Finding balance: Motherhood, professional, MBA student

By: Katelyn Godoy
Photo of Amrita Tiwari, Executive MBA Metro NY ’19, and her daughter

By Amrita Tiwari, Executive MBA Metro NY ’19

Motherhood is humbling. Motherhood and working full time is onerous. Motherhood, working full time, and pursuing an MBA at once is insanity…or so I thought.

It is definitely not an easy task breaking oneself into a million pieces to manage work, school, and motherhood, but it can be done. How do I know? I am a new mom, I work full time, and I am completing my MBA through the Executive MBA Metro NY program at Cornell University’s Johnson Graduate School of Management.

Why an MBA?

I am pursuing my MBA because I want to formally develop and refine my technological ingenuity and leadership skills. I’m doing that by learning from a world class institution with renowned faculty members and students from diverse industries. Deciding to earn my MBA was a very critical decision for me. It has not been easy but it has undoubtedly been one of the most incredible experiences of my life so far.

How do I manage work-life-school balance?

It is impossible to give 100 percent of my time to each of my responsibilities, and I have learned to prioritize tasks on a daily basis. I have started to identify what’s urgent versus what’s important. Time management has been a key component that has helped me concentrate my efforts on what is most important.

I try not to worry about what I am not doing. I try to stay focused on the task at hand—I try not to worry about work when I am in class and I try not to let work and school interfere when I am with my family. I try to set a schedule and stay organized every day. I spend my commute time catching up on readings. I also do school work after my baby goes to sleep. The professors do a really great job of providing recordings of their lectures, which have been very useful to listen to while I am walking my dog or running around the block with my baby in her stroller.

Is it possible to find balance and still be a high achiever?

I have always been a perfectionist. In the last six months, however, I have realized it is important to strive to be a high achiever without being a perfectionist. While we should strive to do the best we can, we should know our limitations. A few things I have done, and continue to do, is set standards that are high but achievable. Life is full of success and failure. I cannot be a perfect co-worker, a perfect wife, a perfect mother, and a perfect student. Failure is an option.

Photo of Amrita at a residential session on Cornell's Ithaca campus
Amrita at a residential session on Cornell’s Ithaca campus

The most important thing for me has been to stay focused. I have been surprised at what I am capable of accomplishing once I got pass all the self-doubt and just believed in myself. When the going gets tough, the tough gets going. It is also important to remember we are only humans. Nothing gets done when we are physically and emotionally exhausted. It is imperative to maintain a healthy lifestyle. At the end of the day, when we have dedicated so much time and energy to meeting the needs of work, family and school, it is easy to forget about our own needs. It is important to make time for ourselves.

The last six months have been a whirlwind of new challenges and hard work including taking care of a young baby at home, traveling for work, going to classes on weekends, and doing school work in between. I could not have made through so far without my biggest support system: my husband. My family is my biggest source of inspiration. When I look at my baby I know that I can do anything.

I still have a long way to go, but I would not trade the last six months of experience for anything. Not only I am getting a world-class education at an Ivy League institution, I am also making lifelong connections with some amazing people in my class that go beyond the classroom walls. It is incredible to think how we started our journey six months ago as total strangers, and we will spend the next two years as classmates and finish the program as one big, happy family.

Learn more about the Executive MBA Metro NY program

About Amrita Tiwari, Executive MBA Metro NY ’19

Headshot of Amrita Tiwari, Executive MBA Metro NY ’19

Amrita is currently employed at Vanguard. She loves her family, her dog, and her work and is really enjoying the Johnson program at Cornell. She truly believes that there is never a right time to do anything. There is always going to be something—something in the way that tells you “not now, do it later!” But anyone who works full time, has young children, and is considering the Johnson Executive MBA Metro NY program, the time is now! Not next year or the year after.