A few years ago I made the decision to go back to school.
I was 39, divorced, and had 2 kids.
That might sound
crazy scary but it was one of the best decisions I ever made.
Growing up in the 80’s I watched my dad work in Corporate America. He earned an MBA from the University of Chicago. His career in IT began when a computer monitor rivaled the size of a John Deere ride mower. I loved how he dropped me off at school every morning in his business suit and Ralph Lauren aftershave with coffee mug and newspaper in hand.
I was intrigued by his business world and thought it would be cool to be like my dad one day (minus the RL aftershave of course 🙂 ). I listened as he discussed his business world, but noticed one thing: a lack of female executives. While I had visions of being in Corporate America I subconsciously fell into the mindset that it was a “Man’s World”. Dream derailed.
Eventually I went on to have a career in the medical field and later as a stay-at-home mom. Regardless of the environment, I was perpetually driven to the business acumen of whatever I was involved in. Twenty five years after tanking the idea of a corporate career due to lack of a female presence, women like Indra Nooyi, Sheryl Sandberg, Anne Sweeney, Marissa Mayer, Ursula Burns, and Kat Cole were rocking the world.
On a cool California Christmas night I began looking at MBA programs. I saw that my beloved LSU was starting an online MBA program. Online education was a foreign concept to me, but it seemed like a good way to balance my family and school. Being an impulsive Aries, I jumped onboard and never looked back (although I did wonder what I had gotten myself into quite a few times).
Fast forward a couple of years and I DID IT! Endless all-nighters, navigated homework together with my kids, conquered online textbooks, turned down trips/relationships/GNOs, cried to my family for encouragement, and friends helped babysit so I could study for exams…all so I could make it through a grueling MBA program.
As my degree rests prominently in my living room, these small hardships are merely fleeting memories.
I now hold an MBA in a world where over 9.4 million firms are owned by women, employing nearly 7.9 million people, and generating $1.5 trillion in sales. When I graduated, LSU ranked 9th in the country among business schools for the most female MBA students (52.9%). The business world has evolved from my childhood days of it being dominated as a “Man’s World.” Maybe my sons will grow up with professional aspirations to work in business like Mom. And if I’m lucky I can inspire a young girl or two along the way.