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The Ultimate Balance: From A Full-Time Employee and Part-Time MBA Student

Madison and I met in college, but I have been lucky enough to call her a close friend since I moved back to Greenville several years ago. In that time, she has actually connected me with a few of the YoPro interviews in the past, so it’s only appropriate that we give her the opportunity now to share her experience working full-time while pursuing her Master’s. As you can see from the photo at the bottom of the page, she has known this was the right path with her since the beginning, and I encourage you to read her takeaways here.


The seed was planted when I was only six months old and my dad carried me across the stage to receive his MBA diploma at Harvard (see image below). I have always looked up to my dad and admired his integrity and ability to challenge himself throughout his working career. Although this meant a lot of moving around, my family has made unforgettable memories and friends while also growing closer as a family.

Fast forward twenty years when I decided to pursue Business Administration at Furman University. I enjoyed the diverse opportunities that business provided but, I knew my heart was in Healthcare Administration. After a year-long internship at Bon Secours St. Francis hospital, I accepted a position on the Performance Management team. Currently, I am a Project Lead over strategic and capital construction projects, which allows me to enjoy the same type of diversity that drew me to business. I get to work with a variety of teams while also having the opportunity to create new and innovative spaces for our patients. Working for a faith-based hospital aligns with my mission to be able to give back to all parts of the human person-mind, body, and soul.

After a year into the working world, I felt a sense of urgency to go back to school. It was a combination between the realization that if I don’t go back now I may never accomplish my dream, coupled with the fact that my roommate was studying for the MCAT and was already pursuing her dream of going to Medical school. For lack of a better metaphor, the seed of getting my master’s grew its roots. After taking the GMAT and lots of prayers, I got accepted into Clemson’s part-time MBA program. It felt like a dream, knowing that the school is a five-minute drive from work, located in the heart of Greenville, with glass windows that overlook the entire city.

Although I have thoroughly enjoyed school over the last two years, the reality of working and going to night classes is tough. I am embarrassed to admit but there have been multiple nights where I have worked late and my dinner suffices to be Welch’s Fruit Snacks from the vending machine in Clemson’s business school. There were also times when I looked out of the classroom windows to see people having fun at the adjacent rooftop bar, SIP, and suddenly I’d felt like I was missing out. Most days it takes hard work to transition from “work brain” to “school brain” and I have immense respect for those that also worry about families at home. There have been numerous nights where studying or going to class is the last thing I want to do.

Regardless of the challenges, people are always positive. The beauty of having classmates that do the same as you- work and go to school- increases the experiences that are brought to the classroom conversations. Throughout my time at Clemson, I have had engineers, teachers, nurses, therapists, and accountants in my classes. My classmates diverse thoughts and willingness to speak up from personal experiences has brought a level of depth and insight into the classroom, which I had never experienced before. It is not just about the degree for many of my peers; it is also about providing for their loved ones and achieving their own specific professional goals. Additionally, we are all able to apply what we learn from the classroom to our day jobs and see the instant impact.

In addition to the people, some classes will forever change the way I navigate both my personal and professional life. One “aha!” moment for me was sitting in a Career Management class. Our teacher, Jamie Patterson, articulated the importance of having your own Board of Directors. Similar to companies, people need a diverse group of individuals around them to encourage them to be their best selves. Think about it. Who do you go to for advice? Do they challenge you? Do they have a different perspective? I encourage you all to find a friend like Kamber Parker (founder of YoPro Know) who is someone that inspires everyone around her to learn, grow, and connect.

During my time at Clemson, the International Study Abroad Program at Oxford has been the most influential. We learned about the importance of understanding culture and how that directly affects business transactions. It was incredible to tour UK companies, analyze their culture and processes, and be able to recommend a strategic decision that could positively influence their operations.

Two years into the Clemson MBA program I can honestly say that yes, I have learned how to calculate financial equations, but more than that, I have taken away invaluable lessons. Here are a couple that I want to share with you:

    Do not ignore the goals or dreams that are planted in your heart.

    Nothing good comes easy

    If you are thinking about getting your master’s while working full-time—first, think about why you are choosing to go back to school. It is hard, but you can do hard things!

    Write down your own Board of Directors who will help you with your career and life journey.

    Take care of yourself and find a balance that works for you.

The YoPro Know's Takeaways:

-Balancing your work-life with your school-life can be done with the right mindset and support system

-Anytime is a good time to start your dreams or goals

-Find the silver linings in any challenge you come across

-Write down your own Board of Directors who will help you with your career and life journey

Connect With The Author Here: Madison Wolfe

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