Student Spotlight: Balancing School and Family Life

Annie Agarwal
Getting your MBA can have worthwhile professional implications, but you can’t overlook the impact returning to school can have on your family life. Many MBA students have a bit of life experience under their belts, and some are married and have children.

An MBA program will take up a considerable amount of your time, but the fact that you have a family shouldn’t stop you from achieving your educational and career goals. The key is to learn how to manage your time and prioritize your activities.

Annie Agarwal is currently an MBA student in the Neeley School of Business. She works as a BPI Analyst intern at Sabre Corporation, serves as the leader of the TCU chapter of Net Impact, volunteers with Steer Fort Worth, and balances it all as a married woman.

Agarwal says her husband has been a benefit to her throughout her MBA program. She says she is lucky to have his support and to have him as a constant reminder to learn to balance her activities—not only for now, but for the future as well.

“It’s good to have a person who can pull you out of it and remind you that there are other things in life, and the MBA program isn’t everything,” she says.

She credits her husband as an integral part of her success. “Sometimes he feels like he is doing the MBA program right along with me,” she says.

Ray Serzanin, also a current MBA student in the Neeley School of Business, says balancing an MBA with family life is not always easy. “It’s challenging at times, but my wife is very supportive. We understand that there’s a big picture coming down the line; the ends justify the means," he says. "It’s stressful now, but it won’t always be.”

The secret to balancing the hectic life of an MBA student is to learn to prioritize, plan and set deadlines, Serzanin says. He makes a point to be home every day by 6PM, and uses that time to set deadlines with team projects and class schedules to accommodate family time. Doing so keeps him sane, he says.

TCU MBA student and U.S. Army veteran Tim Jones gives this advice to prospective students wondering how to juggle an MBA program with family life: “Don’t underestimate how much time and how difficult it is going to be, but remember it’s absolutely doable and it won’t last forever,” he says. “A full-time MBA program is hard work, but it’s worth it in the end.”
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