MBA Family Work-Life Issues: Learning from Other MBAs’ Experiences

Do all MBA programs help newly admitted MBA students prepare for MBA family work-life issues? Will you encounter MBA family work-life issues while earning your MBA? Have you met with your family, coworkers, immediate supervisor, and MBA teammates to discuss MBA family work-life issues you may encounter?

There is a high probability that MBA family work-life balance or wellbeing issues will surface while you earn your MBA. Most MBA program managers recognize this; however, the guidance or resources they make available to incoming students is often limited. Some of the reasons cited for the lack of guidance or resources include a lack of expertise, not a program responsibility, there is no time and not all students encounter these issues. However, the reality is that MBA family work-life balance or wellbeing issues will arise and MBA students need help preparing to address them before they occur or when they occur.

The quality and availability of the guidance and resources available to MBA students specifically addressing these issues is very limited. Non-MBA specific resources are much more available; however, they must be adapted to the MBA student setting which is sometimes difficult, especially when many of us lack familiarity with the subject matter.

However, some MBA specific resources are available. Three categories that I think may be useful for you to search out include:

  • Independent MBA student blog entries – Independence means the student created the blog entry on their own, usually on their own blog site that is independent of the university or the MBA program they are attending. One very good example of this type of blog entry or site is To MBA or Not to MBA. This student/MBA graduate created her own site and posted blog entries starting with the application process and continuing after graduation. Her entries cover a wide range of topics relating to her MBA experience. If you visit blogs and read entries from this category, you need to exercise some care because you need to judge the veracity of each entry before making your own work-life related decisions regarding the issue(s) discussed.
  • MBA Program Hosted Blog entries – Many programs solicit enrolled students to create one, two, or more blog entries describing and reflecting on their MBA student experience. Solicited entries of this nature are usually marketing tools for demonstrating how family friendly their MBA program is for students with families. Even so, there is benefit to this type of blog post, especially when readers have the opportunity to comment. Remember, you can use blog comments to create a dialog with the author and other readers by asking questions and expressing opinions. Also, keep in mind that the host/owner of the web site may moderate comments. Click on the following links to see two examples that you can compare one without comments and one with moderated comments. Both sites are well done and provide useful information even if both exercise control over published information. I have been unable to find an unmoderated MBA program hosted blog whose focus is MBA family work-life balance issues. Perhaps some you can direct us to one.
  • MBA curriculum or new student orientation – Some MBA programs address MBA family work-life balance issues as part of their program’s curriculum or during the new student orientation. The curricular approach seems to provide the greatest depth of coverage with a professional development approach while the orientation approach more or less raises awareness of the issues. The MBA student can benefit from both approaches, however it seems that awareness elevation may have more of a short-term effect while the curricular approach may have a more lasting impact because of the depth and student accountability for learning. Click on the following link to see an excellent example of the curricular approach.

View how you address MBA Work-Life Family issues as a learning experience. You can learn to address the issues through trial and error, the old “experience is the best teacher thing,” or you can learn from the experiences of other MBAs. Most of the issues you will encounter are not new to MBA students in general even though they may be new to you.

My suggestion for preparing yourself and others in your life to address these issues is:

  • Review your MBA program’s recruiting materials, web site, and blogs to see if you can find guidance
  • Review other MBA program’s recruiting materials, web site, and blogs to see if you can find guidance
  • Meet with other MBA students whose profile closely fits yours and discuss the issues they have had to address
  • Meet with your family, coworkers, immediate supervisor, and MBA teammates and discuss the issues that concern them and share with them what you learned from others
  • Finally, you can join the MyeEMBA live discussion group. MyeEMBA sponsors a monthly online discussion group for you and others that are interested in sharing experiences and learning from each other. Registration is free and participation is anonymous. Each session is agenda free with a facilitator leading and moderating discussions around MBA work-life balance and wellbeing issues. Each session’s duration is a minimum of one hour although attendance for an entire session is not necessary. Click here to register for any or all scheduled sessions.

Are you prepared to address the MBA Work-Life Balance issues? Do you have suggestions for ways to approach these issues? Share your thoughts by adding to the comments below.

What would you like to see covered in the MyeEMBA blog? Let me know by commenting below. Please also visit my website,, for additional resources and valuable information on MBA studies.

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Invite others to join the discussion or share this post with someone you think would be interested.


Rodney G. Alsup, D.B.A., CPA, CITP
Founder of

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4 comments for “MBA Family Work-Life Issues: Learning from Other MBAs’ Experiences

  1. C Travis Maples
    August 17, 2010 at 11:05 am

    Rodney –
    I was a late bloomer when it came to my higher education. All my children had moved on to their own lives and I had a wife that supported the endeavor completely. As a result I had very few, if any, home issues with the EMBA program at Kennesaw State U. I cannnot believe that persons with children still at home would not have some problems with scheduling their time with their children. I also think it would place extra responsibility on the spouse of the student in the disciplining and caring of any children.

    Studying during an EMBA program is an enormous burden and failure to keep up with the load will quickly defeat the participant. With work, family, and other obligations coordinating study time is critical and difficult. It is my opinion that if the student can find a person that has gone through the EMBA experience and have this person act as a mentor will help. It gives the student an independent sounding board to bounce ideas off of and someone to that can see and advise them on potential issues.

    • August 22, 2010 at 11:06 am

      Thank you for your comment. I was a late bloomer as well, which is a topic my father often discussed in and out of family circles.
      Perhaps I should have emphasized more that MBA students should find a person that has gone through the program to act as a mentor. Several years ago some MBA programs started assigning mentors to incoming students. I am not sure how prevalent it is today, however for a newly admitted MBA student it is worth checking with the MBA program director to see if they have a mentor program or if it is possible to get a mentor assigned if there is no formal program in place. You caused me to add mentoring as a topic for a future blog post.
      Thank you for your suggestion.

  2. August 20, 2010 at 8:20 am

    Hi Rodney,

    Thank you for the congratulations. I have also checked your blog and it is very useful for MBA students. The most important as you said is to find the right balance between family, friends, studies and job.

    I was waiting for the right moment and the best opportunity to do my Masters.

    Thanks again and I will pass the word about your blog.

    Carlose López
    Online Business Manager at
    Madrid (Spain)
    EMBA – IE Business School

    • August 22, 2010 at 10:54 am

      I appreciate your feedback regarding the MyeEMBA Blog. Please feel free to pass the word about the Blog. Perhaps your new classmates will find it interesting. You may want to subscribe to the Blog as well.
      Good luck with your program.

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