Last class weekend, after a grueling econ midterm, our class celebrated with a BBQ – complete with clowns. Why? It was the WEMBA (Wharton Executive MBA) Family Night. As I watched classmates’ children interact with their parents, I was reminded of the respect I have for my classmates. Every single person makes different sacrifices to be in our program, and it’s comforting that we’re in this together.
The two weeks leading up to the midterm were insane. My start-up hired and onboarded our first president. I prepared and presented quarterly financials to my company’s board. My in-laws visited us in New Orleans and celebrated my birthday. I ordered takeout seven nights in a row – and I LOVE to cook. Between work and school, I completed eight flights for over 8,200 miles – luckily only one missed connection.
The reality is that this is my new normal. And I’m willing to bet that my other WEMBA classmates had similar war stories.
We’re living life in two week “segments”, and I don’t know whether to be excited – or scared – that we have exactly 2.5 “segments” until first-semester finals. Where did the semester go?
Work-life balance has clearly taken on a new meaning. When our company President started last week, the only opportunity I had to see him was over dinner the Wednesday before midterms. I showed up to dinner with my three-inch thick econ binder (at that point, I carried it everywhere, hoping it would somehow stick!), and he did a double take – the last time I saw him was this spring in Vegas.
When I returned to work on Monday, my coworkers shared war stories from Running of the Bulls (an annual French Quarter event where the Big Easy Rollergirls assume the role of bulls, hitting the streets and the runners with their whiffle ball bats). War stories from econ class just aren’t quite the same.
But every class weekend, something new at WEMBA comes to life. This weekend I gained a new appreciation for my classmates’ backgrounds. Considering that Wharton is known for finance, I assumed that the class would be heavily weighted this way…so I was floored in econ class when a classmate was able to relate our price discrimination discussion to her role in prescription pricing at a pharmaceutical company. Suddenly a confusing concept became clear! The real-life experiences shared in the classroom make a huge difference.
Unexpected benefits like this and knowing we’re in this together help everyone to get through it. It’s not easy, but for now, I prefer the challenge of econ class to the challenge of avoiding the whiffle ball bats at Running of the Bulls.
Christy Luquire lives and works in New Orleans and is a first-year student in Wharton’s Executive MBA program.
Her previous posts on Poets&QuantsforExecs: