Dr. Marie-Laure Romney, WG’18, is balancing Wharton’s challenging EMBA with her roles in emergency medicine and as a mom of three.

Having a baby while you’re a student in Wharton’s MBA Program for Executives isn’t easy. Dr. Marie-Laure Romney knows this first-hand, as she had her third child just a few weeks into her first year at Wharton.

While having a newborn is rewarding, Marie was also adjusting to Wharton’s quantitative business curriculum – a change from her medical studies. Fortunately, Marie found that Wharton’s “supportive” environment makes it possible to be successful on all fronts: school, work and home.

We asked Marie, assistant medical director of the Emergency Medicine Department at Kings County Hospital Center in Brooklyn, NY, how she makes it work for her family.

Here are a few tips she shared:

Figure out your support system.

Marie’s husband works full-time so the couple asked her mother to move from Chicago to their home in New York to help care for their children during school sessions.

Stay in touch with the staff, who are there to help students.

“My class manager checked-in frequently to see what I needed. She even arranged a larger hotel room for me to share with my mom and baby when I was nursing on school weekends. The staff feel like family who are concerned about me as a person and not just as a student,” said Marie.

Talk to your classmates.

“After having the baby, my classmates were very supportive. It was amazing to see how much they cared. That is part of what makes the Wharton EMBA experience so unique – you build deep bonds that you wouldn’t have a chance to build if you were just going home every day after classes.”

Taking the GMAT as a Non-Quant Person

While juggling work, school, and kids is an ongoing process, Marie said that the application process was challenging too. “I’m a poet and not a quant person, so the GMAT was a hurdle for me. I studied several months and even hired a tutor to help with the quant section, but I didn’t get the quant score I wanted. I was really disappointed because I thought Wharton had a hard cutoff for GMAT scores,” she said.

When she called the office to get feedback on her situation, she was advised to consider taking the GMAT again, but they also reminded her that applications are considered holistically.

Once she got to Wharton, she found even more academic support and resources for students with less quantitative business background. “The quantitative aspect is challenging, but not insurmountable. It’s very rewarding to see how well you can do if you use the resources available. Everyone here does what they can to help you be successful.”

Finding ROI Before Graduation

Now that she is a second-year student, Marie is already seeing a return on her investment. “I’ve learned a lot about what it means to be a great manager and tap into people’s motivations. My interactions with coworkers and staff has changed because of my education.”

This is reinforced by the format of the EMBA program, she says. “We attend classes on Friday and Saturday and then we apply what we learn back in the office on Monday. That creates a very rich learning environment. And I’ve shared things from class with my team at work and they see the benefits of this program too.”

Marie notes that she learns a lot from her classmates’ experiences as well. “I look forward to hearing about how they applied our classroom learning in their industries. Those experiences at work are so impactful on our education.”

She adds that Wharton also instills in students a different way of thinking. “I see a change in myself in the way I solve problems. As soon as I think of a problem now, I can pair it with solutions and that is something I am learning at Wharton.”

Posted: October 23, 2017

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