Balancing Core and parenting

The summer Core is an intense 12 weeks with seemingly every waking minute occupied for all 84 days. Before MBA I worked nearly 10 years in the offshore oil and gas industry and rarely worked more than a 40-hour week when I was not offshore. I had plenty of time with my wife and three kids (ages 3, 5, and 5). Truthfully, I worked 60–80 hours for each of those 12 weeks of summer Core. If you are considering the one-year program or any MBA program while trying to raise some decent kids this probably sounds like quite a challenge. Let me share some perspective about why having kids can be advantageous: they teach you superior time management skills, and they motivate you to be a good role model.

Dr. Ed Young of Second Baptist Church in Houston says, “Kids spell love as T-I-M-E.” So, what do you do when you don’t have a lot of time during summer Core? You learn to manage your time even better, and you make every minute count. If you do it well, you can create those extra minutes in your schedule, and you will be fully present and engaged when you are with your family. Honestly, it was really hard for me to turn off “work mode.” But when I was able to disconnect from school and focus on the kids, it was a meaningful break for my mind, far better than any Netflix session.

Andrew Nickerson with wife and three children

Andrew Nickerson with wife and three children

My daughter had two birthday parties over the summer when she turned 5. At both parties, she blew out her candles and told everyone that she wished daddy didn’t have to work so much. A little heartbreaking. But also made me realize that she was watching and recognized how hard I was working. What a great opportunity to teach my kids that hard work is rewarding and something we don’t avoid! Being a role model for my kids encouraged me to maintain a good attitude towards the challenge of summer Core. It kept my head in the right place when I might have otherwise felt overwhelmed.

I would be lying if I told you it was easy with kids. Sometimes they brought much needed laughter and sometimes they had tantrums. But ultimately, they are a powerful source of inspiration that motivated me to improve my time management skills and maintain a winning attitude as a role model for them. Most importantly, if you do the one-year program, the 12-week summer goes by fast so everyone will survive. Final thought, just make sure you prepare your spouse since they have to do the grind work for the family while you get to focus on self-improvement and networking (which sometimes “requires” a cocktail or two)!

Andrew Nickerson

Andrew Nickerson

Andrew Nickerson is a One-Year MBA candidate at Goizueta Business School. A native to Roswell, Georgia, he did his undergraduate studies in Ocean Engineering at Florida Atlantic University and worked in the offshore oil and gas industry for nearly 10 years as an engineer and project manager for 2H Offshore in Houston, Texas. He has a wife and three kids that give him the support and motivation to continue his growth journey.