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Monday, December 27, 2010

School, Parenting, and Networking - It Shouldn't Be Impossible

The Princeton Review sends out a comprehensive survey to MBA students in order to come up with their B-school rankings.  The survey asks questions about everything from the professors to the facilities, from minority to family-friendly programs.  As I was taking the survey this year, I tried to honestly gauge where I felt my school was doing well and where it was missing something.  One section really gave me pause.  It went something like this, although I don't remember the questions exactly.

On a scale of 1 to 5, would you agree with the following (1 is strongly disagree, 5 is strongly agree):

My school provides plenty of opportunities for networking.
Yes, there are plenty of networking activities going on all the time.  But I can't attend any of them because they take away family time.

My school has part-time options for working students.
My school is 100% part-time; all the classes are in the evening.  In this we excel.  In fact, many students choose this school (including me) particularly because of the part-time non-cohorted aspect because they work or they have kids, or both.

My school provides resources for parent-students.
What?  What is that?  I know I can't be the only parent, but I haven't run into anyone else that's a parent.

My school provides daycare for children of students.
Um, I think so.  At least I know there is a daycare for the professors' children.

Is there anything you feel is missing from your school?
Now that you mention it, I would like to network with other students.  But it would be really great to meet other working (or non-working) student-parents and network with my daughter, so I could spend time with her at the same time.

Thus an idea was born and our school's MBA Parenting Network will kick off in February.  So far there's been a lot of interest from the school staff and all that's left is to decide on an activity. We'll probably try to do a monthly activity and a network of contacts.  Even if all we end up doing is swapping poopie horror stories, it will be well worth the time for the emotional lift and to know we're not alone.

You needn't be an MBA student to start your own circle of similar-interest parents.  There are a plethora of Mommy and Me-type organizations that already exist, or you can always start one of your own centered around your chief issues du jour.  What are you waiting for?  Get out there and make friends!