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Fridays from the Frontline: Managing Babies and Books—Mom MBA Students at IESE

managing babies and books

This week’s post comes from Spain’s IESE Business School, where multiple moms are managing babies and books at the same time. A recent post on the IESE MBA Blog featured an interview with two moms—Blanca Gómez-Zamalloa Atiénzar and Rocío Pardo Martín, both Class of 2017 and both who gave birth in the first year of their MBA program. In the first of two posts, IESE has chosen to highlight moms among its students and understand just how they’ve been managing babies and books.

Our thanks to both moms for granting permission for the interview to be republished here for the Clear Admit audience. And also kudos to IESE for highlighting their experiences for current students and prospective applicants to understand how motherhood and the MBA can and do go hand in hand.

The following post has been republished in its entirety from its original source, the IESE MBA Blog.

Managing Babies and BooksMom MBA Students at IESE

IESE: It must have been big news to find out you were pregnant during the MBA! What was your initial reaction? Knowing how intense the MBA program is, did you have any concerns?

Blanca Gómez-Zamalloa Atiénzar: I was very happy when I found out I was pregnant because I wanted to live the experience of being a mother without the need to work, so I can spend more time with the baby. The timing was perfect because Gonzalo was born on the exact day we finished the first year!

Rocío Pardo Martín: The truth is that having a baby during the MBA was in our plans. My husband and I knew we wanted to have kids, and we were already married for a year when I started the program. The real challenge for us is to balance family life and professional development, and this is a challenge that does not necessarily become easier after the MBA.

Furthermore, an MBA program leaves sufficient time for students to think about their career journeys, explore new fields, spend time with colleagues, discover a new city, even travel… why not start a family and enjoy that as well? For me, this turned out to be the perfect timing. Now, as a second-year student, I got to enjoy one month of Christmas holidays with my family, and not many mothers get that luxury!

IESE: I’m sure your partners and families must have been excited as well! How have they been supporting you during this process?

BG: My husband was just as happy as me because he is also doing the MBA, so he could also spend more time with the baby! He supported me during the whole process, and he was even able to come to the doctor with me 100 percent of the times so I felt that it was not only “me” but “us” during the whole pregnancy.

RP: The support of my husband, Claudio, was crucial. He changed jobs to come to Barcelona and always has my back so that I can devote time to my studies. My family gave me full support as well, especially my mother who is an IESE full-time MBA alumnus and also had her first child during her studies. This served as a first-hand example that doing an MBA and having a baby is completely possible. Her support and encouragement helped me organize myself so that I could enjoy my maternity and the MBA at the same time.

IESE: How have the school, your classmates and professors been supporting you through the process?

BG: My classmates and professors helped me in everything I needed. My team mates were very accommodating when I had doctor visits during the year. Professors allowed me to change exams so I could leave school two weeks before classes ended. The school also supported me by facilitating talks with my professors and provided me with everything that I needed during my pregnancy. My biggest challenge was figuring out my summer internship, which was required for me to graduate. I ended up working on a consulting project for a retail family business, which was more flexible, so it worked out well.

RP: From the very first day I received all the support of my classmates. They shared my happiness and they’ve been very caring throughout the year. I believe they also felt like they were a part of the pregnancy as they watched my tummy grow day after day! As we say now, baby Claudio is also from “Section C.”

managing babies and books

Blanca Gómez-Zamalloa Atiénzar with her teammates during her pregnancy


IESE: What was it like being pregnant during the MBA? How did your MBA life change?

BG: I did not find any difference between my life and the rest of the students due to being pregnant. I went to every class, did the same amount of work, went to every single event and trip that I wanted to go for…

RP: My MBA life didn’t change at all. The MBA didn’t require any physical effort that I couldn’t do. Moreover, having to eat breakfast and leave early in the morning made morning sickness disappear quicker, and being so engaged with the courses in a way erased all the discomfort of the last months. In fact, during pregnancy I had the most wonderful time at the MBA because I remember sitting in class and feeling special. Well, maybe there was one drawback: studying at the library—my belly didn’t fit well under those tables!

Posted in: Fridays from the Frontline, MBA Mama, MBA News, News, Weekly Columns

Schools: IESE

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