What to Expect When You're Expecting During Your MBA

Successfully completing a two-year MBA program can be difficult. But when you are expecting a child, the demands on your time can pose even more of a challenge. According to its class profile at University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business, the 2019-2020 full-time MBA cohort averages 30 years of age. That means many students are faced with the additional challenge of balancing new additions to their families while going through the program.

One of the biggest challenges can be finding the necessary time to do assignments and group work while adjusting to life as a new parent. A first-time parent and new to the United States, Bolaji Vincent, Class of 2020, knows the struggle firsthand. His baby boy was born just weeks into the start of the MBA program. “Sleep deprivation was a challenge for me, especially during the first few months,” he said. “I had to wake up for my 8 a.m. classes after being awake all night caring for the baby.” Going through the demanding MBA curriculum is challenging, particularly when you’re short on sleep!

However, Bolaji said the challenge ultimately helped him. Former British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli once said, “There is no education like adversity.” To cope with the new demands on his time, Bolaji ultimately developed new skills that are helping him become a more well-rounded professional. “I got better at time management and prioritization. I wouldn’t say I didn’t have these skills before, but I learned the importance of saying ‘No’ to things that are not important. These skills helped me manage my time and made me a more effective and efficient individual.”

Because many students become parents while in the program or already have kids at home, it is important to understand that challenges do persist when having a family while attending a full-time MBA program. However, pressure makes diamonds, and as future business leaders, these types of experiences are exactly what is needed to become skilled professionals, capable of handling and thriving in any situation.

–By Ashraf Khan. Khan is a 2020 MBA candidate and dean's fellow at Maryland Smith. He is originally from Potomac, Md., and worked as a civil engineer in the Washington, D.C., area prior to pursuing an MBA with a concentration in marketing.

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