What I love about being an MBA mom

3 minute read

When I got into Oxford for my MBA, I was fraught with indecision as to whether I should accept.

Was it possible to effectively balance the role of a full-time student with that of a mother? Now, almost a year later, I’m excited to say I have no regrets: the experience has been challenging, exhilarating and empowering.

Here’s what I have loved about being an MBA mom.

Ruqayya Diwan with her son

Teaching my son: I am often plagued by feelings of guilt that the experience has been hard on my three-and-a-half-year-old son, especially during the initial tears at nursery drop-off and when he misses his father! However, the flip side is watching his fascination with the fact that his grown-up mom is a student just like him.

He sat in the audience of a large lecture theatre listening intently as I delivered my Entrepreneurship Project pitch to the MBA cohort. It’s cool to think that I am teaching him to fight for a world that is equitable in terms of career fulfilment for both men and women.

Feeling like a superhero: There’s so much to balance in the MBA: studying, extracurriculars, networking etc. Add taking care of a little human to the mix and it can become a lot. Figuring out how to manage everything, while accepting that I will have to miss out on a lot as well, has been difficult. However, it has also been a learning experience and I have grown so much in such a short period of time.

The support: The support and encouragement of my husband, parents, in-laws and the rest of my family has been invaluable during this experience. They all take turns in visiting from Pakistan as often as they can, making me only a sometimes-single parent. The MBA moms Telegram group (there are about nine of us) is also a great source of advice and a place to vent to people who ‘get it’.


No pressure: During Michaelmas term, while most students were taking on extracurriculars or leadership roles, I decided to just wait and see, for fear of getting overwhelmed. This turned out to be the best decision for me and I was able to slowly immerse myself in activities during the beginning of Hilary term. I am now contesting the election for the Secretary’s Committee at the Oxford Union, becoming an advisor for Impact Cube (an incubator for social enterprises). I recently took part in the Kellog-Morgan Stanley Sustainable Investing Challenge.


Always having a little buddy: It’s hard to feel lonely or bored when you constantly have a bundle of energy by your side. Also, it’s impossible to oversleep for classes due to my chatty alarm clock (not as cute on weekends)!

For parents considering the MBA at Saïd Business School, I hope that my experience inspires you to take the chance and go for it! Looking ahead, I’m excited to see what the rest of the year holds.