Yale School of Management

EMBA Liftoff: Jamie Coogan '16

How do you fit the MBA for Executives into your busy life? Four new EMBA students share their perspectives on transitioning to a new normal during the first month at Yale SOM.

October 13, 2014

I had always wanted to go back to get my MBA, but the timing never seemed right. “We’re getting married next May/We just bought the house/ Work has been too crazy.” I eventually realized that it would never be the right time. Many people would look at my situation and tell me if there was ever a time that wasn’t right, now might be it. My wife and I both work and spend the rest of our time raising our two daughters. The girls, two and half years and nine months old, demand a significant portion of our time. From daycare pick-ups to music class to birthday parties, it seems like we never stop. As I type this post, I am looking at a bin of art supplies that always ends up in the middle of the living room floor no matter how many times it gets put away.

I started by identifying those little pockets of time throughout the day where I could get schoolwork done...

That brings me back to the decision. No, this is not Lebron choosing to take his talents to South Beach. This is me choosing to take the little time I do have and commit to a rigorous 22-month program. The goal of which is to be better prepared for the leadership challenges I expect to face in the future.  This decision rests on a plan – a way to accommodate all of the people in my life who have demands on my time.  From home to work, I could fill the day with tasks. So how was I going to fit in school?

I started by identifying those little pockets of time throughout the day where I could get schoolwork done, like eating lunch at my desk while working through probability problems, getting into work an hour earlier to finish up reading from the night before, spending a Sunday doing schoolwork to get a head start on the week and working through assignments after the house quieted for the night.

Following this process allows me to be a productive employee, complete my required school assignments and mostly importantly be a father. It also ensures that I get “Family Time.” Specifically, this is the time from after work until the girls go to bed. With two working parents, this can be one of the craziest parts of the day. I want to be there to help with dinner and dishes, give the girls a bath and sing and dance and read stories before bed.

Although the program has only begun, I am committed to the plan. I am sure challenges will lie ahead and the discipline to maintain this scheduled will be tested, but until then, I have found a way to create a life that now includes school.

About the author

Jamie Coogan

MBA for Executives, 2016