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A Mom, a Bonus-Mom and an MBA

I remember saying to myself in my early 30’s that I really should go back to school and get my Masters of Business Administration (aka: MBA). I also remember for my 34th birthday that I was going to gift myself motorcycle lessons and start a chicks-only biker group. Then “life” happened.

I found out I was pregnant in March 2010 (just a month before my 34th birthday) and my awesome son was born that November. Fast forward to December 2015 where I meet a cute boy (ok, fine, he was in his 40’s)…where I met a cute man. Not too long afterwards, I meet his three children, and in July 2017 we moved in together. That’s when we became today’s modern “blended family” of six: me, him, one girl and three boys.

Living with someone new is exciting! It can also be challenging as you are learning their daily habits, routines and which way the toilet paper roll is facing.

Now, throw in a strict parenting style with a more relaxed one and mix it with successful co-parenting on one side and no help at all from the other side. Oh, did I mention that six months after we moved in together that I finally decided to get my MBA and started my program in December of 2017?

Yeah, some might say I have some major issues. LOL! It was challenging enough to create one set of household rules for a college bound freshman, a junior in high school, a freshman in high school and a first grader. Instead of “issues”, I refer to myself as one who likes a good challenge!

I could go on and on about the crazy chaotic things that I faced being thrown into becoming a bonus-mom (I don’t like or use the “stepmom” title. Has such negative connotation. Thanks Disney.) to three teenagers. But, I’ll save those adventure stories for another blog.

What I really want to share is:

-Why go back to school for an MBA

-Which school is right for YOU

-What to expect

Why go back to school for an MBA?

Well, why not? No one will ever argue that furthering your education is detrimental. If you’re

satisfied with your current job, never thought about starting your own business or would rather use this stay-at-home time to catch up on “Keeping Up with the Kardashian” then you might as well as x-out of this browser now.

But, if you want to advance in your career, might want to start a business or just want to learn with people from various walks of life – then keep on reading.

Some things to ponder:

  • Having an MBA is still a MUST in some fields: I knew that if I wanted to make Director level and sit at the Executive Leadership Team meetings and feel as though I was on even playing ground – I needed my MBA.

  • Consider your long-term goals: Want to make that jump and open up your own restaurant or clothing store? Having knowledge about marketing, web design, revenue streams, cost of goods and all the “business” aspects will only help.

  • Build your Network: It’s pretty evident that it’s so important to network, network and network. Your cohort from business school will be lifelong business peers that you will have as friends and who are great resources.

Which school is right for you?

When I was deciding, I wanted to stay close to home and knew that UCLA Anderson School of Management had an Executive MBA program that was every other weekend on Friday and Saturday. Living in San Diego, I was willing to make the drive each weekend. I also had to coordinate with my son’s dad to change up our every other weekend visitation schedule.

I applied and drove up to their campus where they let me sit in on a class. It was awesome. I felt so smart already sitting in the back of the lecture hall room! I took it all in, scanning everyone’s name plate: Doctor, VP, Dentist, COO… it was all so impressive.

Then I learned about USC Marshall’s online MBA program. Errrr… online? ONLINE. Wow, USC Marshall had an online MBA program. For me, the “online” kinda made my stomach turn.

“I don’t want my diploma to say ‘Online MBA!’”

Hey, don’t knock it until you try it. I had to do my due diligence and check it out – which is exactly what I did. I applied, attended their Zoom webinars, scheduled meetings with their academic advisors and asked a ton of questions.

Well, I chose USC Marshall’s OMBA program and it was the BEST decision (for me)! They require you to meet your cohort in Los Angeles where you stay for a full week and attend classes. Then everything else is online, using Zoom and Canvas. But, I wouldn’t have known this if I hadn’t done my research.

That is the takeaway here: Do your research and do not make assumptions.

Things to also consider in the decision making process:

  • In-person (Part-time or Full-time)

  • Online

  • Tuition Costs

  • Length of program

  • Number of years of professional experience required

  • Alumni benefits

Some great MBA programs to check out that are online can be found on U.S News “2021 Best Business Schools

What to Expect

I don’t know if you can really prepare for business school or going back to school – period. When I started my MBA program, I was 42, working full-time as a Senior Manager of Finance & Operations, a mom to a 7-year old, a bonus-mom to three teenagers and living with all of them with my boyfriend of a year and a half – but you knew all this already. 😊 Now throw in a full-time MBA program.

REAL TALK: I attended class twice a week from 6pm-8pm LIVE where everyone, including the professors, met via Zoom – cameras ON. Then I would meet with my team a few times a week to work on projects or presentations and don’t forget about homework!

I’m not trying to scare you. What I’m trying to do is let you know that no matter how busy you think you are, there is no better time than NOW. Don’t wait because “now is not the right time” because it will NEVER be.

Expect to meet your new best friends.

Expect to learn something you didn’t know.

Expect to have to manage your time and schedule.

Expect to be up late working on homework.

Expect to create life-long friendships.

Expect to achieve.

Expect to have time fly by.

Expect to be PROUD of yourself with this accomplishment.

So, although I still don’t have my motorcycle license (just yet), I do have my MBA and it doesn’t say "online" anywhere on my diploma. 😉

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