Why Chicago Booth?
Chicago Booth is a really special place with very special people. I’ve had conversations at Chicago Booth that I haven’t had anywhere else in my life. Attending an Admissions event is what really solidified my choice to come here. I met three female Booth students who were so impressive, smart, kind, and motivated. I remember talking to them and thinking that I wanted to be like those women. Not only were they great at that event, but some of them actually helped me with the admissions process by reading my essays and coaching me on my interviews. That willingness to get involved was so different than students at other MBA programs I looked at. It seemed like they were genuinely interested in helping me be successful. I thought, if they were this supportive and I’m not even a student yet, how is this actually going to be when I’m part of the program? The people I met at Booth were so different and so genuine.
How did your pregnancy impact your Chicago Booth experience?
I LAUNCHED (attended Orientation) in Fall of 2018 and found out I was pregnant January of 2020. My plan was always to graduate in Spring 2021, but I also wanted to take a break right when I had my son so I wouldn’t be trying to juggle everything while I had a brand new baby. What really helped me was the flexibility of Chicago Booth’s program because I was able to take extra classes leading up to my son’s birth. That way, I could take Autumn Quarter off when he was born and still graduate on time.
For the Summer Quarter, when I was getting ready to bid on classes, I looked at my calendar and realized that finals week was the same week as my due date. I had two classes I really wanted to take so I could finish some concentrations. I emailed the professors to tell them about the situation and see if they could work with me if I went into labor early, or if it was best to take another class. Within 24 hours, both of them responded and said they would love to have me in class and that we would figure things out. I ended up going into labor the day before one of my finals and had my husband email my professor to let him know. So it was not only the program that was flexible, but the professors as well. I was able to wrap up my finals a few weeks later after recovering from childbirth.
Tell us about juggling school, career, and family
It has been harder and more challenging than I could ever have anticipated. A lot of that was due to Covid as well. My husband and I were living in an apartment in downtown Chicago, during a pandemic, while working from home with a newborn. My husband is actually a Chicago Booth grad as well and having that support from him has made all the difference. He understands what it takes to be successful at Chicago Booth from a time, energy, and focus standpoint. Having a partner who is willing to be in this 110% with me has been incredible. He has been a super dad so I could be fully present, not just during classes, but also for group meetings and homework. We don’t have family in Chicago so it’s really just the two of us in this together. I’m grateful that my husband knew the situation I was in and he recognized that this was a priority in my life and was willing to make sacrifices.
What is the biggest challenge in pursuing an MBA as a parent?
I think Boothies in general are perfectionists in a lot of ways. We want to be the best at what we do in everything that we do. What I’ve realized in becoming a parent is that things are not going to be perfect, and I have to give myself a lot of grace. Everyone always told me that parenting was going to be hard but that it was going to be worth it, and I didn’t truly understand until having my son. There are some days where I feel like SuperWoman — work went well, I had a great class, the baby had a good day, and I got to spend time with my husband. Other days, I am on the verge of tears wondering how I’m going to make it work. You have both ends of the spectrum. I fully believe that God gives us what we can handle so my mantra has been “if this wasn’t meant to be for me, I wouldn’t have all this on my plate.”. Having that belief deep down has helped me get through those hard days. Yes, it has been incredibly challenging, but I also know that doing my MBA and working full-time is going to set a great example for my son. It’s made me stronger, more confident, and a better mother.