Fuqua loves families! We are very excited that you are visiting this page which intends to provide information on what it is like to complete an MBA while performing the full-time job of being a mom or a dad. Family Matters also provides information on resources available at Fuqua to help you.
The following is meant to help you get an idea of what each of these areas is like at Fuqua. Undoubtedly, your experience will be unique and it will greatly depend on your own situation, priorities and decisions.
During the first two terms at Fuqua, students immerse in
core courses and your schedule is determined by the section that you belong
to. Where applicable, you are strongly
encouraged to exempt core requirements and select an appropriate elective in
its place. The six-week terms at Fuqua
can be very intense but there is a lot of support to help you meet the
challenge. For example, for accounting
class, there is a great pre-term review for people who do not have an
accounting background. Professors have
an open door policy to help you when you need it. Do not be afraid to talk to your professors, if you are forced to miss class because your partner is in labor, you are in labor, or because you have to take your sick child to the doctor, let your professor know the reason. There are also fellow students who act as
TA’s and can be a great help for the challenging subjects. Homework will tend to take longer than classes but you can try to get as much done before 5 PM, complete homework at home while your children play next to you or work after the kids have gone to sleep. These strategies may work depending on your individual situation. Fuqua is also a great lesson in prioritization for everyone involved single or married students and students with or without families. You will learn to prioritize and realize you cannot do it all.
Team work is a very stimulating part of Fuqua’s experience and most of the work will be team based. Fuqua encourages team members to be helpful to one another and respect each other’s priorities while respecting each team member. Teams are diverse and include members with families, significant others or single. Each person may have different responsibilities outside of school and teams are encouraged to talk about it so that the team can perform well during the term. Everyone’s expectation is that you will pull your weight as a member of the team regardless of your family status. At the beginning of the program several days are dedicated to team-building exercises including the development of a team charter that will guide how your team operates. Some parents, and also non-parents, found it helpful to firmly communicate to their teams the time limits they are subject to due to their family responsibilities (or other responsibilities in the case of single students), to set up the team meeting schedule at the beginning of each term, and explain that they may have to miss some meetings due to unexpected issues related to your family.
Fuqua offers many opportunities for you to share with both classmates and family. During Fuqua’s Fuqua Friday’s, Fuqua opens a large room to host families. The room has food, and ample space for kids to play. During the year, different kid-friendly activities are hosted during Fuqua Friday: Halloween, Spring Carnival, Pajama’s night and other. There are also a lot of family friendly activities hosted throughout the year in Geneen. Examples of these activities include Fuqua Idol, International Talent Show, and many others. Fuqua Families is a sub-group of Fuqua Partners that organizes activities targeting kids. Make sure to get on their mailing list and Facebook page so that you can participate in these activities with your family. It is also important to spend time with your significant other. In the past, students have been able to hire a first or second year to babysit their kids. Fuqua will become your family and your classmates can provide a tremendous support system for you. At the same time, it is also great to have time away from Fuqua to focus a 100% on your family. Many students with families skip many of the parties and instead go home to enjoy their families.
Where to live:
The Fuqua Families Survival Guide has a fantastic section with information on the many places where you can live. Many families choose to live in the Addington Farms
apartment complex or in the Hope Valley neighborhood. This enables them to
use each other as a resource for baby-sitting when back-up is needed. However, if you have specific requirements, know
that there are other options outside the one listed on websites like
apartments.com. You may find furnished options on Craigslist. Hiring a realtor might also be helpful, if
you are not familiar with the area and you do not have a lot of time to hunt
for apartments. For families with school aged children, Chapel Hill offers excellent public schools and affordable housing not far from Fuqua.
Setting up priorities:
It is very important to set up priorities, if possible before you come on campus. There are so many things that you can do during your MBA - academics, recruiting, social events, club leadership - and adding to all this a family, particularly a young kid, can make your life very difficult if you do not have clear priorities. As the saying goes, "something's got to give" and what gives is a personal choice. As a rule of thumb, it can be best to slightly under-commit for the first few terms of the first year, as you adjust to your new environment, than to take on a lot of responsibilities and not be able to live up to set expectations.
You will most likely need a lot of support from your partner and/or other family members. Alternatively, you can hire nannies or babysitters, in which case you should budget accordingly. Please see the Fuqua Family Survival Guide section on Childcare.
Recruiting season is busy and it may require you to travel across the country, the demands of the recruiting process vary based on what you are recruiting for. Try to keep your family's priorities and your spouse's future career plans in mind when deciding for career and location. This focused recruiting will make the process easier in a way. You won't have the time or energy to explore every option.
Make sure you take into account the life style of the career you are looking for and the cost of living of the location. Recruiting can be a stressful long process. Communication with your significant other is key to help her/him understand what you are going through.
If you decide to intern outside of Durham, you will be faced with the decision on whether or not your family should come with you. This is a personal decision. Some students find it easier to have their family with them during the internship and also use the opportunity to decide whether they see their family living in that location. Leaving your family in Durham, may allow you to save money as the student will be able to stay in a smaller place. You may want to consider spending some of the time together and some apart to minimize costs. For families with school aged children and two working parents, this may be a hard time where grandparents can provide much needed relief when available.