MBA student and Mother-to-be

Delphine Lau, Global MBA 2014-2015, France

How do you manage when you learn in the same week that you are pregnant and you are admitted in prestigious program offered by a top international business school? I asked to myself that question in May 2014 when I, a 32-year-old woman, held in my hand the Global MBA admission letter from ESSEC and put the other hand on my belly where something so little was happening…

My delivery would be around February 2015 exactly when MBA students would leave the French campus to the one in Singapore for 6 weeks. How to combine these two events ? And in general picture, now pregnant, how will I deal with the classes, the homework, the commute between home and campus and, of course, my family life and my first 5-years-old daughter?

I usually stress very little and am always convinced that each problem has a solution but I felt now that things would be different. Defer the MBA to next fall? Impossible! One year ago, I decided to request an academic leave to my employer who agreed after a six-month-notice: I was not able to come back on my decision. So I wanted to do the program that fall 2014, pregnant or not. I knew that I had all the help and love of my family and my husband who could take care more of our first child because I needed to rest a lot in order to stay in shape.

I warned the Academic Managers about my particular situation during summer. I received wonderful support as they proposed me to do the MBA over 2 years, in particular they proposed me to report the Singapore term in 2016. I was so happy but I knew it was only the beginning of big adventure!

I started the MBA during my 4th month of pregnancy. I really enjoyed meeting the other students and I felt their encouragement ! During the week-end, I used to bring my daughter to the park when, sitting on a bench, I both kept an eye on her and studied my strategy or accounting management courses. I did all my pregnancy medical care during the few hours off during week. Worked hard, slept a lot. All my life was planed around the classes and the family care and it worked out pretty well!

At the time I am writing these article, my new little girl is now 3 month and she is such a lovely baby. I have been back to class since April now and I made my big daughter visit the campus. From the beginning of my MBA adventure, she has always been very surprised that mummy could go to school like her. But she was quite disappointed when she saw in Mummy’s campus there was not any play equipment!

I have decided to do the International Immersion Project in Paris this summer to stay close to my family. Of course, I would have prefered to travel and work in an emerging country.  But I never wanted to choose between a great career and a happy family with kids. In conclusion, I would to say to the young ambitious women  : Doing both is hard but it is not impossible!

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