For some students, including parents, earning an MBA requires extra determination. Holly Miller, a Full-Time MBA student from Albion, Michigan, says balancing school and family is doable—it just takes focus and commitment.
Miller, 40, has three school-age children and commutes to Broad each day from her home an hour away. During gaps between classes, she studies in the library or meets with her team. Usually, she says, she’s able to make it home in time to be with her children for a couple of hours before bed. She and her husband agree that she gets one day each weekend for schoolwork.
“The program is really a lot of work, and I think the expectations are high, but reasonable,” she says. “If you treat it like a job, I think that keeps it all in perspective.”
Miller, whose concentration is in corporate finance, spent several years working in public accounting with PwC. There, she worked primarily with software Internet companies, some of which went public. The job, she says, was interesting and intense.
“But I was always on the outside looking in at my clients,” she continues. “I wanted to be on the inside.”
In 2005, Miller and her family returned to Michigan from out west. She took a job as an internal auditor, a job that required independence and objectivity—not the feeling of working from the inside that Miller craved. She had long wanted to earn her MBA and decided that, with her three children now all in school, it was time to do it.
“I really want to broaden my skill set and do something more than just accounting,” Miller says. “I want to leverage that skill, but use it to look at a business as a whole. My ideal job would be to use data—financial models and tools—to make decisions that benefit the company.”
Miller says she was drawn to Broad because of the program’s intimate size.
“I really enjoy knowing people on a deeper level rather than just being in a sea of people,” Miller says. “I knew I would make more connections and find my place a little bit easier at Broad.”
The second layer to Broad’s appeal, she says, was its family-friendly atmosphere.
“That was huge to me,” she says. “When you get on campus, you see how family members are really treated. For the admitted student program, Broad provided a travel stipend, and it was more if your spouse wanted to travel with you. Already a priority was being put on family—it was an understanding that it’s not just an individual decision, but one for the family to make.”
Miller is a Forte Fellow and participates in the Broad Women MBA Association, which, she says, “has been fabulous.”
“We had a variety of opportunities available to us,” she says. “We had a breakfast in Detroit before the auto show with other women professionals. Bosch did a golf outing with us. I really value having the support of other women who are trying to do the same thing. There’s a camaraderie there.”
Miller also was recently elected president of the MBA Finance Association. The association’s role is to help students navigate the working world and build their network.
Miller is doing that herself, spending her summer in an internship with General Motors’ supply chain finance group. She credits Broad’s Career Services Center for helping her land the position.