Leading in Business and Life: Parenting and Earning an MBA without Missing a Beat

South32 Connectivity & Cyber Security Program Manager, Barbara Meyer knew she wanted to earn her MBA. Being a working mom, she needed a program that would fit into her busy schedule. Here is a note on her Quantic experience, why she believes all moms can achieve their professional goals, break down stereotypes, and become rockstar role models for their children:

Moms should feel welcome in MBA programs and not feel held back because child-bearing years and MBA programs coincide. Furthermore, moms should not be left having to choose between a family and furthering a career, through study. Although business schools have been encouraging more women to join master’s programs, they still have not reached gender parity. 

As a single mother of a toddler, I found myself in the middle of this dilemma. I realised that in supporting my daughter’s growth as an independent, strong, educated woman, I needed to be a role model for her. I needed to be the best version of myself and put myself in a position to advance my professional career. The tricky part was how to accomplish this without feeling like I was relinquishing responsibility and missing precious time with my daughter. 

As an IT program and project manager, I often thought that an MBA might provide me with a well rounded business foundation, which might be the next step to advance my career. However, everything I knew about traditional MBA courses seemed to be daunting: excessive cost, fixed on-site lectures or block periods, lengthy course durations, and sacrifices beyond my appetite. This was true until I came across an online invitation to a free MBA with Quantic.  

I was hooked. Everything I hoped to have in a MBA course was packaged into the Executive MBA online offering: it was not only flexible, mobile and affordable, but also pedagogically sound and ensured active student participation (the first 11 years of my career were spent as a STEM teacher), a global network of alumni, and best of all, it could be completed in 12 months.  

In the past eight months of studying, I found that the pace and schedule were manageable, while balancing my everyday life. I am very privileged to have flexible working hours and lots of support from my employer, South32. With the mobile application available 24/7, I used every spare five minutes to complete a learning unit. This happened during lunch time, sitting somewhere waiting in a queue, 15 minutes after I woke up or went to bed, and especially the time at night when the little one would wake up and I couldn’t fall back to sleep (don’t all moms know this midnight joy?). Thus far, it has been an enjoyable, highly interesting journey and well worth the effort. Even in this short time, I have been able to incorporate my learning into my day job and have applied some of the principles to make innovative changes.

Were there difficult times? Yes, especially during the time that we were both sick. Are the exams and assignments challenging? Yes, you must put in extra effort during exam week. Is the Quantic staff helpful and supportive? For sure, they know that students are human, life happens, and that there is always a plan to get back on schedule.   

The most pleasantly unexpected experience with my Executive MBA was during one of my exams, as highlighted in an email I wrote:

“I wanted to share with you a precious moment and why I love the format of the Quantic EMBA. I have been working diligently during the hours that my daughter is asleep (because I do not want to impact the little time we have during the day) and thus far, it has worked very well. I try to do most of my exams early in the morning, before she wakes up. At 5:15am, I settled in behind my machine, ready to take on the Operations and Project Management exam. Instead of her waking up as normal around 7am, she woke at 5:30am. Needless to say, I had a curious, happy-to-be-alive, wanting-to-be-with-mommy, toddler. I almost had a panic attack but decided to make the most of the situation.

As she played, I finished my exam through all the questions, requests and played along. The picture says it all. Although it took a little longer, the end result was a whopping 93% and a very happy little girl. I can’t think of a better result :-).

I hope that it can be an encouragement to more mothers out there; it is possible to complete the Quantic EMBA, tend to your family and work full-time. Thank you again Quantic for enabling continuous studies and making it possible to have fun doing it.”

It is my hope that more women will join the increasing network of MBA alumni. Quantic has gone the extra mile to make moms feel welcome in the Executive MBA program. Quantic has designed their Executive MBA program in such a way that a mom is not trapped in the compromises of choosing between career advancement, further studies and raising a family. Moms, let’s go forth to equip ourselves for professional success, model an example for our children, and help to break down barriers and stereotypes with an Executive MBA.