The thought alone of going back to school to take up an executive MBA could seem daunting for the working mother, given the perceived challenges that come with juggling family, career, and studies. But the benefits are tempting; it can open up more career opportunities, getting higher pay and being more financially-equipped to provide for the family.
For these three moms, taking up the Executive MBA program at the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) was a journey that has tremendously helped them in their roles at home and at work. The Executive MBA program helped them realize that anything is possible despite the challenges that come with motherhood, no matter the stage you might be in.
Marv Nazareno-Miranda Mom of three, communications director of a pharmaceutical company, and breastfeeding advocate
Before I started, I knew that being a student was another responsibility on top of my other roles, which meant more time away from my kids and work (my husband works abroad). There were a lot of trade-offs, and for me, it was sacrificing sleep and time for myself. I would do my homework right after the kids go to bed at night. In the morning, I would go to work, and there were times when I didn't see one of my kids because of the class schedules.
I couldn't have done it all without my parents, my husband, my siblings, my co-workers, and my classmates. During Term 1, I was still breastfeeding, and the school provided me a private space where I could express my milk. My kids were also welcome to visit the school whenever there were scheduling mishaps.
After completing the program, I have become calmer, more patient, and more understanding in the workplace. Studying has improved my confidence to lead and influence others at the workplace.
My advice to other moms who are thinking of taking up graduate studies is to learn to trust and rely on others for help. Let things go, and do not dwell on the setbacks. Without the people around me, I wouldn’t be able to manage everything at the same time. You also need to learn how to explain to your kids, especially if they’re young, that there is a time for family and for school or work. Make sure to have time for massages and spas every so often.
Dolores Elegado Single mom to two daughters and a special-needs son; currently involved in finance, operations, and administration departments in her father’s company
I am a mother, father, and student now. My son, who has Down syndrome, is used to having me home by 7:30 p.m. for dinner. Now that I’m in school, he doesn’t fully understand when I explain to him that I have class, and would wait up for me on days when I come home late. But I make it a point to have dinner with the kids when I have no school. My son and my two daughters, who help take care of the family, are my biggest sources of motivation.
To make my set-up work, communication at home, at work, and with close friends is key. It’s a matter of commitment from all parties.
At first, I was planning to just take over my father’s company once he steps down. After almost two semesters, I’ve begun to think of starting my own business after graduation. I’ve learned that leadership is not about the leader. It’s about the people around you.
For mothers who are considering taking an Executive MBA, make sure your family is [involved] in it, because it’s not only you who will do the work. Get their support, and know that family time will be at stake. And take mini-breaks whenever you can. I’m one of those people who can’t let a day pass without my alone time. When I’m tired, I simply rest.
Mae Yao Co-Say Mom of two and chief operating officer of Richwell Philippines, Inc.
When I entered the program, I had been recently married, and then along the way, I got pregnant. It was difficult because I was sleepy for the most part, but I also needed to study and read all the cases so I’m prepared if I get called in class the next day.
One time, our professor asked us to prepare 100 things that we wanted to do in our life, not in our work. The lessons pushed me to stretch myself in all aspects of my life. I told myself that even if I was pregnant, I could graduate on time, and that’s exactly what I did. I’m very proud of AIM's driven, socially-conscious, and holistic approach the school have imbibed in me, which I live by every day.
At the same time, I make sure that I don’t put too much pressure on myself, because there’s no such thing as a perfect mom, a perfect manager, or a perfect executive.
I enjoy being a mom, because it’s a great gift. But it shouldn’t hinder women from pursuing both their personal and professional goals.
For more information about AIM’s Executive MBA program, please visit wsgsb.aim.edu or contact Cherrie Magbanua via firstname.lastname@example.org or call (02) 892.4011 local 1855.