Annie Ma-Weaver is head of an operations team at Google. Ma-Weaver is in charge of sales operations for emerging businesses for the Google for Work division. She decided to return to school to earn a master's degree from the University of California at Berkeley.
Why are you pursuing a master's degree?
"I'm pursuing an M.B.A. for three reasons: the credential, the academics and the people. A senior leader at Google told me that she had gotten her first executive role because of her M.B.A.; the other candidate had equal work experience but lacked the degree. She urged me to pursue a M.B.A. so that not having one was never the reason I didn't get a role or opportunity. I had been working for about five years in operations when I started my M.B.A.. I wanted to learn about the areas of business – such as finance, accounting and strategy – that I hadn't worked in and round out my knowledge of business. Finally, I wanted to meet like-minded business people and make connections outside of Google, where I've worked over the last five plus years. I especially wanted to meet and connect with fellow women leaders and work together with them on the shared problems we face as minorities in the workplace."
What would you tell someone who is considering returning to school to earn a master's degree?
"I would consider whether it's possible to do the master's degree part-time. I'm currently working full-time at Google while earning my M.B.A. from Berkeley. For me, getting to learn about business and then apply it immediately has been immensely rewarding. I can also bring lessons from the workplace to classroom discussions. Finally the opportunity cost of earning a master's degree is greatly reduced by continuing to earn an income while studying."
What was the biggest challenge you have faced so far while pursuing your master's degree?
"Balancing the demands of a full-time job, part-time program, and supporting my husband's growing business."
What has been the biggest reward so far in your educational pursuit?
"I have met many interesting, smart and driven people through the program, some of whom have become close friends. I would not have found this diverse a group of individuals organically, especially since my husband and I originally hail from the east coast. Having a group of motivated and supportive peers who share an interest in business has been helpful."
Robin D. Everson is a native Chicagoan who resides in Dallas, Texas. Her appreciation for art, food, wine, people and places has helped her become a well-respected journalist. A life-long lover of education, Robin seeks to learn and enlighten others about culture. You can find her work at Examiner.com
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