Executive MBA alumna Ali Newsome (EMBA ’21) was recently featured on a Washington, D.C. area blog where she shared insights about her MBA experience and the importance of keeping family first. We shared a few highlights of the Q&A below, but check out the full story here to see why she was deservedly selected as “Mom of the Month” for October! Newsome also attended the inaugural Women in Leadership Summit, and shared a few key takeaways from the event.

Pro Tip! Don’t miss the upcoming “Impact of the Darden MBA” virtual session, hosted by the Network of Executive Women on 9 November at 6 p.m. Register here to hear from current students about their MBA experience.

“Ali Newsome has spent the last decade supporting the Public Sector in Aerospace & Defense, business development, and management consulting. She decided to pursue her MBA to broaden her strategic perspective, and welcomed her third child during her second year of business school. Newsome leveraged her MBA experience to switch into the technology industry and joined a unicorn artificial intelligence startup after graduation.”

She lives in Arlington, Virginia with her husband, Josh, and their three sons, Sumner (7), Brooks (4), and Hampton (1.5).

DCMoms.com Q&A With Ali Newsome

Q: What is the best advice you have for Moms as they look toward pursuing a higher degree?

A: If you are considering pursuing a higher degree – go for it! Whether you want to climb in your current career path and land that next promotion, or pivot into a completely different industry, or become an entrepreneur and start your own business. Consider why you are thinking about going back to school and how that will help you in your career journey. Exploring higher degree programs is a learning process in itself. My advice is to research multiple degree programs to find out what delivery format works best with your current situation and phase of life. Attend admissions events and research women’s networks affiliated with the degree you are interested in pursuing. There are many resources out there and it can be overwhelming at first.

Once you decide on the degree program that’s right for you, consider what you and your family will need during that time and put support structures in place. Whether that means arranging additional childcare, adjusting hours at work, or subscribing to Hello Fresh, etc. One of my mentors said it best, “As moms, we invent a way to make it work.”

Q: What are your top 3 tips in taking a leap in your career?

A: 1) Go for it! Don’t self-select out 2) Give yourself grace through the process 3) Keep the big picture in mind

Photo Credit: EmmiClaire Photography

Q: How did your mindset shift when balancing parenting, work, and higher education?

A: During the MBA program, I learned to keep the big picture in mind while knowing these 2 years were going to fly by. I recognize that being a mom and managing a family while building a career, handling a full-time academic course load, and serving in student leadership was a ton on my plate. In those moments of stress and self-doubt, I learned to take a step back and think about the big picture to reframe my perspective. This phase as an MBA student is temporary and I wanted to make the most of this learning experience. By adopting this mindset, I learned to be more present and more intentional with my time. In certain situations, I learned how to ask for help and in others, I got better at saying no. As moms, we are resilient and we can do anything we put our minds to. In my case, it truly takes a village!

I’ll share some takeaways from the keynote speaker at the Darden Women’s Leadership Summit, The Great Reinvention: “You can have it all, just not all at once”. There will always be a give and take between career and family – it’s not all or nothing. As career moms, we are constantly reinventing ourselves as each phase presents us with new challenges.

To me, the most important job is being a mom and family always comes first. I am the best version of myself when I am learning and growing while making an impact and serving others. In turn, this makes me a better mom to my three boys.

Photo credit: Emily Gerald Photography

Interested in learning more about Darden’s MBA programs for working professionals? Sign up for a virtual women’s recruiting chat with a member of the admissions team here.