Executive M.B.A. students are used to juggling the demands of high-octane careers and family life. But add in 20 to 30 hours a week of class work, and that balancing act can become overwhelming.
"Even for folks who are very competent and used to long hours, an E.M.B.A. can bring them to their knees," says Kate Atchley, director of the University of Tennessee's E.M.B.A. residency program.
Managing the personal and financial strains of business school has been a challenge for Farah Speer -- who attends an E.M.B.A. program at University of Notre Dame's Mendoza School of Business -- and her husband, an engineer who earned his master's degree on scholarship in the early days of their romance.
Ms. Speer's husband accepted the $90,000 cost of the program, with some hesitation, and has also taken on more responsibility for the couple's two children, ages six and three. He cooks most of the family's meals, takes the kids to doctors' appointments and does most of the grocery shopping. They are paying for the program with a combination of savings and loans.
"There is no way that I could have done this without his full support," says Ms. Speer.
Even with his help, Ms. Speer has had to push aside important personal commitments in favor of school. In September, Ms. Speer postponed celebrating her 10th wedding anniversary because she had to study for an exam the next day.
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