I started Booth’s full-time MBA program when my daughter, Grace, was 10 months old. When choosing an MBA path, I did a lot of soul-searching and decided that my aspirations to start a family and get an MBA from a top school were not mutually exclusive. My day-to-day routine may look a little different from most of my classmates, since I build in time for things like daycare drop-off and bath time, but my Booth experience is still robust and rewarding.
Given what I know now, if I could go back and choose a different path, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Later this year, we’ll welcome our second daughter to the family and experience the challenges of two kids under two, but nothing drives me more than being a role model for my kids, and I know the Booth experience will set me up for success in that regard.
I didn’t question my decision to start my MBA with an infant – I just did it. I am almost one year into the program and my son, Ethan, is 14 months old. I can confirm that it is possible to “do Booth with a kid.”
You may wonder, “how does one do it?” First, I am very thoughtful about my schedule. While I skipped the (in)famous Colombia trek and rarely come to TNDC, I find time for everything that matters to me, whether its Booth programming or bath time for my son. Second, constant coordination with my spouse and setting expectations about the intensity of the program allows us to co-parent while simultaneously making these two years productive for us. Lastly, having a strong support network with my Booth peers is crucial. I have had to spontaneously bring my toddler along to study groups and have him crawl around the study room while we worked.
Between motherhood, relocating from Israel to Chicago, and starting my MBA at Booth, this year has been full of new experiences. Beyond proving to myself that it is possible to both parent and study, I found coming here with my family to be extremely rewarding for all of us.
My husband and I came to Booth as a married couple, so I knew that our MBA experience wouldn’t feature as many crazy Thursdays as those of our younger colleagues. But add a pregnancy (and our baby Olivia!) to that, and I can say that I have had a different kind of crazy. My 3am runs to 7-Eleven don’t feature Gatorade and hot dogs, but Haagen Dazs with salt & vinegar chips.
I’m fortunate to have a deep support system of family, friends and school advisors who have helped shape my final year – and pregnancy – into an exciting and memorable experience. With planning, Booth’s flexible curriculum allowed me to take a reduced load in my final quarter to spend full-time with my daughter. Advice and support from Careers Services, Student Life and OIA optimized my strategy to make the most of classes, keep up with my student group co-chairing and maintain my social life. The close-knit Mothers-at-Booth group was indispensable! Of course, my MBA memory won’t be of ski trips or Wine Club events. It will be of more sleepless nights and visits to the doctor. But I wouldn’t swap this experience for any other.
If you’re thinking of starting a family during your MBA, then know that you can do it your way. It is challenging but also as wholly memorable. Mothers-at-Booth wishes all mothers a very Happy Mothers’ Day!