Mothers @ Wharton: Day in the life

Mothers @ Wharton: Day in the life

By: Divinity Matovu, WG ’17, Mothers @ Wharton Co-president


As an ambitious entrepreneur and single mom to a 4-year old, I am extremely protective of my time. My ability to manage my time while avoiding FOMO has been one of my greatest assets at Wharton. I even dubbed myself “Time Management Queen.”

Below is a snapshot of last Wednesday:

  • 6 – 7 a.m. Catch up on email
  • 7 – 8 a.m. Edit and publish a blog post for my start-up
  • 8 a.m. Nyah wakes up. We brush our teeth, freshen up, and get dressed. I prepare some fruit for her breakfast.
  • 8:45 a.m. We head out the door and walk 10 minutes to her pre-school. During our walk, we talk about our plans for the weekend.
  • 9 a.m. Get Nyah signed into class for the day.
  • 9:05 a.m. Hop in a Lyft from Nyah’s pre-school to Green Eggs Cafe where I am meeting Neena, a Wharton partner, for breakfast.
  • 9:20 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. Discuss Neena and her family’s involvement in a babysitting co-op I am organizing.
  • 10:45 a.m. – noon Attend a meeting at 16th and Arch at the office of a Wharton alum / MBA mom whom I plan to feature on my blog. We discuss the babysitting co-op idea and some connections she has that might be able to get me access to start-up capital.
  • Noon – 12:30 p.m. Take the 21 bus from downtown back to campus.
  • 12:30 – 12:50 p.m. Popped in on a WASA Wednesday lunch and learn event.
  • 1:00 – 1:30 p.m. Met with a first-year student to discuss my summer experience working in investment management.
  • 1:30 – 3:00 p.m. Hear from FNCE 750 guest speaker Erik Hirsch, Chief Investment Officer for Hamilton Lane, a top PE shop.
  • 3:30 – 4:45 p.m. Went to a doctor’s appointment.
  • 4:45 – 5:00 p.m. Quick grocery store and CVS run to buy household items. No time to cook a big meal, so I buy a frozen pizza for dinner.
  • 5:00 p.m. Walk to Nyah’s school to pick her up. It takes us 15 minutes to get home. During our walk, she tells me about her day, and I tell her about mine.
  • 5:15 – 6:00 p.m. Prepare a snack for Nyah. She watches an episode of Spiderman while I catch up on emails and take a call from a prospective Wharton student.
  • 6 – 7:30 p.m. TV time over. Nyah plays with her toys in her bedroom while I do school work.
  • 7:30 p.m. Get Nyah ready for bathtime while I pop the pizza in the oven.
  • 8:00 p.m. Style Nyah’s hair while she eats dinner. Brush teeth and read her a bedtime story.
  • 8:30 p.m. Nyah is now in bed and I spend the next 3 hours working on deliverables for the next few days. I’ll be in bed by midnight.

I could not possibly handle all my responsibilities alone. My daughter is in pre-school from 9 a.m. until 5:30 p.m., and I have a nanny who works 20-30 hours a week. My nanny expense totals at least $1,000 monthly, but her support gives me peace of mind and the flexibility to take evening meetings, attend the occasional happy hour, or small group dinner.  


The Warmest Hugs

By: Nazik Zhumalieva, WG ’18

Physically and emotionally tired after a long and exciting day of meeting people during pre-term, I would rush back home with anticipation. Because the moment I would open the door, my kids would run to me with the sweetest cries, “Mama, mama, mommy came!” My children have been my biggest cheerleaders throughout my career and MBA journey.


Today I represent 1 percent of female students in the class of 2018 who happen to be moms. There are four of us. Each of our stories and current circumstances are totally different. Here is a glimpse of mine.

My family is quite unusual in a patriarchal society like Kyrgyzstan, my home country. My husband chose to become a stay-at-home dad 4.5 years ago when our first child was born. Since then, he has supported my career aspirations while taking care of our children. I was always working a full-time job and was committed to several social educational projects. For the last 1.5 years, I spent several hours a week studying for the GMAT and preparing my business schools applications.

Being a Mother @ Wharton means that my day typically starts earlier and ends later than my peers, that I would skip the White Party to ride a bike with a 4-year old, that part of my student budget is allocated to giant packs of diapers, that I keep a spreadsheet with a detailed analysis of the daycare market in Philadelphia.

But it also means that whatever happens during the day, I always get the warmest hugs and the sweetest love from the most important people in my life when I come home.


How an MBA mom experiences preterm

By: Smita Mukherjee, WG’18

Like other first years, I was very excited about pre-term. But during this time, I was keenly aware that I wanted to balance my pre-term activities with quality time with my husband and son. For example, I went to a Health Care Management dinner followed by karaoke, and while I thoroughly enjoyed the multiple-course Chinese dinner, I knew that as the night progressed, it was time for me to quietly slip out. I knew that my 3-year-old son was waiting in the car to pick up his mommy. It’s a precious feeling to see my son at the end of a hectic day, and knowing that I would be able to put him to sleep was exactly what I needed to get ready for my next day.


Thinking ahead, I am pretty sure that I will be making many similar decisions, because I want to be able to balance both my professional and personal life as a Wharton mom. I still remember how happy I was to hear from my husband that my son screamed “Mommy dancing” when he saw me on stage for the Cluster 3 dance performance during the Olympics!

I know my little guy will be my loudest cheerleader, not just at the Cluster dance-off, but throughout my MBA. I also know that I am able to embark on this amazing journey at Wharton because of the immense support from my family. Nothing comforts me more than knowing that my Wharton family members view each of us as equals, understand our unique situations, embrace our differences, and celebrate diversity as one of our greatest strengths.