Kaitlyn Neises-Mocanu




United States





By Kaitlyn Neises-Mocanu

Life as a Mom.B.A.

As my section was trying to wrap their heads around the Capital Asset Pricing Model, I felt myself float far outside my zone of comfort. It felt amazing. It felt like true growth. Growth characterizes my first term at the Oxford Saïd MBA program. Bouncing around from class to Union debates, panel discussions of Oxford alum entrepreneurs, and lectures on myriad other topics in gorgeous historic forums of the wider University – I have been making the most of the opportunities which saturate Oxford. Unlike most other students in my MBA cohort, however, within thirty minutes of contemplating the finer points of idiosyncratic risk in a diversified portfolio, I was scrubbing poop out of a bathmat.

When I finally #saidyes, I had weighed the questions of uprooting the lives of my husband and our two-year old son, and the lives of our extended families, to pave the way for my opportunity. It felt selfish to pluck my usually nude toddler from his dad, our home, the warm sandy shores and friendly faces of Saipan, and plunk him into a cold, grey, uptight English city. The new opportunities that lay waiting in Oxford, however, are exceptionally compelling. After one intense term, set against vacillating feelings of self-doubt and exhilaration, I’m confident that moving to Oxford for the MBA program was the right decision for me and my family.

The road has been and continues to be a challenge. I hadn’t anticipated the additional burden that I would take on as a “geographically single” parent. I’m fortunate to have my husband’s parents living with me to help with our son, but when I am at home, all needs must be fulfilled by mama. All sleepless nights, sicknesses, doctor’s appointments – mama.

There are benefits to being a parent in the program. I have no choice but to be organized, and must efficiently allocate my time. I’m sure I suffer far fewer hangovers than many of my classmates. I never feel lonely.

If you are a parent wondering whether to apply for the MBA at Oxford Saïd, like I was this time last year, I recommend that you go for it. The below is a list of factors which I consider to be essential to my sanity and ability to get through the program.

  1. Having Live-In help – I can rely on my in-laws to fill childcare gaps during the weekdays, and can sneak out for the occasional drink with classmates after I put him to bed. Even with daycare, MBA schedules including classes, co-curriculars, and other opportunities take up a huge chunk of life.
  2. Not Comparing to Others – This is valuable advice for life generally, but as a parent in the MBA program, how you spend your academic/social time will always be weighed against time spent with your kid(s). While your classmates may be jumping on a train to Glasgow for the weekend, getting drinks after class, or applying for that additional co-curricular, this may not always be in the cards for you. Determine your priorities for the year (i.e. socializing, learning, job seeking etc.) and use these to set boundary lines. It may take you a little longer to network, but Oxford MBA students on the whole are extraordinarily open-minded and supportive of each other.
  3. Making a Predictable Schedule – This is especially helpful because my son is at an age when he thrives on routine. Even if I may not have class or some other obligation, I’m away from home from around 8:30am to 6pm every weekday. During this time, I’m attending/preparing for class, attending other webinars/lectures from the wider university, working on co-curriculars, or meeting someone for lunch. By forcing myself to segment my life like this, I can usually devote evenings and weekends to spending time with my son. If COVID restrictions close libraries, I would need to pretend to leave the house and sneak up to my bedroom for the day because there is no way to get anything done if my son knows I’m home.
  4. Connecting with Other Parents (especially other moms) – I don’t do this as often as I should, but I’m in a couple different MBA parent social media channels and it’s really nice to spend time with other parents who can relate.

Many students move to Oxford with their children and/or partner for their degree programme. Families are very welcome at Saïd Business School – find out more.

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