Being a Mom while doing an MBA isn’t for the faint-hearted. But it shouldn’t put you off because many women out there are doing it. It’s always good to know what to expect though, and to learn from others’ experiences.
Marta Durany, MBA 21 at IESE Business School in Barcelona, is in this boat. She was starting her third year at Amazon when she decided to pursue an MBA, and she did so with a 4-month-old son in tow.
Here, she gives 5 tips for women like her:
Don’t Underestimate How Exciting This Double Role Can Be
“Dealing with two huge life changes in a short period of time, while in a fast-paced environment is challenging at the end of the day,” she says.
“However, it is super exciting to be a mom and student at the same time. I am surrounded by exceptional teammates and peers who see the world from different perspectives.
“Additionally, being a mom has changed and complemented the way I perceive the world. My priorities, time allocation, interests, and concerns all changed from the minute I knew I was pregnant. I suddenly saw the world in a different way.”
See It As The Couple’s MBA
“Know that this is not solely the Dad’s or the Mom’s MBA, this is the couple’s MBA. You both need to have it very clear from the start that this is a project for both parents regardless of who is enrolled in the MBA program,” says Durany.
“I always say that when I graduate, my MBA diploma should have both my husband Marcos’ name on it, as well as my own. I would not be successfully completing the MBA without his generous and endless support.
“It won’t be easy. You will need a military-like discipline, endure little sleep, and have no time to relax during the first 12 months. At some point, tensions will rise, and when they do, it is important that you both have a very clear sense of why you are doing the MBA and, above all, that you remember that you are an unbreakable team.”
Don’t Assume You’re Doing Worse Than Others
“If I could talk to myself a year ago, I would tell myself to stress less during the first term. Going straight from maternity leave to my first day in the MBA program was a shock. I had the sensation that my brain was asleep,” Durany explains.
“I remember breastfeeding my son during early mornings and late evenings while reading the first few cases and having to re-read them all over again later to truly understand them.
“Being surrounded by such smart people with my brain still in maternity leave mode was a hit to my self-esteem. It was only until after Christmas break with my first term grades in one hand and the internship offer that I wanted in the other that I realized that I wasn’t doing that bad and that maybe I should stop being so tough on myself.”
“Marcos and I have grown and learned a lot as a couple,” says Durany. “The experience has strengthened our marriage and we have seen our little baby become a little boy.”
“All the while I have been able to learn every day from peers, professors, cases, and projects. I have enjoyed lively conversations during lunch or dinners and played games on Tuesday evenings with my new friends. It has been the journey of a lifetime, equally demanding and exciting.”
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