Duke Weekend Executive MBA Student Blog
Accepting Imperfect Timing
When it comes to going back to school, the monster of imperfect timing rears its head and then offers many excuses.
I’d say that my timing has only been perfect when I walked by my favorite bagel place and its normal wraparound line was absent. I walked in, placed my order with the normally harried man at the counter, got my food, and refrained from the spin I could have made in the nearly empty storefront. Other than that perfect, chilly New York morning, I don’t think that timing ever really lines up in life. Most of us ask ourselves questions like:
- Is it ever the perfect time to have a kid or buy a house?
- What about a second kid? Do I have enough love? Can we only send one of these kids to college since they are only two years apart?
- Should I go back to business school despite having almost no quantitative background?
While I can’t answer the first two questions for you—I can take a crack at offering some wisdom on the third one.
When it comes to going back to school, the monster of imperfect timing rears its head and then offers many excuses. The kids are toddlers, the job is demanding, the house will never be clean again, and the list goes on and on. When I decided to go back to school, I was overcome by doubt.
I’m glad I didn’t know how to run a decision model in Excel and hadn’t heard the phrase ‘cognitive heuristics’ yet. Though business school has done a lot to help me with thinking through decisions large and small, the best and most useful framework I had at the time was to listen to those people around me who believed in me most. It is easy to start reading websites, profiles, and class descriptions and think I couldn’t handle this material. It is easy to think of this as a disruptive change instead of a potential transformation. It is easy to offramp when thinking about how tight my schedule is already and how it might be possible to fit more into an already busy life. I’m thankful for the thoughtful way that the people who believe in me most helped me move from dwelling in the uncertainty to understanding this as an opportunity.
Leaning on My Support System
Once I had the inauspiciously named “Team Linsey is Going Back to School” into place to help support this decision, the other team I read about but didn’t yet understand was Team Fuqua. This has turned out to be one of the most transformative and fortuitous pieces of my experiences at school, as I’ve learned how to both better count on and be counted on throughout this learning journey.
As a person who is almost at the finish line of my Executive MBA experience, I can assure you that the kids are alright, my job has been incredibly supportive, and the house is in no shape for hosting a dinner party.
I’ve learned an enormous amount about who to lean on, how to make it work, and how possible it is to grow.