“I was looking for a program that would offer me the support and resources I needed to achieve academic and professional success and thrive as a mother — and I’m happy to say I’ve found that at Wharton.”

As more women opt to pursue MBAs, it will be increasingly important for business schools to acknowledge the unique set of challenges they face – for some, the challenges of combining motherhood and MBA studies.

Wharton’s commitment to gender diversity is one of the main reasons I chose this program — women constitute a record 43 percent of Wharton’s MBA Class of 2017.

As a mother of two and prospective MBA student looking at programs, I had a unique set of criteria. I was looking for a program that would offer me the support and resources I needed to achieve academic and professional success and thrive as a mother — and I’m happy to say I’ve found that at Wharton.

Divinity Swing

Here’s a list of six great resources available to MBA moms at Wharton:

1. Mothers @ Wharton, an initiative of Wharton Women in Business

Last year, Andra Ofosu, WG’16, and Gil Kaminski, WG’16, founded Mothers @ Wharton — a supportive campus community for MBA students who are mothers and those considering parenthood during their MBA. They wanted to increase the visibility of moms in the Wharton MBA program and help expecting mothers and Wharton women with children access resources to better navigate family and career planning during their time at Wharton and beyond.

The group has been a major success, and I’m proud to say that my colleague Minah Lee, WG’17, and I will be leading Mothers @ Wharton as Co-Presidents for the 2016–17 academic year. If you’re a mom considering an MBA or you’re wondering how you can balance starting a family with starting an MBA, email us and we’ll be happy to answers your questions about being a Mother @ Wharton.

2. The Family Center at Penn

NyahLocated about a block from Huntsman Hall, The Family Resource Center at Penn offers excellent programming for student families. Their newsletter always has relevant information about events and resources for student parents.

Here are a few of the resources I’ve found most valuable at the Family Center:

Family Programming

My daughter Nyah and I attended several Family Center programs, including an ice skating party, a Valentine’s Day brunch, and an Easter egg hunt. These events offer parents from multiple programs throughout the University — from the Law and Medical Schools to Wharton — to meet each other and develop relationships.

Lactation Resources

The Family Center has a lactation room on the Lower Level of 3615 Locust Walk and thanks to a generous donation, has several Medela Symphony breast pump attachment kits available to members of the Penn community. If you are an enrolled student interested in receiving a pump, email pwc@pobox.upenn.edu.

Childcare Help

The Family Center offers premium memberships to Care.com — one of the main platforms student parents use to find nannies and babysitters in Philadelphia. Student parents can also take advantage of an Emergency Backup Care Program, which provides up to five days of backup care during the calendar year for challenges like snow days, sick days, and school holidays.

3. Penn Special Delivery for Expecting Moms

A prenatal membership program for students and employees and spouses at the University of Pennsylvania, Penn Special Delivery has been useful to Wharton women who opted to get pregnant and have children during their MBA program.

Some of the program’s offerings include:

  • Free educational classes on childbirth, parenting, and becoming a sibling
  • Priority for a private room as patient census allows
  • Prenatal appointments on campus or in Radnor, Pa.
  • Free pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting e-newsletter
  • Individualized pre-pregnancy counseling, including first trimester screening

Registration is required. Call 800.789.PENN to confirm your eligibility and find out if your health benefits enable you to deliver your baby at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

4. Lactation Suite at Huntsman Hall

In fall 2016, Wharton updated its facilities to include four private lactation rooms in Jon M. Huntsman Hall, the main business school building located at 3730 Walnut Street.

Available to Wharton faculty, staff, and students, the suite is located on the main floor corridor of Huntsman just past the undergraduate division suite (walking from the Locust Walk side towards the Walnut Street side). 

Mothers @ Wharton applauds Wharton’s administration for continuing to establish a welcoming and inclusive community for mothers and families at Wharton.

Penn’s Nursing Mothers Program provides additional support and resources for new and expecting parents, including a comprehensive list of lactation spaces on campus. Note that some of these locations provide a breast pump, but you have to bring your own attachments.

5. Penn Women’s Center

Less than a block from Huntsman Hall, the Penn Women’s Center (PWC) advocates on a wide range of issues, including reproductive justice, sexuality, discrimination, interpersonal violence, and physical and mental health. It promotes gender justice at Penn and sponsors programs on:

  • Career development
  • Stress management
  • Parenting
  • Violence prevention
  • Health and wellness

PWC also has a fully equipped lactation room and diaper changing room. The center is open Monday through Friday, 9:30 am – 5:30 pm, and by appointment on evenings and weekends.

Divinity and Nyah6. Wharton Kids Club and Wharton Partners Club

Both of these clubs create a sense of community among Wharton students, partners, and families and offer support and resources to ease the transition to Wharton.

Wharton Partners Club organizes several social, philanthropic, cultural, and family-oriented activities each month, and Wharton Kids Club offers great activities like play groups, family outings, and parents’ nights out so you can make connections and more fully enjoy the Wharton experience together.

Posted: October 4, 2016

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