EMBA student Shubhamvada Nihalani with her husband and sons.

In an already busy life, making room for an Executive MBA

For lots of executives and professionals interested in pursuing a Rutgers Executive MBA, life is busy. They may wonder if they have time to commit to a program with so many other responsibilities – a demanding job, marriage, children. To get a sense of the juggle that these students take on, we asked second-year EMBA Shubhamvada Nihalani to describe her life, why she wanted to fit the program into it, and how she manages.

Describe the different roles you're juggling?

Most, if not all of us, are living very experientially rich and varied lives. In my case, I work as a family medicine physician with specializations in geriatrics and obesity medicine at a local university healthcare system. My practice is mostly out-patient-based with on-call responsibilities. My spouse, a surgeon, and I co-founded and operate a medical aesthetics practice. I have three sons, aged 14, 12, and 10, along with two adorable cockapoos. As a result, my house is full of life.

Why did you decide to pursue a Rutgers EMBA at this point in life?

The pandemic. Everyone’s lives were in upheaval and for healthcare workers, the unprecedented stress led to thousands exiting the workforce. I was already on the verge of burnout, having been in practice for 16 years before the pandemic hit. In addition, since I had some experience operating my business, it was increasingly apparent how significant the gaps were in my knowledge of business, marketing, management, and balance sheets. For me, it felt like now or never because I think all of us came face-to-face with the complete unpredictability of life. I also felt like I had grown so much in my own field with three board certifications that I needed to expand my education laterally, outside of medicine. The Rutgers EMBA fulfilled all of my requirements. It was nearby, with weekend classes, a broad curriculum, thoughtfully curated courses, and an excellent reputation. The personal attention the director, Professor Farrokh Langdana, gave to each applicant left me with no doubt it was the right choice for my educational goals.

CEO Magazine ranks the Rutgers Executive MBA at No. 9 in the world. Read why.

Do you have a support system? Tell us about it.

My spouse, who initially wasn’t too thrilled about the timing of my decision, fortunately, came around when he saw I was determined to do this now. He has been extremely supportive even though it means far fewer home-cooked meals and family time. My children were tickled by the idea of mommy attending classes and doing homework. One of the best decisions I made was to hire a mother’s helper for a few hours a day so that I could outsource some of the driving of the children to their activities, some household chores, etc.

How do you ensure that you're paying attention to all aspects of your life?

I can’t maintain everything I did before the program in the same way without adding much stress to an already over scheduled life. Time spent with family and friends does slide a little, so I consciously let go of the non-value-adding activities I had been doing, such as household chores, watching TV shows, or unimportant social commitments. Some are swaps, such as letting go of my book clubs for business school reading, scrolling the Wall Street Journal instead of Instagram, and listening to audibles instead of music while walking the dogs.

What's your most important ritual or routine?

Meditation and mindfulness. I devote 15 to 30 minutes during the day to do this, if not in the mornings, then during lunch or right after work.

Once you graduate from EMBA, what's next?

I began the EMBA program with a few career goals of expanding my business and taking higher and more prominent management roles. However, after my summer EMBA trip to Vietnam, I am reconsidering the intersection of my values, life mission, and skills. I was moved by speaker Dr. Brian McNaull describing some of the work he does in rural areas and orphanages in Vietnam. His for-profit private clinic never turns anyone away regardless of ability to pay. He called it having the human face. I am now enamored by the hybrid model, also known as the Robin Hood model, of having a for-profit practice and the ability to provide non-profit care to the medically disenfranchised.

Interested in learning how a Rutgers Executive MBA can fit into your life? Attend an Open House on Sunday, Oct. 29, or a virtual Information Session on Wednesday, Dec. 6. Click here to learn more and register.




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