That’s the nature of executive MBA programs. The students are often looking to hone their professional skills — not establish them — and add formal academic credentials to often-extensive resumes.
Let us introduce you to three executive MBA students at GW. Their stories offer a snapshot of the individuals enrolled in these programs — and their efforts to balance career aspirations with the real-time demands of work, life and school.
Lazarevic tries to avoid ‘domino effect’
The clock read 8:30 a.m. as the students in George Washington University’s World Executive MBA program filed into their Saturday morning lecture on financial management. For Tochi Lazarevic, it felt like 2:30 in the afternoon.
The international development consultant and mother of two toddlers had stepped off an airplane just hours before from Kigali, Rwanda, where she had spent the past week helping to orchestrate a conference on education in sub-Saharan Africa.
“One of the challenges is juggling family and career,” Lazarevic said. “It demands a lot of your time. If anything falls off track, then obviously it has a domino effect.”
It’s a sentiment that Lazarevic shares with many of her classmates. Executive MBA programs tend to attract older students with several years of work experience already on their resume.
But in the years when they were establishing those professional credentials, their personal lives never stood still. Many students have spouses and homes, children and pets, and all the other aspects of life that don’t stop just because classes begin.
A graduate of George Mason University, Lazarevic has focused her career on international development and humanitarian work. That’s taken her to a mix of for-profit and nonprofit employers, including the Millennium Challenge Corp., which helps Congress distribute foreign aid, and Africare, a charity that addresses sanitation, food security and other humanitarian issues in Africa.
She now serves as a senior consultant with Morgan Borszcz Consulting, a minority, woman-owned small business that provides management and information technology assistance to the government and companies. She primarily works with the U.S. Agency for International Development.
But as she works toward the completion of her degree in December, Lazarevic said the marriage of a formal business education with her roots in humanitarian work could present new opportunities.
“It really helps you build the foundational skills you need to start your own business, which is ultimately what I would like to do,” she said.