Jul 10 • 4 min read

For years, an MBA is how professionals have gotten from A to B in their careers. The MBA bump, as it is commonly called, usually manifests as a salary increase or a promotion. These days, it’s not uncommon for the MBA bump to coincide with the baby bump.

So how can you learn to balance budget sheets and build your career? Here are some tips from current and former Fox School MBA students who have juggled parenting and pursuing MBAs, all while making professional strides. 

Schedule everything

Because communications executive Kristi DeSimone, MBA ’17, was accustomed to working virtually, she knew the Fox School’s Online MBA program was the right fit for her. 

“The program gave me the freedom to take courses in my house or while I’m traveling. I was able to do coursework and talk to classmates at my convenience,” says DeSimone.

DeSimone “scheduled everything,” she says. She delivered her daughter via a scheduled c-section only a few days after DeSimone finished a finance course. DeSimone graduated in December 2017, just before her maternity leave expired.

The MBA also helped her build the skills she needed to pivot and expand the reach of her career possibilities. Today, DeSimone works as a director at Comcast leading retail communication strategy. She also recently assumed human resources responsibilities after finishing her MBA with a concentration in human resource management.

Kristi with her daughter on graduation day

Rely on your support system

When Rory McCale, MBA ’19, enrolled in the Fox Part-Time MBA program in 2017, he had recently relocated to the Philadelphia region, started a new job in surety insurance, bought and sold a home and welcomed a baby daughter—all within a four-week span.

“Needless to say, it was hectic,” McCale says. “And the pace didn’t slow for me as our family grew by one more during my last year in the program.”

With his schedule constantly changing, he relied on late hours and early mornings, as well as the support of his wife, family and friends, to stay ahead. 

“The flexibility of the program has been a huge help,” McCale says. “Without support from my wife and from within the program, I couldn’t have held it together.”

The added chaos at home helped him develop stringent time management skills to meet deadlines and balance home, school and work. 

“The skills developed and lessons learned throughout my time at the Fox School are experiences I will have in my tool bag forever,” says McCale. “I was able to leverage my experience at Fox into a new position with a well-respected insurer, which was all I could ask for when I entered the program.”

Rory McCale with wife and two children

Set expectations

When Christine President, MBA ’18, started the Fox Executive MBA program, her daughter had just entered high school. The two would often spend time together working on their homework. “It was a good example for her to see that her mother was in the same boat as her in terms of completing projects, meeting deadlines and studying,” says President.

She knew her responsibilities as her family’s primary caretaker was not going to let up over the course of her 18 months in the program, so she worked with her classmates on establishing a structure for success. 

Developing monthly agendas, scheduling conference calls and rotating who was to take the lead on assignments helped President allocate time for the program and parenting.

“As a female, you may have an enhanced amount of responsibilities in comparison to your male classmates, who may have the luxury of having a spouse who can care for family,” says President. “Allow time for the program, your career and your life by establishing structure within your teams and setting your expectations for yourself and teammates.”

Today, President applies the skills she learned in the program to her role as an area business manager for a major pharmaceutical company–a position she landed in part due to her advanced degree and years of experience in the industry.

Christine President with daughter on graduation day

Communicate your needs

Alexandra Safir, MBA ’19, was nine months pregnant when she relocated from Washington, D.C., to Philadelphia for her husband’s job. She took the following year off and used some of that time to apply to MBA programs.

She enrolled in the Fox Global MBA program and worked to find a balance between full-time schoolwork and full-time motherhood. Safir would sometimes hold meetings with her teammates at her house so she could watch her daughter and work at the same time. 

Today, Safir works as a consultant at Gartner, using the language and skills she learned in the Fox GMBA program to communicate and set expectations with clients and colleagues in the private sector.

“Something from my MBA I use on a day-to-day basis is setting expectations with my teammates,” says Safir. “I’m also really clear about communicating my personal needs now and attempting to balance those with my professional responsibilities.”

Safir and her family

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