I’m Ivy Chen, part of the Full-Time MBA class of 2021-22. In this blog, I will be sharing my experience of choosing to pursue a Full-Time MBA while balancing my other commitments in life.
Originally from China, I graduated from the University of Michigan BBA programme in 2013 and have since worked in New York and Singapore, before settling into my current life in London. In 2020, during the peak of the pandemic, I became a first-time mum, devoting all of my time and effort to caring for my baby until I embarked on the MBA programme in September 2021 at Imperial College Business School.
The Full-Time MBA is an intense experience that has required me to fully immerse myself in the vast number of learning experiences, specially-curated modules and activities on offer. It certainly demands a lot, if not all, of your attention and energy to get the most out of it.
As the programme is so demanding by itself, several of my classmates have asked me how I balance MBA study while also taking care of a young child. Although it isn’t always easy, I say the key is to always remember why you wanted to study for an MBA in the first place, which for me is to realise my personal value even after becoming a mother and to further explore my entrepreneurial ideas.
Practically speaking, I achieve balance by prioritising tasks and events against my goals, and managing my time in a modular way. I always make sure there is family time allocated throughout the days and weeks. Of course, none of this would be possible if not for the support I have received from family, friends, and the Imperial community.
Everyone who I’ve worked with so far at Imperial – the Programme team, my cohort, and the professors have all supported me tremendously, especially through difficult times, such as when my son was sick and the Business School provided support with multi-mode options for me to join classes from home and extensions on deadlines.
Social events with my family
Whenever there is a social gathering organised by my cohort, I like to include my family as much as possible and they thoroughly enjoyed all the events they’ve come along to so far, such as adventuring in Borough Market and exploring the Christmas market in Southbank. Some of my classmates even offered to babysit, which is very nice of them!
As an ex-pat in London, I only have my husband and my dad as my nearby support me, but they are 100% behind me in my pursuit of an MBA, helping me every step of the way with both childcare and motivation.
My MBA experience to date
I am thoroughly enjoying my MBA journey so far. I have not only learned so much from the world-renowned professors and industry practitioners, but also had the chance to participate in a one-week flagship competition, the Imperial Innovation Challenge, in which MBA students had the chance to work with the wider Imperial STEM community to hack a deep tech idea and brainstorm creative business applications for cutting-edge technology.
My team was awarded first place for our out-of-box thinking and creative proposals among 19 brilliant teams. I think this winning experience can certainly serve as a testimonial that the mother of a young child can successfully achieve balance between their duty at home and a demanding yet rewarding MBA journey.