Many Working Professional MBA students, given their average age range and typical experience, may also be contemplating starting (or expanding) a family. Texas McCombs has an official Parental Accommodation Policy in order to support your family choices during your MBA, whether that means a pregnancy (you or a partner), adoption, or other specific family circumstance requiring leave.

We recently chatted with Natalie Tyrrell, Texas McCombs Evening MBA 2019, about her experience becoming a new mom while being in business school. She navigated this transition within our parental accommodation policy and hopes her experience can help future students face this challenge. Natalie is originally from St. Louis, MO and in addition to school and family, she currently works as a Director of Talent Development for a school district. She had her daughter, Edith Marie Tyrrell, in October 2018. Congrats, Natalie!

MBA Student Natalie Tyrrell and her family

The Tyrrell Family

In Natalie’s Own Words

“I am a working professional student who commutes to class from San Antonio twice a week. It would not have been feasible for me to go to class and stay in the program for the first 6 weeks or so after baby if it had not been for the parental leave policy the program offered. I was able to access video recordings of classes and complete some assignments at my own pace (of course while also staying in tight communication with the professors). Once I returned back to class, I leaned on the program office, my study group and other parents in the program to help me orient myself back into the balance of school and work– but now with a baby too. It has definitely been a challenge! I have gotten much better at asking for help and learning how to become better at prioritizing my time. I could not have accomplished this transition without the support of the MBA community.”

The Challenge of Finding Time

“Finding time to study and complete assignments was my biggest challenge. At first, I was trying to work on homework whenever I had a free moment. When I took a step back, I realized that longer stretches of work time actually worked better and caused less anxiety than squeezing things in. This has allowed me to enjoy the time I have at home with my family and be more in the moment. My husband and I have had to figure out our schedules for sharing the primary caregiver role. I could not do it without his support. 

I am 100% happy with my personal decision to continue with the program while becoming a new parent. However, it definitely means making sacrifices and relying heavily on my partner to pick up some of my slack, especially around final exam time.”

Natalie’s Advice to Future MBA Parents

Do not let being a parent and a student (and working professional) deter you from considering following your MBA dreams. Just know what you are signing up for– a few years of hard work, long hours, and some sacrifices. If you go in with your eyes open, I think you are more likely to be successful. Oh, and don’t be afraid to ask for help and a little bit of grace when you need it!”

We encourage you to review our Parental Accommodation Policy for details on the kind of accommodations it can provide. When you enter a working professional MBA program, we understand that family support is a key element.  Please let us know if you have any questions or need further info.