Balancing an MBA With Family—When Family Is in India


Barun MazumdarFrom activities outside the classroom to weekend events, school was center stage from day one for Barun Mazumdar. He was committed to his studies in the Evening & Weekend Berkeley MBA Program.

Barun joined Haas while working as a project manager at Akamai Technologies. He was even nominated VP of the Haas Technology Club and running for an executive leadership position with the Evening & Weekend MBA Association. Everything was in balance, and then the unexpected happened.

During the Fall 2015 semester, with finals on the line, Barun’s father passed away. Barun would now need to travel to India and be away from school for 2-3 weeks. In ways he hadn't expected, he found himself balancing an MBA with family needs.

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“I first reached out to the program office on a Saturday morning to convey that I had to leave for India immediately," says Barun. "The team was very sympathetic and helpful and said they’d help in any way they could.”

Barun was in a bind. He chose Berkeley-Haas because of its location, reputation, and flexibility. With a family need in India added to the mix, he would now experience Haas differently.

Working Out the Grade

At the time of his father’s death, Barun was taking an experiential course that required intensive in-class participation. Missing even one or two classes could mean having to retake the course.

Barun was stressed but resourceful. With the help of a classmate, he was able to arrange a livestream that would allow him watch and participate in discussions all the way from India.

Fellow students even offered to take detailed class notes with in-class responses and full interactions. With all of this in place, the professor—also sympathetic to Barun’s situation—was willing to see how it all would work.

“It was way beyond expectation that my classmates would do this. Instead of completely missing classes, I got to attend them, with people waving and saying hi to me onscreen,” beams Barun. "I wasn't prepared to face the toughest time of my life. Family came first, and there was no silver lining. However, having a support system and extended family back at Haas gave me some solace."

Barun was able to go to India for his father’s funeral and finish his course work with the help of the students and faculty at Haas.

Why Balance with Haas

Barun came to Haas to build his network, gain business skills, and grow personally. During the journey, he realized he had gotten much more.

“It’s given me more confidence at my workplace: the confidence of thinking differently and coming up with solutions,” says Barun.

Through it all, Barun was able to advance his career and gain a unique perspective on teamwork, support, and flexibility at Berkeley-Haas.

Finding Balance

Barun chose the Berkeley Evening and Weekend MBA Program because at Haas, we support your need to balance life’s unexpected ups and downs with your business education. Barun saw a chance to honor his father and stay on course, and he took it.

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About The Author

Eileen is Senior Assistant Director of Admissions for the Berkeley MBA Programs for Working Professionals. She enjoys meeting prospective students and helping them explore the benefits of an MBA, and hopes these blog posts provide valuable insight into the Berkeley MBA experience.