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Making altMBA work with a family and full-time job

We asked alumni with families if it was worth the effort
to take altMBA on top of a full-time job.

“Make friends with your crockpot. My family didn't starve.”

—Jennifer C.

“When I did altMBA last year, I had a full-time job and a 4 year old daughter. In fact, having a job can be a real advantage: you can experiment with what you learned in altMBA in the next working day. A win-win situation.”

—Jean-Marie B.

“I did altMBA7 with a full time job, wife and and two boys 11 and 13. It was important that I show my family my enthusiasm for the program. They wanted to know that their sacrifice was worth it for me. Especially on Saturdays when I was not in the program, I needed to be very present with them and also tell them about what I was up to.”

—Matt M.

“When I was doing altMBA, I had a 3 year old daughter, my wife was 7 months pregnant and my business was going through some turbulent times. On the one hand, the altMBA will help. It will make it easier to decide what is important and what isn't. On the other hand: you're only doing the altMBA once (probably, although I might consider a follow-up program), and you are paying real money to take part in this experience. Best to plan ahead and reduce all the practical hurdles. Remember, it's only 4 weeks.”

—Steven V.

“I was working full time on developing my app, and also filmed two episodes of my television series, and I have a daughter that was 9 years old at the time… So yeah it’s possible.”

—Derek M.

“I actually wrote a short post on that topic while taking the altMBA. Feel free to pass along the link or the sentiments:”

—Michael S.

“Completing altMBA while working full time and having kids can be done, but it's not easy. I set myself up for success by communicating and preparing. It wasn't easy. But it was worth it.”

—Abbe V.

“I made the commitment to myself, before starting the program that I would do my absolutely best during altMBA within that constraint. I would never put family as an excuse for not meeting deadlines or doing outstanding work. So, is it possible to do altMBA with family and kids? Absolutely yes.”

—Robert Z.

“When I went through altMBA my son (first) was seven months old. My wife and I were already dealing with the adjustment of having close to no personal time in addition to surviving on 2-4 hours of sleep per day. I was aware of the time commitment and the degree of dedication altMBA would require if I was to be accepted based on all the FAQs and alumni testimonials that were online.”

—James M.

“It depends on the age of kids [age16 and 19] - it definitely helped that our altMBA session 1 was in the summer timeframe (didn't have to worry about school stuff). Family does add extra stress regardless. Need to have an understanding spouse/partner and set expectations up front.”

—Brigitte C.

“My kids were old enough that each one made dinner one night a week for the family to help support me while I was in "class "on Tuesdays and Thursdays. It's a tradition we have continued.”

—Jennifer C.

“I recall being on lots of calls and seeing people's partners bringing them meals, coffee and other reinforcements.”

—Abbe V.

“I was originally inspired to do this because I've said for years, ‘Seth is my hero,’ and I wanted to see what this was all about. I was also in a place where I was trying to figure out what was next for me at work after 15 years in marketing. I'd take this again in a heartbeat.”

—Gretchen H.

“Staying later or arriving earlier at the office. This was a huge help! Being at my office puts me in work mode, so by getting there an hour to two hours earlier than normal I was able to crank out altMBA work with no distractions.”

—James M.

“I kept my wife ‘posted’ about what I was doing during altMBA. We discussed the projects together, I told her about my teammates, I asked her for feedback on my projects, etc.”

—Robert Z.

“My son was 4 at the time and was in preschool part time, so he was home a lot. Very often, the hardest part was when he begged me to play with him and I couldn't. But we talked a lot about mama's program, that it would help me grow and learn in school like he does, and that it had a definite end. We would look at a calendar together to see what that looked like. Lots of communication all around and a VERY supportive partner.”

—Abbe V.

“Plan your 4 weeks in advance, book time (several hours) for your family, tell them why it is important for you and why/how they will benefit from the journey.”

—Jean-Marie B.

“What I did is the following: I cleared my work schedule after 15h00, for 4 weeks. This gave me time and headspace to work and reflect on projects. On top of that, I arranged grandparents and nannies for almost every Tuesday and Thursday evening and parts of the Sundays, so I didn't have to manage this part during the altMBA.”

—Steven V.

“I was working full-time during altMBA while breastfeeding-on-demand my 5-month-old baby boy and managing a rambunctious two-year-old girl. I was concerned about balancing the video chats along with regular feedings. I found that being upfront with my cohort about my little ones allowed me the space I needed to turn off my camera when necessary and strategically use the mute button. It helps to have a partner available to take care of the kiddos during the evening sessions and Sunday sprints, but in a pinch, your learning group will understand.”

—Mindi R.

“Is it possible to do the altMBA while working full-time and taking care of kids/family? Absolutely. My wife and I have 3 daughters, one of which was just 3 months old when I started the altMBA and while working full-time ~50 hrs/week. It is doable, but definitely with the help of my wife (who also works full-time owning her own business). Before I applied, we had a family chat about it and fortunately everyone agreed to step up during those 30 days. It did turn out to be late nights and early mornings for me, but honestly I was so mentally drained that I slept the best I’ve ever slept in my life on less hours. Oh, and the lawn didn’t get mowed…”

—Nathan P.

“The schedule is totally manageable working full-time and sprinting with my peers in altMBA. The student calendar allowed me to fully map out the four weeks so I could manage expectations of my team and company, while working through my projects in altMBA.”

—Nick D.

“There were nights the baby was screaming, I hadn't slept, I had 100 things to do for work by the next am, and an altMBA project to finish. You need to be able to tolerate a level of discomfort.”

—James M.

“Is it doable? Yes. Is it difficult? Extremely. When they said, it's intense, they meant it and this is the time when you ask for favors left and right and you really get your village to work for you. Backstory: I'm a stay at home mom to a two year old who is at home 24/7. I spent 2 of 4 weeks of altMBA sans husband due to his job schedule. I don't ever want to go through what those two weeks were like again. Seriously. The other two weeks were better with his help. But all in all, this was TOTALLY worth it. Did I read all the recommended material/books? No. Did I ship every project? Yes. I did the best I could with what I had and it worked wonders for me. Advice? Just dive in and soak it all up. You'll get time later to let it sink in.”

—Zania S.

“I was working full-time as Project Manager for a construction project. We have two kids, 3 and 1 year-old at the time. My wife works full-time at 3M as an HR Manager for 4 countries. The main insight is for me is: doing altMBA with kids is possible. You will have to define clear constraints about your time. You need to talk to your spouse in advance, so that it's clear for both of you what to expect.”

—Robert Z.