Finding Balance: Three Dads of Hybrid MBA

You’ve heard about the work-life balance, but what about the work, life and school balance? Navigating these three major priorities can be a challenge, but the Hybrid MBA program provides an MBA that is 95% remote, providing the flexibility for parents to work out this delicate balance. Due to the adaptability of the Hybrid MBA, we are lucky to have many parents in our program. In honor of Father’s Day, we are honoring dads in our program who make it all work, while still finding time to spend with their growing children.

Photo of Hybrid MBA dad, Anton with child

Anton Fedoseev, Hybrid MBA ’22

Words of wisdom from Dave Reid, Hybrid MBA ’22:

Why Hybrid MBA?Photo of Hybrid MBA dad, David

I’ve been a fully remote worker for years, so I felt comfortable with the idea of working asynchronously and online when it came to my education. The thing that made the hybrid model jump out, however, is the opportunities to come together in-person multiple times a year for focused learning and development sessions. As a parent, I’ve found the hybrid model a great fit as I can build a flexible learning schedule which allows me to be present with my kids.

As a parent, I’ve found the hybrid model a great fit as I can build a flexible learning schedule which allows me to be present with my kids. – Dave Reid

How do you balance work, life and school?

It’s a constant learning process and it’s evolved greatly over the course of the year. Sometimes that looks like reading a textbook with one hand while re-creating a scene from Cars with the other. Other times it means creating intentional study breaks on the weekends to go to the park or maximizing nap time to finish up schoolwork.

Any advice for prospective students who are also parents?

Dave Reid '22 and child

Dave Reid ’22

You have help all around you, and I’ve found it crucially important to communicate what you need to your supporters. My biggest supporter is my partner, and we’ve prioritized sharing our schedules at the beginning of the week to cut down on any surprise events. You’ll also have a great set of supporters in your Hybrid study team. Everyone one my team has been more than willing to jump in and be flexible when life inevitably interrupts the routine. Seriously, your study team is the best.

However, one of the best things I’ve learned is to set aside a block of time every evening, which is my non-negotiable-Papa-time. It’s the time of day where I don’t schedule anything related to work or school, multi-tasking becomes outlawed, and I make sure I’m ready to read a story, give a bath, and sing a song. It’s something I hope to continue doing after I graduate and right up until the day my kids tell me they’re too cool for me (which is approaching dangerously quickly).

 

Words of advice from Anton Fedoseev, Hybrid MBA ’22:Photo of Hybrid MBA dad, Anton

Taking the Hybrid MBA program with Foster was one of the most exciting decisions in my life. At the same time, there is a lot of ambiguity associated with balancing the school, full-time work and family! Let me start by reassuring you – it’s doable… with the help of your loved ones! While these are not universal rules, I’d like to share what worked for me and my family.

Why Hybrid MBA?

I have spent the last several years researching and piloting different training delivery modes in customer success, premium support and consulting. After mastering more traditional eLearning and instructor-led experiences, my group came to the conclusion that hybrid approach gives the best of both worlds: flexibility of eLearning and high-engagement of the human-led instruction. Not surprisingly, when I decided to pursue my own degree in business, Hybrid MBA programs were at the top of my list. In the new world changed by COVID hybrid experiences will play an even more important role. While these programs are certainly becoming more common, not many can claim they have already mastered all the processes and successfully graduated 3 cohorts.

Studying business does not mean you keep all the knowledge to yourself. In fact it’s the opposite! Each course provides great opportunities for sharing and fun activities with kids and the spouse. -Anton Fedoseev

How to balance school, work and family:

Anton’s Travel Photos

My approach was based on 3 simple principles: commitment to agreements, family involvement and dedicated family time. First, we all discussed and agreed that there will be times when I am completely unavailable for the next 2 years. I honestly shared why I want to take the program, what kind of adjustments it may require to our routines and what help I may need from the family. Second, studying business does not mean you keep all the knowledge to yourself. In fact it’s the opposite! Each course provides great opportunities for sharing and fun activities with kids and the spouse. Courses like leadership provide a great opportunity for joint practice and reading.

For example, my 7-year old and I read the leadership books series for kids by Jocko Willink and it provided a lot of inspiration for the both of us! Lastly, proper planning allows for some time for free play and shared experiences. For example, I do try to take my son to all activities myself, so that we can spend time together and share these important moments. While waiting I can still work or study – hybrid format is perfect for that! The first year of study showed that having some extended blocks of family time is also real, but requires proper planning with the study team.

Any tips or tricks for prospective students who are also parents?

Don’t be afraid and share the experience with the family. It does not have to be “your thing”, there are many learnings you can share and it will be fun for everyone. Also, there are many parents in the program and we have our mini-community on slack. That in fact adds to the experience and provides extra opportunities for networking!

 

Wise words from Zack Vogt, Hybrid MBA ’22:

Zack Vogt Headshot

Why Hybrid MBA?

I am in a career transition and my wife had been the primary parent for our children for four years prior to the program. Being the new primary parent was a commitment I made to my wife so that she could pursue her career goals during these two years. The Foster School’s ability to bring the University of Washington’s demanding education curriculum into my home, after the kid’s had gone to sleep, was the main selling point. During this past year I have been extremely proud to be in Hybrid because I am being exposed to remote work practices that are ideal. Instead of being in a work force or another program that had to haphazardly switch to remote during COVID-19, the Hybrid MBA program was able to dictate the narrative and continue to teach and mentor future leaders how to lead in both the physical and remote environments.

How do you balance work, life and school?

While my caffeine dependency may have increased in comparison to my undergrad (and pre-parenting) days, it’s been much easier to manage my time after developing better professional habits. Communicating boundaries, goals, and schedules has helped me to give all I can to my study team, workplace and most importantly to my children. As a family we eat all of our meals together and try to stick to a daily regimen. Ideally this has helped both my wife and I be fully present for our children, support each other during a busy time, and helped us support our adult relationships both inside and outside of the classroom.

Any advice for prospective students who are also parents? 

Communicate to your stakeholders. When I first applied to the Hybrid MBA program, I told my wife I would be going to ‘night-school.’ I was wrong. Between networking, career coaching, and other extracurriculars that I have found invaluable parts of the program I have needed support in the daytime with child rearing. Fortunately, the two of us have been able to be supported by family and friends but by the program too.  My study team doesn’t hold meetings until after the kid’s bedtime. The University of Washington can financially support some childcare for you here. None of the above is possible without communication, and the great people on the other side of that conversation are more gracious than you would expect. I promise.

Blocks of devoted time. As parents we think we are experts in multi-tasking. Well, the Harvard Business Review tells us that it doesn’t work. I would add that my kids know it too. I tried for two semesters to play with my children while listening to a textbook or have an accounting video on in the background. My kids didn’t appreciate it, and neither did my grades. I would encourage all parents to dedicate explicit time and be honest with yourself and them about how you use that time.

Learn more about how Hybrid MBA parents blend life, school, and work with our Mother’s feature.

Meet more UW Hybrid MBA Students through our Hybrid MBA Student Q&A blog posts.

Learn about Steve’s role as the Hybrid MBA Student Council Chair Here: Meet the Hybrid MBA Student Council