Student Perspectives

Student Perspective

Sally Allain

Sally Allain

EMBA 16

Head of JLABS @ Washington DC
Johnson & Johnson Innovation
Washington, DC

"I believe I'm writing the next story in my career through my experience in the Berkeley MBA for Executives Program. When I graduate, I'll be better defined as a character in my own story, in a stronger position to direct the plot, and to have a larger impact in the pharmaceutical/healthcare industry."

Berkeley Haas commitment to diversity

When I arrived and met my classmates and professors, engaged in conversations, and experienced the differences, I really grasped that I was in the right place. I’ve filled many operational project management roles in my career without having the formal academic training.

As I have more responsibility for contractual relationships, financial negotiations, and driving work in the external environment, I wanted a better, more formal, understanding of business.

The Berkeley Haas commitment to diversity drew me here, especially the school’s commitment to advancing the role of women in business. Sixty percent of college graduates are women, but they aren’t present in the workforce, certainly not at senior levels, to the same extent. That needs to change, and Berkeley Haas is contributing.

Confidence without attitude is real

The advantages of the Berkeley MBA for Executives Program are easy to see on paper. When I arrived and met my classmates and professors, engaged in conversations, and experienced the differences, I really grasped that I was in the right place.

We learn from our mistakes and from each other, then take it back to our businesses. My classmates challenge me to be my best, to push myself to perform well. We motivate each other. This is much like a laboratory environment, where we test and try different approaches. We learn from our mistakes and from each other, and can then take it back to our businesses.

My classmates have no ego. They are open and generous. Confidence Without Attitude is real. Our professors are great at pulling examples and lessons from their own real-world experience or from their latest research. My classmates do the same, contributing their experiences on the job to illustrate points made in class.

Residency component promotes work-life balance

I’m carrying a lot of the lessons Professor Stephen Tadelis taught in Microeconomics about decision-making back to the workplace. He stressed the value of making decisions driven by data, not emotion. I love the idea of being embedded in a particular environment for several days, whether its Silicon Valley or Singapore. The Immersion Weeks really draw on the phenomenal connections of the Berkeley Haas faculty.

I can’t imagine this program without the residency component. We all unplug from work and family concerns to concentrate on academics and on the relationships we’re building before, during, and after class.

I find myself being a lot more thoughtful in my decision-making these days. I’m more patient, more willing to pause and consider all the implications and potential consequences of my actions. I’m also much more willing to Question the Status Quo and to propose different paths to a decision.

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