Live your biggest accomplishments in the SCU Leavey School of Business EMBA

You might think that Chrystine Villareal had enough on her plate as a mother of four and president of the start-up MixHalo (at the time of our discussion). Yet, she decided that she wanted to pursue more professional and personal growth and embarked on the Executive MBA (EMBA) at the Santa Clara University Leavey School of Business. We look back at her EMBA journey as she shared why she chose Santa Clara and just how trying, but rewarding, her journey was.

In short

Why an (E)MBA is the most difficult, but rewarding, thing you’ll ever do

Chrystine knew that she wanted to grow. She wanted to grow her company, her professional skill set, and her personal impact. That is why she joined the EMBA program at the Santa Clara University Leavey School of Business, committing to 20 months of spending every other weekend in class. She valued the fact that the program is “really designed towards professionals that have been in the workplace for 12 and 20 years.” (00:05) With networking being one of the key benefits of an MBA, she could be sure that her peers had the depth and scope of experience to be valuable to her.

 When describing her EMBA experience, Chrystine was quick to point out that it has been “the most trying, difficult and rewarding thing I’ve done,” adding that it is not about finding balance, but about prioritization. (00:22) “It’s to ensure that I’m meeting the needs while not completing dropping any of the balls,” she explains. (00:35

“I’m living probably my biggest accomplishment right now, running a start-up full-time, going to school full-time, and raising a family.” (00:11) However, she is adamant that the time she dedicated in the MBA to herself and to grow her business would ultimately pay off, despite the challenges it brings.

Chrystine also mentioned how, when thinking about embarking on the EMBA program, she had to understand that “academics is about taking a risk.” (01:43) She had to be ready to study subjects she had no background in. The SCU Leavey School of Business EMBA has subjects such as analytics, ethics, creativity, negotiations, and leadership impact as part of the curriculum. All this ensures that the program cultivates the entrepreneurial executives that Silicon Valley secretly desires.

Strong values and a tight-knit community at Santa Clara University

Chrystine had a few important reasons to choose Santa Clara as her EMBA institution. “Santa Clara has a strong value system and I knew that the curriculum would be based in that strong value system,” she mentions. (01:05) This would surely stand her in good stead as the importance of values in start-ups is becoming increasingly important

Chrystine also liked the tight-knit community at Santa Clara. “It has a reputation for working closely with students and providing strong support networks,” she explains. (01:19) Part of this support is connecting students with Silicon Valley leaders and executive panels through the EMBA Industry Group.

Another important factor for Chrystine was that she could follow the EMBA in her own community, thus building “relationships with people that I would work with in the future.” (01:32) These relationships go on to be a huge advantage for EMBA students, with the SCU Leavey School of Business boasting more than 17,000 alumni of which about 140 are in CEO positions.

Yet, perhaps the most important benefit of the SCU Leavey School of Business EMBA is what you gain from the journey. “The learning process itself has been incredibly fruitful for me and has allowed me to grow both professionally and also in my personal life,” Chrystine concludes. (01:47

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