Work/Life Effectiveness

How Seven Intrepid Businesswomen Balance Motherhood With the MBA

For more than 20 years, Forté has been committed to advancing women in business. With the goal of #MoreWomenLeading at the forefront of all we do, Forté works in partnership with top academic institutions and leading companies to even the playing field for all women who wish to pursue an MBA.

In honor of Mother’s Day on May 8, I asked some of the enterprising women who make up our Forté community: How do you balance career and motherhood, and what do you love about being an MBA mom? Their answers illustrate the dedication to family and the determination to business advancement modeled by working mothers everywhere. Here is what they said:

“Having my daughter (during the pandemic) and getting a long maternity leave from work influenced my decision to finally pursue my MBA. It made me realize that my perspective, having worked in marketing, was limited, and I needed to do more to hone my business and leadership skills. Now, as an MBA mom, what I love most is how much I am learning and how this investment in myself will (hopefully) one day inspire my daughter to always strive to be the best version of herself.”
— Adé Adéyẹmi, FTMBA candidate at Queen’s University (Smith School of Business)

“I feel more complete as a woman by being a mother, a partner, and a working professional. The happier I am and more satisfied I feel with my life, [the more likely it is] our son will benefit from the fulfilling life his parents live. He will see how we share responsibility, face challenges head-on, and … manage to solve those challenges and overcome problems. This will help him as he grows up to understand the complexity of life.”
— Ulrike Behringer, EMBA student at HEC Paris

“Being a single mom, the balance between my career and parenting was initially very challenging for me. Prioritization, effective planning, and time management have been critical to my progress. I had to learn how to leverage my resources to allow myself more flexibility. I also explain my goals and plans to my son. Including him and laying out the process makes it easier to explain the day-to-day in relation to the long term. His involvement motivates me to push past my own self-imposed limitations, and more importantly, gives him a clear understanding of when plans change.”
— Diandra Brown, First-year MBA student at University of Rochester (Simon Business School)

“I was on maternity leave for the latter part of my second year at Darden, so while I had to balance school and life with a new baby, I did not have the daily demands of work. Since I had class in the evening, it made sense for my husband to take over at dinner and bedtime, allowing me to focus on schoolwork. The specific demands on our time and activities will change as our daughter grows, but I try to think about balance in this way: creating time for each of us as parents to be with our daughter while pursuing professional or personal interests.”
— Jane Eilbacher, Second-year EMBA student at University of Virginia (Darden School of Business)

“There are certain times when my kids need me more, and everything else can take a step back. There are other times when family and kids can get along well without too much of my intervention, but my professional life demands more focus. It all comes down to understanding my multiple interests and prioritizing every waking moment of my life. It becomes highly necessary to have a good support system, and I’ve been very lucky to find that in my mother and husband, who have always supported me in my choices.”
— Divya Peddi, Second-year MBA student at The University of Chicago (Booth School of Business)

“A few of my classmates have expressed how they’ve been inspired by the fact that I am a mom, am highly involved with the Anderson community as a leader, and still go to events and have fun. It is very rewarding (and humbling) to hear that I represent a role model and an example that career, work, and fun can be balanced. The important thing to remember is that we determine what balance is. We establish priorities and make sure we hit those, but we cannot do everything and be everywhere.
— Alejandra Perez, Second-year MBA student at UCLA (Anderson School of Management)

“Motherhood has taught me new levels of empathy, patience, efficiency, and strength. As I continue on a career path to increase educational and gender equity, I think being a mother will only fuel my drive and deepen the authenticity of my leadership style.”
— Sally Sorte, Second-year MBA student at Harvard Business School

On behalf of myself, and the entire Forté team, cheers to all of the hard-working mothers
raising not only the next generation of successful women — but also the allies who want to see them succeed. Working together, we will get #MoreWomenLeading. Happy Mother’s Day!

Related posts

Get newsletters and events relevant
to your career by joining Forté.

our partners