Business School or Med School for Moms?
Jul 22 2008

Thanks to a Mommy Track’d post called MBAs Are Opting Out for the link to the article by Reuters called More women with MBAs take mommy track than doctors: study.  

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I can’t say I’m surprised for a variety of reasons.  I have an MBA and although I never thought of completely opting out of the business world to be a full time stay at home mom (other than the first 6 months of my kids’ lives), I did choose a more flexible transition back into the workforce by starting my own company.  That way I could start them off in part time care until I felt they and I were ready for them to go to full time care. 

According to the article by Reuters, “The University of California Berkeley Haas School of Business study of nearly 1,000 Harvard undergraduates found that 15 years after graduation, business school graduates were more likely than doctors or lawyers to leave the workforce.“  

It continues by saying “Those surveyed were about 37 years old and had at least one child. Fifteen years after graduating from Harvard College, 28 percent of the women who went on to get MBAs were stay-at-home moms. By comparison, only 6 percent of MDs stopped working outside of the home.  Of the MBAs surveyed, 27 percent had careers in the financial sector and 17 percent worked in consulting. The majority of the MDs worked in specialties centered on women (13 percent in obstetrics/gynecology), children (31 percent in pediatric medicine), and family.” 

As a business student, there’s not often a set path like there is for med students.  In the medical field, you finish school, you do your internship, you do your residency, and then you get hired into a private practice or university to continue in your field.  Sure the field of medicine changes but apparently not as fast as the field of business.  

Business is all about your network and skills.  Moms/Parents who stay at home with their kids are advised to continue building and keep up with their network.  Medicine is definitely about your skills, but you usually don’t get hired on to a hospital or private practice based on who you know, it has more to do with what you know and where you got your degree! 

I find it interesting that I know several MBA women friends who have opted out of pursuing a career while their kids are young and at the same time my OB/GYN and pediatrician (who both happen to be women) came back to work shortly after their kids were born.  Our pediatrician came back to work only about 8 weeks after her baby was born.  I think both of them are amazing and incredible doctors! 

I remember my OB saying how important it was that I take it easy after the baby was born and to take as much time off as possible.  I then made a comment to her about the fact she returned to work after her babies were born and she was able to manage it, and she kind of stared at me blankly and didn’t seem to know what to say. 

So what do you think the reasons are for the different parenting choices made between moms who got a business degree and those who got a medical degree?  I have some ideas, but I’d love to know what you think.

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