Reflections of an MBA Mom with Two Kids

For each one of these friends, their career was always important. However, as time went on, almost all of these friends eventually wanted to make time for family as well. Unfortunately, given the significant cost of attending a top-tier business school, many of these women faced decisions that are strikingly similar to those faced by post-MBA debt laden entrepreneurs looking to start up a business. With the increased debt load came reduced flexibility in making life altering decisions.

Many of them still succeeded in their efforts to raise a family, but sometimes at significant costs. Some friends were forced to move to lower cost of living areas, sometimes causing them to forfeit their hard earned career at their previous company. Others began to work around the clock as they tried to balance the demands of a post-MBA career with the unyielding demands of a newborn.

All of my friends eventually found balance, and few would have planned their life any other way. My intent in outlining these scenarios is to highlight the relatively low risk that a mother going into business school faces when compared to some of her classmates. Working mothers who are focused on enhancing their career have the experience and stability needed to help manage a post-MBA career over the long term to ensure proper return on the MBA investment.

I am just one example of this. As an associate product manager at an industrial heating, ventilating and air conditioning company, I have had my eyes opened to just how demanding a career in product management can be and I have learned to balance my family time accordingly. Although I am sure my post-MBA career demands will be ever more challenging, I am confident that my prior experiences as both a manager and a mother will make my post-MBA career all that much more manageable and rewarding.

I look forward to attending business school in the fall not in spite of being a mother, but because I am a mother. It is not without its significant challenges, but what professional life of any mother is?

Carolyn Austring will attend the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business this fall as a full-time MBA student. She moved to Charlottesville, Va., from northern Virginia a year ago to target Darden for her MBA program.


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