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Being a mom is hard enough, but trying to raise a child while balancing full-time work and MBA studies can be a Herculean task.

To celebrate all the mothers who have successfully juggled life, family and education – and to encourage those who are contemplating using education to boost their careers – we spoke to UBC Sauder Part-time MBA candidate Michelle Paquet. Michelle currently works as Vice-President of Development at Shape Properties, an integrated real estate firm in Vancouver, while also studying for her MBA and raising her four-year old son, Rhys.

What was the best piece of advice you received prior to enrolling in the Part-time MBA program?

The best piece of advice was actually during an opening presentation by Darren Dahl, director of UBC Sauder’s Robert H. Lee Graduate School. He gave us a great analogy about the journey we were about to embark on and how it’s like a juggling act. Basically, everyone has different balls that they’ll need to keep in the air, whether it’s the family ball, the relationship ball, the work ball or the MBA ball. He explained that although there will definitely be times when we drop a ball, the trick is to never drop the same ball twice!

 Michelle Paquet Quote

What has been your greatest challenge so far as you balance education and motherhood?

Trying to maintain a balance has definitely been difficult. Not only is there education and motherhood, but there’s also work, attempting to have a social life and exercise, wherever that fits in. Thank goodness for the great friends I’ve made in this program – everyone in my cohort is very supportive, understanding and excited for each other’s challenges, accomplishments and celebrations.

Is there any advice you would give to other mothers who are contemplating an MBA – or perhaps another educational program?

The key to my successful balancing act has been the great support of my friends and family, as well as planning, planning and more planning!

Before I accepted my place in UBC’s Part-time MBA program, I had numerous conversations with key individuals in my life about the commitments I would be making. They agreed that the program was a great opportunity that I couldn’t pass up, and not only did they fully support my goals, but they also said they would be there when I needed an extra set of hands to drive Rhys to ski school, pick him up from daycare or invite us over for a delicious meal.

The second piece of advice I would give potential students is to master pre-planning and organization. Whether it’s meal planning, reading your cases and articles in advance (I wish this always could happen) or just planning work trips and vacations, the more you can do in advance is always better.

Without the amazing support from my community and mastering Planning 101, I definitely wouldn’t be within one year of earning my MBA!

 

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