Happy Father’s Day to our students, alumni and staff! Josh Holm, a Weekend MBA student, associate at Goldman Sachs and father of two, chats with us about Booth and how he juggles school, career and family.
Why did you choose Booth?
I originally planned to pursue a career in medicine, but decided to shift to business and wanted to gain a more firm skill set in that area. Life happened, I got married and had kids, and the idea of pursuing a full-time MBA program was no longer possible for me. I began to look at enrolling in a part-time MBA and my interest was piqued when I attended a Booth event. What really drove me to the program outside of having a positive networking experience with former students, was visiting Booth and attending a class. The quality of teaching set the program apart for me. The professor was incredibly engaging and it was meaningful to me to see how the students interacted with him.
You transferred from the Goldman Sachs office in Salt Lake City to the office in Chicago. What was that process like and what advice would you have for prospective students looking to move cities?
Up front, I started discussing the idea of potentially going to school with my employer. I had an open dialogue with my managers and once I was accepted into the program, they were very supportive in helping me find additional opportunities at Goldman. I ended up securing my new role by both making contacts on my own and reaching out to former Booth students at the firm. My goal was to be as transparent as possible.
If you’re able to start a new role earlier on in the program, that would be ideal. But at the end of the day you have to do what is best for you and your career. The flexibility of the program is there- you can take a quarter off to start a new role or relocate, or move your workload from multiple classes to one class to help.
You ended up in Chicago, yet decided to enroll in the Weekend Program. Why is that?
Once I relocated, I was getting into a new role. I didn’t know how time consuming it was going to be and what time I’d be able to leave the office on a regular basis. I wanted to alleviate the stress so chose to stay in the Weekend program. Also, after a certain phase you can bid for classes outside of our program, so evening classes were an option as well. I find that taking one class during the week and one on Saturday provides a good balance of being able to break up and manage my responsibilities for each of the classes.
How did your family adjust to this transition?
The thought of picking up and moving was a real challenge. My older daughter especially had an established routine and friends in Utah. We decided to move into a suburb of Chicago that more closely resembled our suburb of Salt Lake City. The integration process was as smooth as it could be for relocating a family with young kids. They started school pretty quickly and it allowed them to immediately make friends. Being able to hit the ground running helped establish some normalization. By the end of the first week of school, my older daughter told us how much she loved being here.
How do you juggle school, career and family?
I appreciate that word ‘juggle’ because in my opinion, society has this belief and concept that we can find a balance. For me, balance is not the appropriate word because it takes this idea that you’re going to be able to portion an equal amount of time to each activity. Realistically, you juggle the responsibilities you have. There are certain times I allocate my time and attention to my family. For example, my daughter has a dance recital coming up and I rearranged my school schedule to attend evening class that week so I could make it. During her recital, I’ll be fully engaged in that activity and will be there to support her. I won’t worry about school or work during that time. However, there are other times when I need to focus on school or work and my family takes a little bit of a backseat. For me, it’s about trying to figure out the events that are important to my children, to rearrange my school and work life and be fully engaged so that the quality of time I give is the best possible.
My spouse has been incredibly supportive. Over our 12 years of marriage we have spent time supporting each other in our endeavors. We each spent time working while the other was in school at various points. We understand that there’s a give and take- she had time to get an education and take on various internships and now has shifted to support me. I’ve been really fortunate in that way.
Libby Smoler is a marketing specialist for the Evening and Weekend MBA Programs.