MBA Mamas: The B-School 1% Share Their Perspective

As part of Wharton’s Women in Business takeover of the Wharton Journal, I copy edited two submissions from first year MBA Mamas who shared their unique perspectives on pre-term, Wharton’s 3-week long orientation for incoming MBA students. The following is republished from their original source, the Wharton Journal.

The Warmest Hugs
By: Nazik Zhumalieva, Wharton Class of 2018

Physically and emotionally tired after a long and exciting day of meeting people during pre-term, I would rush back home with anticipation. Because the moment I would open the door, my kids would run to me with the sweetest cries, “Mama, mama, mommy came!” My children have been my biggest cheerleaders throughout my career and MBA journey.

Today I represent 1 percent of female students in the class of 2018 who happen to be moms.

There are four of us. Each of our stories and current circumstances are totally different. Here is a glimpse of mine.

My family is quite unusual in a patriarchal society like Kyrgyzstan, my home country. My husband chose to become a stay-at-home dad 4.5 years ago when our first child was born. Since then, he has supported my career aspirations while taking care of our children. I was always working a full-time job and was committed to several social educational projects. For the last 1.5 years, I spent several hours a week studying for the GMAT and preparing my business schools applications.

Being a Mother @ Wharton means that my day typically starts earlier and ends later than my peers, that I would skip the White Party to ride a bike with a 4-year old, that part of my student budget is allocated to giant packs of diapers, that I keep a spreadsheet with a detailed analysis of the daycare market in Philadelphia.

But it also means that whatever happens during the day, I always get the warmest hugs and the sweetest love from the most important people in my life when I come home.

How an MBA mom experiences preterm
By: Smita Mukherjee, Wharton Class of 2018

Like other first years, I was very excited about pre-term. But during this time, I was keenly aware that I wanted to balance my pre-term activities with quality time with my husband and son. For example, I went to a Health Care Management dinner followed by karaoke, and while I thoroughly enjoyed the multiple-course Chinese dinner, I knew that as the night progressed, it was time for me to quietly slip out. I knew that my 3-year-old son was waiting in the car to pick up his mommy. It’s a precious feeling to see my son at the end of a hectic day, and knowing that I would be able to put him to sleep was exactly what I needed to get ready for my next day.

Thinking ahead, I am pretty sure that I will be making many similar decisions, because I want to be able to balance both my professional and personal life as a Wharton mom. I still remember how happy I was to hear from my husband that my son screamed “Mommy dancing” when he saw me on stage for the Cluster 3 dance performance during the Olympics!

I know my little guy will be my loudest cheerleader, not just at the Cluster dance-off, but throughout my MBA. I also know that I am able to embark on this amazing journey at Wharton because of the immense support from my family. Nothing comforts me more than knowing that my Wharton family members view each of us as equals, understand our unique situations, embrace our differences, and celebrate diversity as one of our greatest strengths.

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