Juggling kids, a job, and an MBA: Can working women have it all?

As a full-time Product Marketing Manager at an early-stage startup and a mother of two young kids, Suchita Kaundin took a big leap when she joined the evening MBA program at the SCU Leavey School of Business at Santa Clara University. She tells MBAGRADSCHOOLS why she chose the school’s evening MBA program, the benefit of doing an MBA program in Silicon Valley, and how fellow working professionals can balance their job with an MBA program.

In short

Suchita Kaundin (USA/India) – SCU Leavey School of Business

Why an evening MBA at Santa Clara University?

With over 12 years of experience as an engineer, Suchita tells us, “I felt the engineering – though it was good – seemed to be a very restricted field. I understood how a product is made from the blueprint to making it a product for consumer needs, but I was lacking the business acumen.” (00:25)

She continues, “What [Santa Clara University] offered me was the business program…I liked the course syllabus. I have a keen interest in product marketing and product management and I liked their coursework in that regard. The other reason was also the logistics. I am a mom of two young kids, so the flexibility that Santa Clara provides with [the] evening MBA and [the fact that] it’s very close to home, drew me to apply there.” (01:07)

The benefit of doing an MBA in the heart of Silicon Valley

As the global center of technology startups and institutions, one can only imagine how valuable it is to do an MBA in Silicon Valley.

Bringing in chief financial officers, fraud auditors, chief executive officers, and STEM experts as guest speakers “opens up a lot of doors,” Suchita claims. “We have a lot of guest speakers who come on…[which] is extremely, extremely helpful. Furthermore, the career services are on top of getting other nice panel discussions [and] getting companies to visit us and give information sessions.” (07:23)

Besides her professional career as an engineer, Suchita also tells us how SCU Leavey’s MBA program helped her develop soft skills. “With all these group projects, I realized I’m good at time management, I’m a good planner…As an engineer, I only worked with [other] engineers, and here I am able to work with people from non-STEM backgrounds and that is opening up a lot of different perspectives. I do believe that each person has a unique background, and it’s interesting to understand [the] different perspectives that people have and bring to the table.” (06:20)

Can working women have it all?

With two young kids and a full-time job, Suchita was nervous about adding yet another ambitious endeavor to her already packed schedule. However, with the flexibility of SCU Leavey’s evening MBA program and the support of her classmates, Suchita was able to balance all of her responsibilities.

“I’ve noticed that time management is the key,” she says. “I need to plan every day in advance, maybe a week ahead. I have a very supportive husband [who] does do his share. Santa Clara has been extremely supportive. All professors offer extra office hours…My classmates are also very understanding…And that to me has been a very encouraging learning environment. I’ve never felt that because I have young kids, I wouldn’t be able to do my MBA.” (01:57)

Suchita was not alone as a working parent in her evening MBA program: “The average age for the evening MBA [is] around 32, but I have classmates who have 2-3 years of experience to anywhere [from] 10-15 years of experience. So yes, there are moms and dads who have young kids in the program.” (02:55)

Are you a working professional thinking about doing an MBA?

For working professionals who are considering doing an MBA program, Suchita says, “There is a lot of juggling involved. If you are in a company where you do not have a very supportive manager…then it could be really, really difficult.” (10:48)

With competing responsibilities, it can be difficult to give each one the attention it deserves. Suchita explains, “If you are putting in 60 hours at work, then you would end up in a situation where you’re not doing justice to the MBA program or to work because you’re sitting at work and you’re thinking about the assignment that’s due tomorrow, and then you’re sitting in class and checking your email.” (11:07)

Her suggestion? “Move to a position where it is more supportive and people know you [and] people trust that you will ultimately get your work done. That would be my advice.” (11:40)

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