By Anat Gotfried ‘14
We all know what it’s like to wait by the phone for that call from admissions. We envision the voice on the other end saying ‘congratulations’ and us breathing a sigh of relief. I hate to admit it, but I completely forgot that that day had come. Four days earlier, I had given birth to my son, Eden, and Booth was the last thing on my mind. It must have seemed a bit excessive to cry on the phone when I heard the news but hormones had taken control over my body and it was pointless to resist. I knew then, that my MBA experience would be different but I had no idea just how much.
The first thing I learned was that I needed to really prioritize in order to make the right decisions. My priority list is: 1) Family 2) Internship / Full-time position 3) Network and 4) Degree. This may seem simple but it gets complicated when you have to constantly ask yourself ‘If I work on interview prep for one more hour, is it worth not spending that hour with my son? Will that extra hour determine whether I get an offer? Get an A?’ Most of the time, if I had gotten to the point where I had to ask those questions, the answer was a flat ‘No’.
Another valuable lesson I learned was to act relaxed. It may not sound like advice but forcing yourself to be perceived as relaxed actually relaxes you. Someone once told me that if a child senses that you are stressed, they become stressed as well causing an endless stress spiral. The only thing that should be stressful is anything related to my sons’ health, everything else should be somewhat relaxed. This would have been useful to know earlier in life.
Sometimes you just do what you have to do. I can still remember handing my son over to Dean Kole during the LEAD retreat in Wisconsin in order to go to the breakfast buffet. I’ve had conference calls with Elmo in the background, group meetings in my apartment after my son was asleep, I even used him in a video for a case competition, and you can be sure he will make an appearance at graduation. This relates to a common disorder I call ‘First Child Denial’ or FCD, which is when you continue your life as usual and bring your baby with you wherever you go. If you have ever seen a group of young parents with babies standing outside a crowded tent at a beer festival or in a loud crowded restaurant, you have witnessed victims of FCD first hand.
I like to think my Booth experience was enhanced with a crash course in real priorities, time management, delegation, and managing people. In the end, I’ll have the same degree as my peers, the job that I wanted, and shortly after graduation, a baby girl. This is not to say that I haven’t had my share of difficulties with a husband who travels every week and a decreasing social life, but I’m not the complaining type. Although this is not how I envisioned my MBA experience, I’m happy whenever I come home to my son’s big eyes and I honestly wouldn’t have done it any other way.
Anat Gotfried has experience in computer programming, marketing, equity research and consulting. She is also a two time Ironman triathlete and will be joining Kraft as an ABM following graduation.