An Apt Metaphor: Letting The Goat Into Your House

Goats. Most people do not relish the idea of sharing their home with one. They’re smelly, scratch the furniture with their pointy horns, and let’s face it, they eat everything.

But business school and goats have something in common, I swear:

A businessman in a small town is frustrated by the fact that his in-laws are living with him. He goes to see the local wise man who advises him to bring in a chicken from the barn and let it live inside.

The businessman thinks the wise man is a wise guy, but follows the instructions only to find his home even more crowded. He goes back to the wise man who retorts, ok … now let a cow into the house. And you get the drill, soon a whole menagerie is sitting on his couch, drinking his wine, and the goat… he’s gnawing on the ottoman.

And it’s at that stage where you currently find me: Working during the day, studying at night. My life is pretty darn full and it often feels that my responsibilities are nibbling at my toes and fingertips.

Making space for the demands of Wharton’s Executive MBA program does not mean I’ve hired a full-time housekeeper. Sorry to say…I’m not Kim Kardashian. There’s no personal shopper standing in line outside the Apple store making sure I get the first iPhone 5 so that I can show it off to Kanye.

No. I look more like that chubby villain in Austen Powers. “Get into my tummy,” I occasionally yell at my finance texts books (yes there are two!)

Admittedly, having a full-time job and getting an MBA at Wharton is a lot to swallow, but thankfully, I do not have to digest it all alone.

So, bring in what I call the “genetically engineered study teams.”

Day One at Wharton | San Francisco means getting assigned to work with five of your fellow students for the first year of classes. These people were not picked out of a hat. Nope. Before arriving, our skills and personalities are assessed, charted and graphed, to make sure that journalists like me have accountants and engineers to help them through some pretty tough stuff. I doubted this process at first, but this is an amazing system. Having people, a school family, is necessary to survive the workload you encounter.

And, I LOVE my team, “The Coco-Palmers.” I often cringe when I think that I will have to go back to my normal life without school and relinquish the privilege of working with them on a frequent basis. But I digress…

There is life on the outside. Counselors at Wharton | SF advise you to tell your loved ones what to expect while you’re going through the program. So, I sat my husband down and said, you remember that cook you love? She’s gone. Tailgating at football games in the fall? Have fun without me. I had to tell my parents who were thrilled to have us move back to the Bay Area from L.A., that they might see me less than when I lived hundreds of miles away.

Making room for more is doing simply that.  It requires a commitment to your desk more than the one to your bed and a sincere desire to get more done combined with the ability to execute on that ideal.

Currently, I live an engaging reality full of brilliant professors and fellow students, but still, I keep an eye on the horizon: a day when I have a Wharton MBA in my pocket.

My house may not be larger, but man, it will feel bigger when my responsibilities become simpler—and I kick out the goats so to speak. And that great post-MBA job? It will help me pay to replace that couch the barn animals ate while I wasn’t looking.

Lindsay Stewart is an MBA for Executives student at Wharton | San Francisco and a special projects producer for KPIX- TV. She graduated from UC-Berkeley with a BA in English in 2002 and has worked in the TV business ever since. Her previous posts on P&QforExecs:

A Third Of The Way Into Wharton’s San Francisco EMBA Program
Why I’m Getting An Executive MBA At Wharton