! It’s nice to break it up throughout the week, and I often look forward to going after work and seeing the friends I’ve made. I took one Saturday class, and the full day was so exhausting that at the end of the day I was so grateful that I didn’t have to do it every Saturday!
Another surprising thing is the wide range in ages, and finding out that age really doesn’t matter. It doesn’t affect how insightful you can be in class and it doesn’t affect who you socialize with. It’s also inspiring to see people handle the program while also planning weddings or having kids or starting a new business.
2) What did you wish you had known before you started and what was a challenge?
Group work can be challenging. I lucked out and was assigned to an awesome group. However, we all live really spread apart in the Bay Area and all have full-time jobs and personal commitments, so it can be tough to find time to meet. Also, different people have different priorities, so some group members may care more about grades, and others may just care more about the learning experience.
3) What is your favorite aspect of the program and what is the best thing about Haas?
Of course, the people. Everyone is really supportive, and our cohort has gotten really close. When we did a public speaking workshop, it felt like a safe space because you knew everyone was going to give you honest feedback, but from a kind place. And we have fun!
4) How do you balance work, life and school?
I try to set aside specific times for homework (e.g., Mondays for group meetings, and Wednesday evenings and Sunday afternoons for homework). I also find myself trying to fill-up little bits of time here and there (e.g., if someone is late meeting me for dinner, I pull homework out of my purse and just start reading). Commuting is also a great time to do homework as well. I’ve tried to make a really big effort to still see my boyfriend and friends regularly; planning ahead is key. Also, realize that you can’t do every single social event at school, and you have to pick what will be the most meaningful for you.
5) How has the program impacted your performance at work – e.g. are you using what you learn in the classroom back at the office?
There was an exercise in marketing class that was relevant for my job, and I felt great about being able to share the framework with my team at work. I do work less hours than I did a couple years ago. You have to know what projects are most important, and focus more on the core work instead of volunteering for side projects.
6) What advice do you have for those considering the part time program now?
Visit the school. If you can, visit both a weekend class and a weekday class to get a feel for what will work best for you. Make sure you know why you want to get an MBA and why you think part-time is a better fit for you (than full time).
As always, we are here to help if you are debating whether the Haas Part-Time MBA (or any part-time program) is right for you!