Can you succeed at being a working mom and an MBA student?
According to Jack Welch MBA Healthcare Concentration student and MBA mom, Melissa Victoria, the answer is a resounding, YES! On this Mother’s Day Weekend, we celebrate all of the moms who have encouraged us to strive for our goals and all the JWMI moms who as students balance work, school, life, and the demands of motherhood.
JWMI’s online MBA provides the flexibility for students, and moms like Melissa, to achieve their goals.
She shares her MBA mom story:
MELISSA VICTORIA MS, PMP & MBA MOM
Associate Director, Global Project Management at PPD
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE AN MBA MOM?
I began my MBA journey the week before my daughter Emma was born. As you can imagine, October of 2017, was an especially exciting month as I was not only a new MBA student but also a first-time mother. Naturally, I was both excited and terrified at the same time. I am currently completing my 2nd to last class in the program. Emma will be one month shy of 3 years old when I finish in September of this year.
Emma is still quite young and doesn’t understand that I am in school. To ensure I am there for every milestone she achieves, I generally read or complete assignments while she is napping or after she goes to bed for the night. She is growing so fast and is quite interested in the world around her. I want to make sure I am doing all I can to continue to cultivate her endless curiosity. It’s something my mom did for me, and I hope to instill for her.
She helps with homework, and “highlights” what she feels is important.
HOW DID YOU NAVIGATE BEING A WORKING MOM IN THE MBA PROGRAM?
I was on maternity leave for the first class and half I took. This “work-free” time allowed me to get accustomed to the online routine and to develop a schedule that incorporated my daughter’s care before adding in work responsibilities. I utilized Emma’s nap times to complete classwork and to minimize working at night, given my level of exhaustion from lack of sleep that any mom can appreciate.
My “best practices” for completing schoolwork have evolved as Emma has grown. Regardless of her stage of life, the regimented schedule I created ensured I did not sacrifice time spent with my family, husband, or daughter. When Emma’s nap schedule was reduced from every few hours to two naps per day and then one nap per day, I shifted the time I dedicated for school to after she went to bed for the night. I learned to maximize my efficiency at work during the day, as I no longer had the luxury or bandwidth to allocate additional time in the evenings to complete work responsibilities.
The JWMI program taught me how to hold my team accountable for their duties at work, taking the additional burden off of me. Project and time management skills became critical to balancing it all, ensuring one commitment is not done at the expense of another. Sleep has and continues to be the only consistent sacrifice I make. This is a sacrifice I will gladly continue making until I complete my MBA.
We sometimes read together, which usually results in Emma ripping a page (or two).
PLEASE SHARE ANY ADVICE FOR PARENTS EMBARKING ON THE MBA JOURNEY.
For those thinking about pursuing your MBA, what I can promise you is that there will never be the ‘perfect’ time to start. When you are ready, my advice is to go for it and register for your first class. As a parent, you are already proficient at balancing your work, home, and personal priorities. Once enrolled, you will be surprised at how quickly you identify ways to fit the time you need to complete your assignments along with your other day-to-day responsibilities.
For those about to embark on the journey, my advice is to use the many resources available to you and do not be afraid to ask for help or extra time from your professor when you need it. This lesson took a few semesters for me to learn, and I am glad I did as it helped reduce stress during weeks when competing priorities at work or home took precedence over additional time required for school. You are completing a degree at a different stage in your life, and your professors are keenly aware of this. It is incredible the support structure that is available if and when you need it as a result. If you have a question about an assignment, do not be afraid to reach out and ask for additional clarification. The same goes for your support system at home, which I was equally thankful to have when I needed it while completing the program. Work smarter, not harder to make the most out of your precious time.
It goes without saying that I get the most work for my MBA done while she sleeps. But, sometimes, she likes to “help” with assignments or imitate me on the computer.
To all the mothers pursuing their MBA, mothers who earned an MBA while raising a child, and to the mothers everywhere who pushed us to achieve our goals….
Happy Mother’s Day!
Connect with Melissa (Serrano) Victoria, MS, PMP on Linkedin
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