Did you have any apprehension when entering the program with a significant other, child or pet?
Dave Smith, MBA ‘19 - I moved from Cincinnati to Boulder with my long term girlfriend to start the MBA program at CU. Halfway through my first semester we adopted a dog from the Boulder Humane Society. On the surface this seems like a lot to manage, however, I found the experience much less challenging than anticipated.
Eric Bendall, MBA ‘19 - I didn't have much apprehension when entering the program. I was considering between CU Denver and Boulder and decided on Boulder because they provided day time classes whereas the Denver campus only offered night classes. This enabled me to see my wife in the evenings after she got off work, as opposed to the Denver program, which wouldn't have allowed me to spend much time with my family.
Jess Haggard, MBA ‘20 - My work schedule before I joined the program was crazy, so to be honest, I was looking forward to having a college-style schedule again. I definitely underestimated how much time clubs, networking events and group meetings would take up, but I make it work so that my dog gets more than enough time to enjoy Boulder every day.
Vrinda Krishnankutty Jayashree, MBA ‘19 - When I was admitted to the MBA program, my daughter had just turned 3 years old and though I was excited, I had some worries about juggling family obligations with school. Luckily, I received strong support and encouragement from my husband, parents and brother making me feel confident and comfortable. My little one has also been extremely cooperative so far and no matter how young your child may be, I think it is important let them know what you are trying to achieve and why it’s so important.
Ben Cloud, MBA ‘19 - I was a bit nervous, as my partner remained in Denver when I came to Boulder. However, it ended up working pretty well for us. He is a consultant, so we are both pretty busy during the week. We focus during the week, and spend quality time together over weekends and breaks.
Lindsey Ritter, MBA ‘19 - Since I was local to Denver and already commuting to a Boulder job, I wasn't especially concerned with the change. Having a significant other has been a great support system for me in school. My fiancé, family and friends were all extremely supportive of my choice to go back to school to advance my career. I did however go back and forth between the full-time and executive programs and ultimately chose the full-time program to make sure I’d still have time for my fiancé. Despite the income loss of leaving my job, the executive program on top of my work schedule was a tougher sell for me, considering the time commitments I like to have in my personal life. I found a way to make it work!
What are your strategies for balancing school work and career development with a significant other, child or pet?
Dave - Transparency is the best way to balance the MBA program and a relationship with a significant other and/or a pet. Setting expectations with honest conversations about competing responsibilities is crucial. It is busy, but there is always enough time in the day for everything if you set boundaries with your teammates and yourself. At the end of the day it is AND not OR.
Eric - When I am at school, I strive to get as much homework done as possible and when I'm at home, I like to enjoy time with my family. Having a baby made things trickier, but we work really hard to make sure that our baby has a schedule. For example, during her naps, I try to finish all my homework.
Jess - I think Boulder makes it easier than any other city I've lived in. There are parks on every other corner and tons of trails that I can take my dog on within 10 minutes of my house. When I learn about club meetings or networking events, I make sure to put them on my calendar so that I can plan my weeks in advance. My group and I also had a conversation the first time we met about commitments we should all be mindful of outside of school.
Vrinda - Discipline, determination, and daily prioritization are the keys! Wisely managing your time and being mindful of your family will help throughout the program. We all have the unique ability to find ways to fit everything into our schedule. At times things will be overwhelming but maintain focus on your end-game - mine is the desire to accelerate my career and learn more about how to solve business problems.
What would be your advice to someone on the fence about enrolling in an MBA program with a significant other, child or pet?
Jess - Don't be! Everyone I've met in the program has been extremely helpful and supportive! My group is very understanding of my schedule and they're always willing to work around it. Plus, Boulder is a very dog-friendly city! I can't imagine any other place where I could give my dog a better life.
Ben - You can do it! While school is certainly demanding, you will also enjoy flexibility you never had when working full-time. That flexibility makes it very possible to still be a great partner, parent, etc. despite being a full-time student. Also, if you are really on the fence because you have a dog, just bring them. You’ll have free/cheap dog sitters for 2 years. MBA students LOVE dogs.
Lindsey - I think it’s important to communicate with your partner the needs of your new schedule, possible evenings at events or working on homework, and/or a new income level and how that may affect both of your lifestyles to make sure they are on board. Ensure the you’re a team and when things get busy at school, they don’t mind lending a helping hand.
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