David Haase is the CEO of Peninsula Accounting Services in San Francisco. Haase earned a master's degree in business management from Stanford University.
Why did you pursue a master's degree?
"I pursued a master's degree to figure out what I wanted to do with my life, and open up opportunities that might otherwise be closed. I went to Stanford not only because it was a great school but because of the program focus on entrepreneurship."
What would you tell someone who is considering returning to school to earn a master's degree?
"I would tell a master's degree candidate to make sure they know what doors the degree will open and to think about the careers on the other side. Their time is quite valuable and understanding how this helps you get where you want to go will be worthwhile. A master's is merely a means to an end – you should know the end you desire before you decide to pursue the degree."
What was the biggest challenge you faced when pursuing your master's degree?
"The biggest challenge for me was probably the cost. Taking two years off cost me over $200k in salary and likely delayed a promotion. The degree was another $100k in tuition. My family had to move and my wife had to change jobs. That's a huge investment. I have talked to many people who want to get an M.B.A. but can't get over the cost. I encourage potential candidates to carefully consider the likely benefit vs. the cost – this is likely one of the largest investments you will make in your lifetime."
What was the biggest reward for earning the master's degree?
"The biggest reward I got from my M.B.A. was access to a network of remarkable business leaders. A few have become my closest friends, and many continue to inspire me to dream big. The classroom curriculum was great, but in two years you can only learn so much. Stanford taught me to continually pursue learning and aspire to make changes on a broader scale, and this affects my outlook and pursuits to this day."
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
for more features.