Thursday, September 17, 2015

Tokens of Advice for MBA Dads

Jared Goldsmith

by Jared Goldsmith, MBA’16

Just one year ago I watched my little house and the comfortable world I had known in the rear-view mirror of a moving truck. Pursuing an MBA is a big decisions to make – you have to put your life on hold, sell belongings, quit a job, and usually move to a new city.

When I decided that pursuing an MBA was a necessary step in my career path I had two other responsibilities… with one more on the way. I now have the most supportive loving wife, and two little girls that think that I can do no wrong. Knowing that I have the responsibility of taking care of them makes career decisions more tangible and gives me a sense of responsibility that is indescribable.

When looking for advice on MBA’s for fathers there were no resources that I could find. There is a blog or forum for almost every other life situation that I can think of, but of course, nothing for the situation I was in. Hopefully the lessons I have learned over the past year can answer questions or give courage to at least one father who is contemplating the pursuit of an MBA.

Being an MBA father is a small club, but one that has given me some exceptional friends. We stick together and help each other through the tough times. A lot of times it is hard to give everything you have to school and recruiting and also give your family the attention that they deserve. Here are a few words of advice that will help make your MBA path a successful one.

#1 Don’t Put Off Networking

Networking is easy to put off because for some it is the most painful thing that you could ever imagine. Most official events are during the night when you would rather be at home with your family. My advice is to “Buck up and do it”. The end goal of business school is landing a job. To land your dream job you are going to have to network with the right people in the right positions. Also make sure to network with your fellow MBA’s. The full-time MBA is a unique experience to be around such bright individuals that can teach you more than you could ever learn about a myriad of companies and industries. Your classmates are going to be your network for the rest of your life. Make sure you take time to let them know what you bring to the table and also to learn about them and what makes them unique. These will be the people that you call on throughout your life to fill positions in your organization, and spoiler alert… they will be calling you.

#2 Plan and Schedule

You have 168 hours per week… it’s not going to be enough time to do everything that you need, and want to do. One of the most valuable skills that you can learn in B-school is time management. You need to look at your weeks and plan what you are going to accomplish and what things are going to be pushed to the back-burner, or not get done. It has worked for me to live by my calendar. If I want to meet my family for lunch, it’s on my calendar. Stick to it, but don’t be afraid to modify things, be adaptable… if an opportunity to talk to someone on the phone comes up (refer to point #1), find some time to squeeze it in.

#3 Communicate

Make sure that the people that live under your roof are aware of your schedule. This is something that has been challenging for me because there are always things coming up. My girls love to have me home on Saturday mornings, and that has become my unwind time to be with them. If I ever have anything come up that I have to be doing something on Saturday I make sure that they know so it isn’t a surprise. I also try and inform my wife through calendar invites if things come up as soon as I know of them.

#4 Don’t Forget Your Family

This will be a unique time in your life that you will be able to look back and cherish. It is great to not have the regular stresses of work life. You will probably be in a new part of the country. Take your people to explore new things and plan weekend getaways. You will be very busy, but also have more breaks than you are used to having at work. Take advantage of your downtime and see something new. On Saturdays it has been so fun to visit the Children’s Museum and other local attractions with my family and be able to be with my girls as they grow up.

Overall the decision of coming to B-school was the most substantial career decision I have ever made, but I have no doubt that it was the best option for me. My life is certainly different than it was before coming to school. Being out of my comfort zone has helped me grow so much closer to my wife and girls. When we first moved we started out in survival mode. Getting from week to week was sometimes hard, but now we are a team and we rely on each other. I have learned that you can do hard things when you put your mind to it. The hard is what makes life great.

Jared Goldsmith is working towards an MBA, specializing in finance and business analytics. Prior to coming to Kelley, he worked in business banking at JP Morgan Chase and he interned this past summer at PPG Industries in Corporate Treasury. He will complete his Kelley MBA in 2016.

“Tokens of Advice for MBA Dads” was originally published on Linkedin Pulse on September 15, 2015.


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